Tuesday, December 9, 2008

When the Bar is Raised Too High

Luke 10

At the Home of Martha and Mary
38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Oh I hope you did not skip over these verses. I know for a fact that as women we put way too much pressure on ourselves. We have so many standards for ourselves that maybe God didn't intend. Then, in our efforts to reach the bar that keeps getting raised we become frustrated, dismayed, exhausted, and joyless. (Um pause...Donald Trump just needs to let the "do" go. He is on Gretta and the comb over is just way too obvious...but God loves him anyway.)

So, I was in the car tonight just feeling like a failure. I want to know Christ more, I want to mother my child and bring her up in the way she should go. I want to have a clean house, be a good wife to my man, stay organized, serve more, and on and on and on. I have this constant nagging sense of inadequacy and maybe you can't relate at all or maybe you can. As I was thinking tonight about being a Christian woman in general we get this idea that we have to look and be Mrs. Proverbs 31 or we are just failures and we give up because we can't seem to cope.

Were women back then educated? Did they have cars and places to go? Could they just let their child run on their land without worrying about whether their child would be hit by a car or not? Did they have the media blaring in their face telling them how discontent they should be with life, their image...the implosion of MORE MORE MORE! I am not saying there weren't hard times. But don't you think families were closer? They talked more, ate together, shared closer community, they weren't as distracted (this is all just me thinking). Women still felt like we do...and there were a lot of different things then like arranged marriages and etc which I for the likes would not want. Women still felt unloved and a desire to be wanted and respected and accomplished. With more people and as the times are nearer to the Day of His Coming wickedness is increasing. It is just harder to live here on earth without all of the pressure to be and do. We constantly compare ourselves to others and focus on what others are doing, that we aren't. What they have, that we don't. What kind of relationship to their man that they have and how our friends husbands are prince charming's and ours aren't (I am not talking about Rod I am just saying how much we compare and lack contentment...I am so guilty). When in fact we have no clue what goes on in someones house or in their soul.

I think Jesus would take some of us and cup His hands around our face and tell us, "Child I love you. I created you. You are mighty fine...fearfully and wonderfully made. You have been distracted by much but only one thing is required...sit at my feet. LISTEN TO ME, drown out the other voices that haunt you. Lose yourself in me. Pour out your heart to me. Let me hold you. Let me fix you. Be still. STOP. Open your eyes and apply your heart to my word. Stop letting others dictate your worth. No one defines you but me...not your past, not your current place, not the future. I define you, let me use your whole story for my glory...I am the Redeemer. I say that you are washed in the blood of the lamb. I say you are clean. I am enthralled with your beauty. When no one has time for you or attention to show you, I do. I will care for you and provide for you. Set your affections on me with all of your heart and there you will find wholeness and security. No matter who separates themselves from you, I will never leave you. NEVER. I love you. Stop beating yourself down and just be."

Hear me, I am not saying we don't need to do the daily things I just feel like we have a lot more pressure on us than the Proverbs 31 chick! And I love Proverbs 31...yes Lord do those things in us as we seek You but Your yoke is easy and burden is light and we are weighted down by the yoke of our own standards and the yoke of the oppressor. GOD of Heaven and Earth, God who takes up residence by the Holy Spirit, LORD...please help us to believe you and not always see ourselves as failures. Yes we are desperate for You.

I am just sick of beating myself up over everything and becoming frustrated to the point of wanting to give up. That is not what Christ has called us to. He has called us to a life that bears fruit as we abide in Him.


Deana said...

Amen Sister!!! I have had a some of those "failure" moments the last couple of days. We do tend to set our bars to high and may we never stop sitting at His beautiful, scarred, good news bearing feet!!

Ruth said...

You're right...I did skip over the verses! Then I went back and was truly blessed by that simple reminder of what the better thing is.

I can relate to what you are saying. It's an ongoing struggle for me and I wrote about it here .

Jenny - you are so wise for your years.

fuzzytop said...

In reading the comments on the survey Beth just had on her blog, so many of us are falling victim to the trap of comparing ourselves, either to some standard in our heads, or to others around us, who like us are busy hiding their hurts, failures, fears, and disappointments. It has really opened my eyes to how pervasive a problem this is, and how much Satan is stealing from us!

Jenny - I love what you wrote about what Jesus would say to each and every one of us. True words sister!


BethAnne said...

I think God led you to write this for me (and about a million other women). Amen to everything you said.....I needed to hear it and I should probably read it over and over.

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

Thanks, Jenny.

Sending love and hugs and snowflakes your way,


Toknowhim said...

Thanks for the encouragement today...

Anonymous said...

A Godly woman I know once told me that we always get into messes when our eyes are focused outward or inward and not UPWARD. That sums it up pretty well. Give us UPWARD eyes, Lord, focus our attention on You, Jesus.

(((hugs))) J

BethAnne said...

I read this earlier this morning, but didnt have time to comment.....I am so with you on this....I feel ya on the pressure to be perfect (pressure I put on myself). The Bible tells us that as we come closer to Jesus' return, the world will become chaotic and even more wicked......that spills over into the church.....we forget that we arent supposed to be like the world and instead of modeling ourselves after Jesus, we look to the world for our example...........I could go on and on about this (probably because I am so guilty of it)

Sharon said...

