I’m a perfectionist. I’m sure I’m not alone here. I think many of us as women, as moms, are. As a perfectionist, I strive to do things right… the first time. If I’m going to do something, I work and work at whatever I have to accomplish until I succeed at it. If I know that I won’t be able to achieve that kind of success, I don’t waste my time on it. I move on to something else because the result won’t be what I know it should be… in my mind.
It doesn’t matter if the plans I have sketched up in my mind are impossible to create. If I can picture it, I can accomplish it. I’ll make it happen. To many others in my life, the standards to which I hold myself are just as impossible and unrealistic as picturing an image in one’s mind and drawing it out on paper. I just continue to remind them that there are standards I live by as a woman, a Christian woman, a mom, and a wife. I call them “my convictions”.
Applying What I’ve Learned
Now, when something pops out in my quiet time, a time I set apart to be with God, I do my very best to follow it.
Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
Now, what I do when I read something and I proceed to follow and obey God, I picture what area I can apply what I’ve learned and without trying to, I end up with this mental image of what that will look like. I see myself sitting down with my two-year-old little girl, engaging in sweet, eye-to-eye conversation, explaining to her that she cannot take things from her older brother because that is stealing and stealing is a sin and it hurts others.
I even imagine winning my son over with soft, loving words, encouraging him to tell the truth despite there being a consequence or not because the bible says there’s freedom from it. There’s freedom from all sin. Not consequences, but the bondage of it.
Of course, you know, this is not how it goes. Instead, I end up living day after day, reminding my children, and myself, that we are human and nothing goes to plan. Does that stop me from continuing to be a perfectionist? From doing too much? No.
Release In Moments of Rest
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.”
I gave birth to my third child, my sweet baby boy, Noah, on January 3rd of this year. He was a healthy baby. Three weeks after, I ended up with a prolapsed bladder so I scheduled an appointment and was referred to a Physical Therapist who specializes in pelvic floor therapy. Now, as you know, our bodies go through a lot during pregnancy. Our core muscles are no longer tightened. You may notice this when you go to get up from laying down on the floor and you can’t get up as easily or maybe you go to do a sit-up and you find that your body can’t.
This was my case. I was supposed to lie on the table to perform some stretches and test my core strength. And so, I was tasked with learning how to contract, not only my core muscles but my pelvic muscles. And I succeeded. Too much. My body went into overload and I suddenly forgot how to release my body from contracting and stretching my muscles.
You know, this process has got me thinking about some things. As I walk with God, I find that He teaches me things in any and every moment He can get my attention. Through this, I have learned that I have a tendency to walk tense or stiff manner. In a contraction.
I’ve forgotten what it’s like to walk from a stance of release. Release of everyday responsibilities and situations. Sure, when things go great and I accomplish tasks or goals when my relationships are going well, I am at rest. I don’t walk in a contraction. I walk in release. On the mountain, I’m at peace and rest. Not all the time, but more so on my mountain.
In the valley, I lose focus on every good thing I’ve experienced on the mountaintop. I tense up. I live in a state of stress and forget what it’s like to live in total surrender. I can forget what God is like and who He is in the storms, the busyness, and the struggles.
Honestly, even on the mountaintop, it’s easy to forget to live at rest and release.
Things are going well so we move on to the next thing and the next thing. Never stopping to rest. Never stopping to release. Can I remind you to let go of everything good and bad, our tendencies, responses, and everything going on in our lives, and release them?
Find God in the release. Allow Him to show you more of Him than you’ve ever experienced. Don’t just slow down. Breathe. Release. Be still. In every moment, good and bad. Release.
“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Did you know that the standards we hold ourselves to can be so burdening, they exhaust us? Self-care or the lack of it can burden us if we don’t first find release and rest in God, for our souls. Not just our bodies. Our minds need release and rest. Our bodies do too. But so does our soul.
After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. -1 Kings 19:12
We can find God in our everyday lives, but I have found, when I experience rest and release, it’s when I surrender that control of what our lives are supposed to look like. What we are supposed to act like. And just breathe.
I find that release happens when I choose to let go of whatever it is that has me uptight and busy and distracted from God and true joy when I release. It’s like standing on my mountain, in the middle of the valley, I close my eyes, breathe in that fresh air, and I’m at peace. Relaxed.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?”
Psalms 139:7 NASB1995
“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”
Colossians 3:2 NASB1995
All of a sudden, I’m aware of God’s presence and I’m sensitive to it. When I’m at rest, my ability to perform tasks shifts from striving and pushing myself to do well on my own strength and I’m working on them by God’s strength. And you know what? I’m not worn out. I’m not tired or grumpy. I’m not stressed. Everything may stay the same, but my focus is on God and I’m abiding in Him. Leaning and drawing from Him. Just as I should be.
Matthew 11:30 NASB- “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”