It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: Learn to Trade Perfection for Grace

 It’s okay to not be okay.

 Have you ever thought about what it would be like to run away from your life? I have. Actually I have concocted this whole elaborate escape plan. On those days that are overwhelming, and anxiety ridden, it seems like all you want to do is throw your hands up and yell “I quit.” My back up plan involves me becoming a world famous kick boxer while simultaneously owning a horse ranch… don’t judge me. It’s my fantasy.

Despite my perfectly crafted escape plan, it’s in those moments that I need to recognize running isn’t the answer, surrender is. I just need to realize it’s okay to not be okay. I don’t have to do everything. We as women so often feel this enormous pressure to have it all together constantly. We try to juggle this idea of perfection like it’s an absolute. I know I personally try to balance work, relationships, appearance, and goals (all at once) without once stopping to check in with myself mentally or physically. I shift into a gear of auto pilot until I crack. I feel like a hamster. Yep, a hamster on a wheel that is moving so fast I can’t keep up, yet I can’t step off.


Reality Check:

Have you ever created an escape plan?

What responsibilities and expectations are you juggling right now?


 

A few nights ago was one of those hamster wheel nights. I was sitting there working on the blog when I got this sudden urge to throw my hands up in exasperated frustration and run away. I sat there trying to write this very blog post, when I realized I had an assignment due I had forgotten about. I suddenly shifted my thought process to my assignment only to realize that my dog was LITERALLY EATING A WALL! Yep, I look down and he is chewing on the wall… of our apartment… great. That was my last straw.

I freaked out to put it mildly. There were a few moments of inappropriate words and a face shoved into a pillow screaming, if I can remember correctly. It seemed as if the whole world had stopped because I didn’t have it all together for a single moment.  I was afraid that people around me would see that perhaps I’m not as polished and put together as my Instagram might appear. Here’ the truth sisters, I’m not. Not even close.  I too often allow worldly expectations and my own unrealistic grasp at perfection interfere with my health, wellness, and relationship to God.

Sometimes wellness means accepting that you DON’T have it together, and that is ok.


 Reality Check:

What freedom comes from not having to have it all together?

How do you want the world to see you? ( on social media, at home, at school?)


If you can relate to the feeling of overwhelm, then perhaps it’s time we take that burden and imperfection to the cross? Jesus never said we have to be perfect. He never said we have to have it all together. In fact, he said lay down your burdens and let him take a load off. Thanks JC… I need it. Instead he is asking us to prioritize him. Surrender the need to appear perfect and be drowned in perfect love.

If you hear anything from this rant dear sisters, it’s this— it’s okay that you’re not okay. It’s okay to not have it all together. It’s okay to be messy and raw and real. The world needs a bit more of that in my opinion.

In fact, Jesus displays in scripture that he would prefer we come to him as the broken disheveled hot messes that we are, rather than pretending to be “someone who has it all together.” Ever heard of the story of Mary and Martha? If not, it’s a fascinating passage of scripture.  I encourage you to read the real thing here. But for this post let me give you Erica’s best biblical summary.

Two sisters agree to entertain Jesus. Yep- they get to play host to the savior of the world. (I don’t think my kitchen would ever be clean enough for that.) Well, Martha feels the same way, she cooks, and cleans, and fusses over trying to look perfect to the word. She doesn’t understand that Jesus didn’t need her to fuss, or put on fake perfection. Nope, instead he needed her messy, undone, and adoring him.

Jesus takes you messy, undone, and adoring him.

Mary on the other hand, Mary isn’t helping with any of the hosting duties but is instead sitting at the feet of Jesus. She is clinging to him, adoring him, and forgetting all responsibility outside of being bathed in grace.

Cling to Jesus, adore him, forget all responsibility outside being bathed in grace.

Well, as you can imagine, Martha does that typical girl things and rolls her eyes and gets all flustered that Mary isn’t helping. Jesus reminds Martha, that Mary chose right… she chose God.

