I think God wants us to all just give up. You read that correctly and here is why:
Today I am convicted with a question.
Why are we all so dang hard on ourselves?
In this week alone I’ve walked around the neighborhoods of LA with two different friends who were distraught over work mistakes. And they even admitted – these work mistakes were so small. One was literally a spelling error. And I look at these beautiful, powerful, faithful women of God and am struck by how small errors can shake us. Because it isn’t just them. It’s me, too.
If I’m being honest, I have been plagued with anxiety this week. My chest has physically felt tight and in pain for days and every night I have woken up gasping with anxiety-fueled nightmares. Want to know what these nightmares have been about? One was literally a nightmare that something I shipped for our company tradeshow didn’t arrive on time. Basically, I’m afraid of FedEx.
And want to hear why that’s even more wild? I just came off two amazing business trips that my boss word for word said I “kicked ass” at. I’ve taken on three times as much responsibility at work and even though it’s crazy, I’m managing it. I’ve been owning events entirely, performing better than I ever have and making fewer and fewer errors. But you know what feels like a punch in the gut? Those few errors I do make.
Just thinking about messing up a sales order entry or forgetting to print documents literally makes me dizzy with anxiety and fear. From the outside looking in, it’s irrational and a little bit silly. But for me and my friends, it’s a very real and sometimes debilitating dilemma. This fear of messing up or letting someone down is overwhelming and exhausting. The phrase I keep thinking is that something has to give.
I worked 150 hours in two weeks and as a result my boss encouraged me to take today off. It’s a Friday, work’s a bit slower and I accomplished a lot this week. And yet, I still feel anxiety that I’m not checking my inbox. That is a bright red flag that I’ve gone into what my friends fondly refer to as “superwoman mode.” It’s where I take on too much, expect myself to perform perfectly in all of it and ultimately results in a crash.
Last night I was thinking about how I was taking the next day off, fearing I’d miss something at work. I stopped and realized that I have fallen out of a rhythm of rest. When we don’t rest, we don’t trust God. It is really that simple.
Rest is a critical part of communion with God. He created Sabbath. He created rest. He himself rests. When I don’t think I can take even one day off of work without something falling apart, I essentially dispute God’s sovereignty and declare myself as the one who holds all things together. Taking on that kind of responsibility is too much for any human. Even more so, it robs us of getting to lean into God as our Father, our protector and our King.
So as I realize my battle with perfection and fear of ever messing up – I’m fighting back. I’m choosing rest. I booked a trip home in a few weeks and am putting in my PTO. I’m taking a wellness day in March just to relax and drink coffee and write and do good things for my soul. Instead of trying to fulfill my self-ordained law of perfection, I’m letting God fight for me. I’m resting in him alone.
I am doing exactly what John 15:9 calls us to do: remain in his love.
God loves me, is for me and already accomplished everything. It is finished. He has won. All I have to do is know and be known by the God of the universe who is in control and already written out the days of my life. When I actually acknowledge that reality, I feel like I can breathe again. All feels ok in the world because I restore life to its correct order.
Something has to give. That something? It’s me.
Sometimes following Jesus is counter intuitive. I can’t count the number of inspirational phrases about “never giving up.” But when you walk with Jesus, what often lies on the other side of giving up is freedom. I give up my place as the one who is in charge and the one who has to hold it together. And when I give up, it allows God to take over in my life, my fears, my hopes and my dreams.
So today friends, let’s give up. Let’s give God back the job position of perfect ruler. Let’s let his love invade our lives instead of anxieties. Let’s give up our aspirations of perfection, need for control and fear of the future. Let’s rest in the reality that God is in control and loves us immeasurably more than we can grasp or perceive. For today, I’m just going to give up. (I can already breathe a little easier.)