I have the hardest time giving myself grace. I catch myself being so hard and critical in my thoughts. They have attacked my ability, character, and worth and the things I have caught myself saying, I would never say to another person. One of the biggest wake up calls I’ve had was when I first realized the dialogue I exchanged in my mind gave everyone in the world grace but me. To this day when I catch myself saying I’m a failure, I ask the Lord to help me have compassion on myself. I say, “help me to give myself grace, help me to see what you see when you look at my life.” And you would not believe how quickly all my failures in my mind slowly turn to success.
For example, I went to the gym this morning so instead of telling myself how I didn’t lift enough or run fast enough, I see that I went. I woke up before my family and went to take care of myself. That takes self-control and discipline I did not fail. After the gym I drove into my church parking lot and read for a few minutes. I only got through 6 pages before I needed to come home. You bet I wanted to tell myself what a failure I was for not reading faster or getting through more of my book but I read, perhaps THE hardest thing for me to do. I could have chosen to say I would just go home but I chose to do something that’s hard for me because I want to grow and I want to know God – that’s not failure. My house is messy. SO VERY MESSY. I’ve never been a mom who always has a clean house and have known many moms who do. Do you think it’s easy to want to compare myself to them? YES. But when I ask Jesus what He says about my messy house, He smiles and thanks me! Can you believe that? God thanking ME? He’s so proud of me. I laid down my body and my life and have two toddlers who are at my side nearly every waking and sleeping moment. He’s not just proud of the sacrifice, he’s proud of me. God knows it’s hard. Just because He’s perfect doesn’t mean He can’t relate or understand. And just because he has a large capacity (being God and all) doesn’t mean he expects me to have the same one (you know, being a human and all). I came from being a teenager growing up on the beach, living in a beautiful town, eating delicious food (that I didn’t cook) whenever I wanted, and had very few responsibilities. I then became a missionary, traveled the world, living on “faith in Jesus” (also very few responsibilities). It was amazing, don’t get me wrong, but that came to a screeching stop when I married a man I just met and 10 months later had my first child. I didn’t know how to cook, barely knew how to do laundry, and found myself responsible for an entire household. I may not make perfect gluten-free organic meals, picked from our garden with grass finished meat but I cannot afford to hold myself to a standard God isn’t holding me to. God is writing my story. He knows where I came from and who He chose to live the life He’s called me to. He’s not ignorant, He’s the wisest being in the universe so clearly He didn’t get it wrong. If something feels off, it’s because I’m missing it and need to take and step back and ask God what He sees.
I recently had 2 nearly identical dreams where I was locked inside a house. In the first, a religious family was holding me captive inside their home and I was trying to figure out how to escape. I was looking at trap doors only to realize none of them would lead me out. I knew my senior prom was beginning and I would miss my final prom if I decided to wait so I made the choice I didn’t know I had and decided to walk out the front door. In the second dream, my daughter and I were held captive inside another home by a group of religious Christians from my past. As I was searching for a way out, there was a moment in which I said to myself, “I’m not leaving Michaela no matter what, she’s coming with me.” As I turned around to get her I was surprised to see she was running toward me with the biggest smile on her face; we then broke free together. When I woke up God said, “religious mindsets that have been placed on you have held you captive and I want you to break-free into the things I have prepared for your life.” There is a time for waiting, but there is also a time when God says, “I have already told you what I will do, will you move forward and trust me?” In Exodus 17:15 the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.” In other words, God told Moses to stop praying and start moving on His words. After this, the angelic realm shifted and what was once leading the Israelites moved behind them to face their past so they no longer needed to face it.
It takes bravery to walk out of the house, especially when you’re taught it’s where you belong. In my dreams, the house was both literal and symbolic. When God gave me this dream, I really felt like I was stuck inside my house. I needed to hear Him say, “I have more for your life than the mess you see”. I love being a mom, but the pressure to be the type of mom I thought I needed to be came from religion, not Jesus. In my dream, it’s clear my choices weren’t only affecting me but also my children. I knew when I saw the smile on my daughters face, my breakthrough would be hers too. She would not get left behind, but as I follow God she reaps the blessing and joy of my obedience to break-free.
We all have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us (Romans 12:6). We also all have different capacities that perfectly align with how God built us. We all have our own calls and destinies. We each have different desires and we aren’t going to be good at everything, and that’s a good thing. I will be the first to admit, I felt like I needed to be a perfect stay-at-home mom, who drives a cool mom car, taking perfectly candid Instagram photos of her children, feeding her kids perfect meals and living in a spotless house, all with a smile on her face. If I try to be this person, I am miserable. I am still growing in so many areas and I’m far from being what the world tells me is the, “perfect mom”. If this perfect mom idol is my point of view, some image I’m told I’m supposed to uphold and worship— I’ll always fail to measure up. But soon as I stop looking at the imaginary standard, that even God himself hasn’t placed on me, and only open my ears to the affirmation of the Father, I’m perfectly content and perfectly astonished at my abilities and who God made me to be. I get to be me, and you get to be you. So I want to encourage you, go ask Jesus what it looks like for you to break out your “house”. It may literally be your house, or breaking out of your house could look like posting a blog. Who knows what He might say?