The summer that John and I started dating, we went out to eat with several of our friends. While we waited on our food, I began telling a story with a lot of animation. At one point, I threw my arms out, almost knocking the plates out of our server’s hands. As another waiter approached with the rest of our food, our server glanced from me to him and warned, “Careful, she’s being dramatic.”
John and I still laugh about that story and repeat it whenever I’m being animated. It’s all the more humorous because we try (and fail!) to mimic the awesome Spanish accent that our server had too.
Though this story is a funny example of me “being dramatic,” isn’t it true that we can feel like too much sometimes? When I go to Grant’s monthly doctor appointments with a list of 28 questions for the doctor or when I pray for the same answers over and over in one day – in these moments I can feel like I’m asking for too much and, as a result, being “too much.”
But then at the same time, we often struggle with feeling like not enough. Am I doing this parenting thing “correctly”? How do I keep our house clean, write a blog post, answer important emails, and feed a baby all in one day? Why do I feel like I have to “accomplish” all of those things for the day to be a “success”?
These questions prompted me to be a part of the launch team for the new Wild and Free book. Its tagline sums it up: “A hope filled anthem for the woman who feels she is both too much and never enough.” And let me tell you, authors Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan speak such life, truth, and honesty into this struggle by sharing their personal stories of becoming “unchained from our past and unafraid of our future.”
In one of my favorite chapters of the book, Jess describes how we were created as wild and good. When God finished creating the world, He called it very good. The Hebrew word here is “tob,” which means “beautiful, pleasant, rich, better, best.” Jess asks,
“Isn’t it amazing to think that we spend so much of our lives on this quest for the best when God has already declared it of us, His workmanship – the best? …If God, in all of His holiness and perfection, has handcrafted you and created you, dreamed you up and set you apart, called you into service and ambassadorship, and placed you at His right hand – with your co-heir and brother, Christ – who are you to say you are not good? Who are you to call any part of what He has made bad? …When we critique ourselves or discount ourselves, we are doing the very opposite of worship.
…The world is telling us that if we finally find who we’re supposed to be, we’ll be at ease. The world says you are good “if…” – but God says you are good, period. Once we identify our strengths and weaknesses, we’ll be at ease. If we can reach a certain life stage or bank account amount, we can feel at ease. Maybe if we wait until we’re in our thirties or forties or fifties or nineties, we’ll discover what really matters and finally feel content with who we are. The world tells us that if we stay inside in the lines – or if we color outside of them beautifully enough – we’ll feel at ease.
…But Jesus says no. You are not “too much” for His love and grace, and you have never been “not enough” for His affection and devotion. It isn’t your goodness that has won Him to you, and God’s love isn’t dependent on your ability to stay inside the lines and hold it all together.”
Don’t miss this crucial part: We are not the main character in the story. God is. And when we “remember who the main character is, it takes the pressure off us. We get to lay down that burden of getting it right, because God’s already got this – completely… It’s not that He wants more from us; it’s that He wants more for us.”
Wow, what freedom! I know that was a long quote, but I could have re-typed the entire chapter for you to read because I underlined the whole thing.
But here’s the real question – How does this truth change how I live? Just because I’m declared “good” doesn’t mean I can overlook my sin and shortcomings. Instead, it frees me to live more fully because my goodness is only a result of God’s goodness in sending us His Son. I don’t have to prove myself. God doesn’t need anything from me because “there is nothing the triune God needs, and nothing He doesn’t have dominion over.” Instead, we get to partner with what He has prepared in advance for us to do. “He knows you’re the most you when you’re living out the calling He has given you.”
My temptation here has been to strive, hoping I’ll “successfully” live out my calling. Instead, I’m now trying to be attentive to what God already has in motion and understand how He wants me to join in the movement. Currently, that looks like praying for discernment in what God has for John’s and my careers, and in what ways He desires for us to be a part of our community here in Atlanta. This shift in perspective takes the pressure off to prove myself. I can rest, living wild and free.
Although I am a part of the Wild and Free launch team, I am not compensated to promote the book. It’s simply a book with a message I want you to read! If you’re interested in preordering your copy, check out all of the free goodies you’ll get with the book, such as a free e-book on friendship, downloadable art prints, teaching videos and more!
On an unrelated note, I promised an update on Grant’s four month “stats” in my last blog post. So here they are:
Height: 25.8 in (69%)
Weight: 14 pounds 7 oz (21%)
Head Circumference: 16 in (13%)
So his percentiles have stayed about the same except for his head circumference. Everything is looking good!