When You’re Trying To Do All the Things
Have you ever been in one of those seasons where you feel completely maxed out? Not only is your “plate full,” its overflowing like a high school football player’s tray at an all-you-can-eat buffet. You’re overwhelmed, exhausted and probably overly emotional.
I’ve been there—too often.
Too often I find myself firing on all cylinders and still unable to keep up with my schedule and the pressures I place on myself. I wake up in the morning and before my bare feet hit the cold floor, I already feel behind.
Anybody out there know what I’m talking about?
I’m the queen of putting unrealistic expectations on myself. Honestly, I think it might be a girl thing. As women, we often allow comparison and perfectionism to wind us into tight little balls of stress and self-guilt.
These are just a few of the expectations that greet me when I wake me in the morning and sneer at me before I fall asleep. I wonder if they sound familiar to you?
- Start the day with a Beth Moore quality quiet time followed by a Jillian Michaels-caliber work out.
- Excel at work regardless of how overwhelming your workload and be sure to maintain a thriving writing and speaking ministry on the side.
- Cook your husband delicious meals like the Pioneer Woman. But be sure everything is organic and healthy. And don’t overspend at Whole Foods (David calls it Whole Paycheck).
- Keep the house clean. And cute. With fresh flowers when people come over.
- Get involved at church and volunteer at that ministry. And that one too.
- Make sure your wardrobe reflects the latest styles on your Pintrest board and keep your nails painted. And, seriously, shave your legs. Gross.
- Also, figure out how to maintain a social life like that girl from high school you follow on Instagram. But don’t forget to keep up with your college friends. And also, don’t neglect to spend quality time with your husband.
- Call your mom more. And your grandma.
- Pray continually. Memorize scripture. Find your Paul and your Timothy. Who did you share the Gospel with today? Also, give generously. Actually, give until it hurts. Be radical. Remember, love is a verb. Love does. Let’s go…hurry…
- Have fun, dang it. And take cute pictures of yourself having fun. Post pictures on Instagram.
I could go on…
Just writing that list makes my head spin and heart sink. After a long day of running hard, I often hit the pillow exhausted, stressed, and frustrated with myself for missing the mark.
Ya’ll this is not grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
This is not abundant life. (John 10:10)
Hebrews 12 talks about “running with perseverance,” and honestly, I thought that’s what it looked like—expectations, self-condemnation, guilt, “c’mon try again tomorrow,” harder, faster, better.
It says, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
But I was missing one important little word: the.
God is asking me to run the race marked out for me. Not you. Or the Pioneer Woman.
He is not asking us to run all the races. Or do all the things.
Our loving Father is simply asking us to lock our eyes on Him—“not turning to the right or to the left” as it says in Proverbs 4:27. He is asking us to run step-by-step and minute-by-minute toward Jesus—not toward perfection or away from guilt or in circles as we chase comparison.
Comparison and perfectionism leads us to bondage. Only Christ can set us free.
So I’m trying to change my list of expectations. Lately they look like this:
- I’m an imperfect sinner redeemed by the grace of God (Romans 3:23)
- My God is loving, trustworthy, and powerful (Rev. 5:11-14)
- His grace is sufficient regardless of how much I accomplish today (2 Cor. 12:9)
- He is worthy of my perseverance even when the running gets tough (Phil. 2:16)
- I am not running alone (Deut. 31:6)
This list does not bind me up in stress or anxiety. It doesn’t wear me out. This list sets me free.
Unlike the expectations I place on myself, the expectations and promises of God greet me in the morning with joy and allow me to lay my head on my pillow with peace.
I pray they do the same for you.
“And then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32