By Michelle Macicek
I recently had the gift of spending a weekend with my college roommates and the fellowship and conversations were so incredibly life-giving and refreshing. We all live in different cities now and do not have the opportunity to get together as much as we would like to, but we have this beautiful friendship that carries through no matter the distance.
In one of our conversations, we were discussing the constant feeling of being overwhelmed as mothers. We were able to be vulnerable about the mental, physical and emotional strain we were all feeling. This conversation reminded me of a quote that I had recently read – “I often think that the ideal of our perfection that we set up, and often go through torture to achieve, may not be God’s idea of how he wants us to be at all” by Caryll Houselander.
What we often feel we are failing at is meeting unrealistic expectations which we set for ourselves or think the world sets for us, but are not at all what matters to God.
Why are we mentally, physically and emotionally tired? Because we are loving and caring for our families, but with expectations of ourselves that are not achievable (We are not perfect, but, somehow, we expect ourselves to be). We are choosing to serve our families which is good, but we get caught up in what the world is feeding us (expectations that are false) in how the end result of that service should look.
Often that is the complete opposite of what God’s true calling is for us.
If we connect our happiness with God and our relationship with him, we will recognize that his love never fails and never gives up. When we get caught up in a false expectation of reality and try to maintain an appearance or compare ourselves to others, we will never find the happiness or the perfect love of a servant that our hearts were made for as Christ showed us.
When the laundry has not been folded for a week (or two); when we pick up a prepared meal instead of cooking; when we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders because there are so many people that need us; when we are constantly picking up toys and spend hours behind the wheel driving carpools – it can feel overwhelming.
That is an opportunity to embrace God’s call to serve in the everyday and mundane tasks of life and remember that he is present and asks only for us to be present not perfect.
Let’s allow love to be the measure by which we measure ourselves. After all, God has called us to do just that: love him and love thy neighbor. Our perfection should lie in that goal. Perfect love was only found on the Cross, and it was messy, so why should life be any different.
Throw out the world’s unrealistic and untrue standards of perfection and be who God has made you to be.