I can SO RELATE to this post. I have been battling feelings of inadequacy all my life. And just this week I've been battling feelings of failure when it comes to my housekeeping, being a better wife, mother -- and the pressure has increased even more now that I'm a stay-at-home Mom. I feel like I shouldn't have any excuses for my failures now that I'm at home.

Thank you for reminding me that when I feel this way I only need to keep my eyes on Jesus. I'm living for Jesus...He's all I need. I thank God for leading you to write this post. It spoke straight into my heart.

God Bless You, Jenny!

HIS Child said...

Fine wisdom siesta! I pray that as you blogged this prayer you felt HIM meet you and cup his hands around your beautiful face and looked deeply into His amazing eyes and felt His peace. Let it cloak you and wear His presence.
God bless you and enjoy your beautiful family as you celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

This gave me the freedom to shed some tears. I could feel how stessed I am. And I could feel how much God loves me! Thank you so much!


April in real life said...

I so hear you here... I can absolutely identify... I feel like Paul when he said I do what I do not want to do and don't do what I want to do... I feel overwhelmed with it all and like it is caving in on me at times... Thank you for sharing and encouraging me and others... I love you so much girl!

Mary said...

I drive myself crazy trying to fit the mold I (all by myself) have decided I need to fit into. I'm learning to just live in the moment. The moment that God has granted me and in that moment I want to glorify Him and praise Him with all that I do. In that moment, I just want to love Him with all that I have
Jenny -- you are precious to the Lord and you are His masterpiece (Eph 2:18) called to Him for His good purpose that He has for you! Yep, girl, He called you! He has work for you and through His shed blood you are able to do all things (Phil 4:13).

He gives you a hope and a joy! And it's in this hope that you will find joy and peace as you trust in Him (Romans 15:13).

Whew ... I got into my teachimg mode there.

You're so sweet to put yourself out there and be so honest. You encourage me to do the same!


He Knows My Name said...

Hi Jenny! Here is my first thought then my second thought. I so sympathize with women in their twenties, thirties and maybe even forties. Whether you work outside the home or not the pressure is so great. For me was it was. I wanted my kids to be smart, stylish, clean, etc. I wanted to be attractive, live in a nice home I could decorate to my taste, drive a nice car, have a nicely groomed lawn, flowers in the pots, put a wonderful dinner on the table, everyone smiling, in church on sunday, be able to discuss the latest whatever, etc. I'm sure you get the picture.

Now that those days are behind me...I'm glad they are! My pressures were self induced and what a waste of time trying to measure up to standards I should have cared nothing about. The only standard I should have cared about was God's.

I was fighting all of it but still succumbing to the pressure. I feel more free from things now more than then. I think it is age, at least for me.

Second thought, I just spent the entire day with my daughter and grandson at the mall. From 11:00 to 2:30 then back at 3:30 to 7:00. We had a great time together. We have never done an all day shopping anything. We had fun looking at everthing. Fun talking with the little guy. Fun at the play area. Fun drinking smoothies. FUN, FUN, FUN. The day is almost over. I have not thought of Jesus, i don't remember, all day. Distracted by STUFF. Stuff I can buy, stuff I bought, stuff she bought. I know we were relationship building. The time together was well spent in the name of mending bridges. I still have this empty feeling.

I feel like I had a Martha day.

The distractions of this world suck us in and drag us down before we even realize time is gone.

Andreea said...

Amen Sister!! That is awesome!!! I soo needed to read that tonight! Thanks!

Leah said...


Years ago, when I was in the throes of battling anorexia, I read a book entitled "Tired of Trying to Measure Up" that really, really changed how I looked at myself, my body and the entire woman thing.

We women try to measure up to the standards that this world sets, when in fact, that is just plain wrong. We only have to measure up to the standard that God sets and that is loving Jesus Christ with all our hearts, souls, minds and bodies. We are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to Him.

When we do that, I believe, He will begin to create in us a longing for more of Him and less of the world's approval. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best mom/wife/friend you can be, but we must allow the Holy Spirit to work those things out in us rather than us trying to do it according to the world's pattern.

Romans 12: 1-2


Cindy said...

Jenny Hope,

It is so easy to fall into the comparison trap isn't it? We look at other Christians and think that there is no way that we compare to them. Fortunately for us, God doesn't have a scale that measures us against other Christian women.

I think the Enemy puts those thoughts in our heads and that in turn causes us to focus on us instead of Jesus. Our worth should never be determined by what others think or feel about us, but because we are loved by God.

My prayer for all of us is that we will always remember that the King is enthralled by our beauty. That we can just enjoy who we are in Christ.

the voice of melody said...

I agree. Yes, what we are worth to Him alone is what matters. His love for us simply overflows and your post was an excellent reminder of it.

Many sweet blessings!

pinkmommy said...

Oh girl, amen.

He Knows My Name said...

hi jenny, we made it to friday. how are things going with you?

love you bunches! janel