You may know her — she is the smartly dressed gal who is leading Bible study, holding down a full-time job, and is a great friend and family member. In her spare time, she is raising kids and knitting her own line of designer clothing, with the proceeds going to charity, of course. She is the epitome of the apparently fruitful christian woman. But when she is honest or when the mask slips, she is also the one that admits that she feels like a failure all the time….to church, to friends, to family….. to Jesus. She thinks deep down that she is just not enough.
I have noticed a recurring issue in my years following Jesus that seems to particularly involve the ladies of the church. No matter where we have been and the backgrounds of the women involved in our churches, with a good number of them there seems to be somewhat of a disconnect. The intellect and the heart disagree on just what is “enough” for Jesus. They are wonderful, bright, talented, valuable women seeking to serve God with all of their hearts. They know intellectually that Jesus loves them regardless of circumstance but they seem trapped by a spirit that is not from God. One that pits them in an always losing competition against the world and at times other women in the church. No matter how many plates they are successfully spinning, they always feel like they should be doing more, more, more and are therefore failures regardless of their sucesses.
At the same time these women of God are awesome followers of Jesus, wives, mothers, daughters and friends, they are stuck striving against the patterns of this world and what they see as the standards of other women in the church. They are just desperate to reach an ambiguous level of parity with others that somehow makes them acceptable to God. “If I was just as together as Mary, then things would be better”. If they become as good as Mary, then another competitor is brought forth to strive against. It is like when a very rich man was once asked how much money was enough? He responded, “Just a little more”. It is a level that is never really reachable. Despite their best efforts and true faith in Jesus, their walk is marred by a recurring feeling that they just are not good enough for Jesus and are failing – despite all evidence to the contrary.
In light of this observation, I have some shocking news for the ladies of the faith out there. It may be surprising for men too, but I am really speaking to the ladies today because from what I have seen in the Christian world out there the women really need to be reminded of it. (Note — I am not pointing to any of the things as good standards, just what people struggle with)
Here goes — God does not judge you by how well accessorized, how fashionable you are or whether you are keeping up with the other ladies of your group. What?
God does not care how well you do on Pinterest, whether you can sew or how pretty your dinner looks on Facebook.
God does not judge you by your looks, weight or whether you are a domestic or workplace superstar. Shocked yet?
God’s love is not conditioned in any way on how well you keep a home or even if you keep a home versus work outside the home… whether your house is filled with smelly socks or you are a CEO.
Jesus gave Himself for you whether you homeschool and your children are building a working replica of the Mars Lander in the backyard out of fusilli or whether your kids are in reform school eating paste — it always tasted kind of minty to me btw.
Jesus loves you dearly and is glad He died for you when your children are quoting Ravi Zacharias…..or when they are throwing things in Sunday School and walking up and asking the pastor if he is done yet during service.
God cares for you and thinks you are doing an awesome job whether you are unknowingly walking around all day with pieces of your child’s diaper contents stuck to your eyebrow (true story btw) or have accessorized your hypoallergenic cloth diapers with your designer diaper bag and sunglasses.
God loves you and will care for you whether your husband is the head of every church committee and goes around quoting the minor prophets or whether your husband is falling asleep in the pew — God’s love and relationship is with you and He will deal with your husband one way or the other.
God loves you if your past is filled with shame and sexual sin and the consequences that ladies don’t like to talk about — it is no different than anything else under the blood or if you wore the Duggar bathing suit every time you took a bath, cause you know….just in case.
God loves you just as you are because He is good and holy and His love is great, not because you are the second coming of Martha Stewart, sans the jail time.
Whether you are eating free range home grown chickens or “chicken” nuggets does not effect your standing with God — it just doesn’t because it is not and has never been about you. Because it is about Him, you are perfectly loved while feeding a Big Mac to the toddler cause you are just too tired from work or home to do anything else — that is kind of gross to think about. Maybe Big Macs are an exception — I think it is in Leviticus somewhere. Just kidding.
Jesus saved you because of His nature, not because of your accomplishments.
God loves you because He created you and Jesus died for you – – it has nothing to do with how good you are. If it was about how good any of us are, well, we would be in really big trouble.
As a Christian, you are defined by Jesus’ love for you — not succeeding, failing or running in place….just Jesus because He is who He is, not because we are who we are. According to Him, you are more than good enough just as you are. I am not a lady and it is shocking to me.
So ladies, please give yourself a break and accept you are good enough. It is a wonderful thing to fall into His arms or even fail into His arms. As long as it is in His arms, it is a wonderful thing.
If you are not one of these ladies and accept just how loved you are by Jesus, praise the Lord. But if you are a disciple of Jesus and you are struggling under the weight of expectations and striving, take heart….Jesus made a deliberate conscious decision to give His life just for you before you even knew what scrapbooking was and He never makes a mistake. Be loved by Him in all His awesomeness. He decided that you are good enough and He never makes mistakes.