These pair of sisters are so important for us as women to examine. It is so easy to think we need to be Martha. We think the world can’t see the cracks, bruises, and vulnerabilities we carry right? So instead we try to do it all and be it all. We try to cover up that we’re actually not ok, and we need some hope desperately.

I don’t know about you but the pressure to always seem happy and put together is exhausting?

Well, if you read more about Mary and Martha later in scripture you see another story I think is important for us women to remember n those moments of exhaustion. Read John 11: 17-44 with me below. A bit of context, at this point Jesus was good friends with Mary and Martha, who had a brother named Lazarus. Lazarus had gotten ill and Jesus was sent word to come heal him. Jesus knew that he had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead (way cooler than just healing him), so he waited. He didn’t heal Lazarus, instead he let him die. Finally, he arrives and sees how distraught Mary and Martha are

” On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.  When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept.”

I love his passage. Verse 33 says “when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” This verse says it all beloveds. The minute he saw Mary’s pain, the minute he saw her burden, he was deeply moved and troubled all through his spirit.  Jesus wept over the pain.What about you sister? What right now is causing you pain? What is weighing you down? Whatever it is remember that Jesus is deeply moved for your pain my love.  His spirit aches whenever we as women feel the need to measure up to world expectations.  Notice that Jesus didn’t chastise her for her pain, he didn’t condemn her for not having it all together. IT”S OK TO NOT BE OK! Instead he took her pain and he gave her life. LITERALLY. He brought her brother back to life.  NBD Jesus.

What is so illuminating is that in this passage he let Lazurus die and let the women weep in order to revel his glory. Well, what about us? Sometimes, Jesus let’s us go through those times of tension, those times of hardship, in order to show us his immense glory, love, and unrelenting grace. He never requires you to have it all together but he promises to always show up.

Jesus always shows up.

For those days when I feel like I need my “escape plan” I need to cling to the idea that I have an escape plan. My escape is the hope of the cross.  No matter what I face today I have hope for tomorrow. Think of the freedom in that! You don’t have to be good enough for this world but you are ALWAYS good enough for Jesus. That makes me feel so free. It’s like unhooking your bra after a long day… total freedom! ( maybe not the best analogy for unrelenting grace… but hey)

Dear sisters, remember this, it’s okay to not be okay. Don’t try to be Martha and obtain perfection. Let go of the ideals and bring your burdens to Jesus. He is deeply moved by each of us. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel pretty significant.


Reality Check:

When do you feel the most pressure to “have it all together?”

What expectations can you let go of to make room for more grace?

Sometimes it can be hard to ever feel good enough,. Scripture says Jesus is deeply moved by you. How does that change your perspective?


Stay Radiant.

<3 Erica

3 COMMENTS

  1. Edna Davidsen | 16th Oct 17

    Dear Erica

    Thank you for your blog post ‘It’s Okay to Not Be Okay: Learn to Trade Perfection for Grace.’

    The title caught me, and I was pleased with the read.

    I can relate to the thought of wanting to run away from life.

    I know the feeling you describe where we just want to yell: I quit!

    But you’re right; that’s not the answer.

    The answer is to surrender.

    It’s ok to do less and be satisfied with that.

    Sometimes it’s a struggle to balance work, relationships etc., especially with the kind of work we have.

    Your blog post is beautiful and well-written; but just as you described. Sometimes we struggle to write those blog posts; they don’t automatically, and we work alone most of the time, or at least I do.

    It’s beneficial for me to read blog posts like this one; because I know, many other bloggers struggle now and then.

    I like what you write: “Jesus never said we have to be perfect. He never said we have to have it all together.”

    It’s such a relief when we learn to be in the moment without seeking perfection all the time.

    When we learn to be more like Mary just sitting next to Jesus listing to what He has to say while we forget about everything else, we get the strength to continue.

    Kindly
    Edna Davidsen

    • restoredreality | 16th Oct 17

      absolutely Edna! sometimes we forget to find our relief in Jesus not the world!

      • Edna Davidsen | 21st Oct 17

        Yes Erica, that’s for sure.

        Appreciate what you’re doing for the Christian community.

        Have a great day

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