• It's Not About the Cake: The proving perfection pressure

     

     

    I cried that day

    I really did cry.

    Sobbed like a baby actually...

    I was trying to make a beautiful cake for my third son’s dedication and it was a failure!

    I felt distressed and anxious but pressed on with a backup plan… It too failed!

    At that point, I had two little boys with eyes wide aglow with the prospects of licking the icing off the spoons. Fingers began darting, little voices asking, “Can I lick the icing now, can I have the spoon,” rang loudly…

    All of a sudden I burst wide open.

    Tears flowed.

    I firmly asked the boys to walk away before mummy said something she might regret… They moved away about one meter and sat and stared.

    It's not really about the cake

    I’m sure it was a hard thing for them to take in, mummy crying over a cake…

    My eldest looked at the cake and whispered, “I think it’s a really beautiful cake mum…”

    I sat on the kitchen floor and sobbed… not just tears, a whole tidal wave came crashing out.

    As my eldest knelt to the floor and put his arms around me, my middle child’s face turned very sad and tears came along with it.

    “I’m sorry mum…”

    Yep, you guessed it, that's when I bawled like a baby!

    It was one of those sacred in the silly moments.

    I had to explain that it wasn’t his fault that mummy was so sad, and that it wasn’t just about the cake… How do you explain to my then three and six-year-olds about the brokenness of humanity and the dregs of it I’m still working through?

    They are yet to know of the damage that has taken place in my life some by my own choice and some at the hand of broken humanity.

    How do I tell them these tears come from a deeper place than the shallowness of the situation? I mean who cries over cake? (Unless of course it’s the best cake you have ever eaten and eating the last morsel causes tears to flow, as you are afraid you’ll never get to taste it again!!!)

    I could barely breathe and I felt very alone in my pain and grief. But why was I hurting so much what was I grieving? Why did I feel so alone?

    The Proving Perfection Pressure

    I knew the bursting of the dam was due to too much pressure. As I later tried to pinpoint what exactly went on in me I tried to blame things.

    I began with my husband (naturally), “If only he’d help out more…wait! He is always helping out… always… so no, it’s not him.”

    “I must be doing too much…”

    “No… God has called me to this so very clearly…just because I’ve hit a rough patch doesn’t mean it’s all over…”

    Then why was my soul in such deep pain?

    I had been placing the ‘proving perfection’ pressure on myself once again without even realizing it. I wanted to prove I could create perfection for all I put my hand to for God’s glory right? When did it switch to me? When did I begin to strive in my own strength, placing ridiculous pressure to somehow prove that I was a perfect wife, mum, and woman in ministry? Why did I forget that God is at work and that God is grace? I mean I know He is, but why did I know it and still my actions spoke otherwise? Why did I think and act as if I had to do this all on my own?

    It was as though by proving that I could be the perfect Christian woman I could wipe out all the sin stuff, the stuff in my past that whispered that I’d never really been worthy of God’s love or anyone else’s… The whisper that said you need to earn love…

    Breathing room

    And this 'prooving perfection pressure' was slowly suffocating my soul…

    Because souls need room to breathe, souls need to hear truth words followed by lives living into those truth words… and I wasn’t letting anyone give me room to allow my soul to breathe…

    Humbling hey?

    God created us to be in constant communion with Himself and others. We were not created to walk out this WILD FAITH journey on our own. Yet somehow the enemy deceives us into believing we have got to be able to ‘do it all’ on our own. Society and media have created a ‘me first,’ ‘do it for yourself,’ culture where relying on anyone else means you have failed.

    We need each other

    We actually really do need each other, we need God. We were never created to live out the plans of God by ourselves. We are here to help each other find soul space.

    Help came knocking twice that day from my husband and I rejected it, why? Because I’m the mum, I’m meant to achieve this perfect cake on my own right? I thought I’d be weak… a failure… a disappointment… Ridiculous right!?

    Later that day I sent a ‘blah’ text to my friend, who quickly responded with a phone call and the offer of help. I tried to turn it down several times, but she persisted (Thank you Jesus for friends who press in!). Her help came in the form of listening and in the practical form of baking some treats. God reminded me that day that I CAN’T live this wild faith journey on my own, that I CAN’T earn His love through my proving and striving and perfectionistic behaviors…

    He is the HERO

    I need Him to be the hero of my story, daily, moment-by-moment.

    And, I needed the tribe around me… a God-given gift if only I could receive it…

    We fulfill the law of Christ as we love each other and bare each other’s burdens, just as He did. As we lay down our lives for those around us, our stories somehow overlap and intertwine the tapestry of our testimonies in Him. Our arms linked together to give us hope and courage to face the struggles and pain we must persevere through. As we open up our lives for true communion with God and each other, “we humble ourselves to need and be needed by others” (L, G. Micminn).

    The tears were never about the cake… They were about recognizing my own self-induced isolation, my need to ‘do it on my own, prove my worth’ and God used that moment to help me realize how much I needed Him and others on this journey.

    Can I encourage you to rely on God, look to Him when you feel inadequate or unable to do all He has entrusted you with, to let go of striving and proving and perfection? He never asked us to do it by ourselves, He never asked us to prove our worth or to be perfect. He simply asks us to partner with Him, to allow Him to be our hero…

    And whilst you are practicing the art of opening your life and living in true communion, dip your toes into the lives of those around you, offer help, press in, bring true communion of the saints into being. Then allow them to return the favor. The only way we experience the fullness of God’s plans and love is in this place of communion with each other and God.

     

     If you enjoyed this post you might enjoy reading one of the following.

    The Feet of Jesus: A wild faith others won't understand

    AWAKE OH MY SOUL: Learning to listen for the God whispers

     

     

     

    Posted by Carly Thomson
  • The Feet of Jesus: A WILD FAITH others won't understand

     

    How long has it been since you soaked in the daily presence of God?

    Since you slowed down so much so that instead of busying yourself to serve Jesus, you simply sat at His feet, loved on Him and learned from Him?

    Have you been afraid of what others might think? Afraid of being 'unproductive' when there is so much to do? Me too...

    There is a beautiful story found in the book of Luke, chapter 10 and here we meet two sisters, Mary and Martha...

    I imagine Martha as a busy woman. I see her with an honest desire to serve those in her world with great love and care as she cleans and prepares a meal. I think her love language might be acts of service. She’s a home entrepreneur, sassy, brave, bold and seemingly can handle whatever comes knocking at her door… even the Son of God. Yet, Martha somehow misses what is most important… she is simply too busy.

    Gosh, I feel her burden and pain…

    Too busy to lean into what is of most value in the treasured moments God gifts to us in this very short space of time in all eternity.

    Mary chose what was better…

    She chose what was of greatest value right now. She chose what would bear the most fruit in her life, she chose what would help her to live freely and lightly in the days to come.

    Jesus was here, present, ready and willing to teach Martha things of great value, things that would help her become the woman He created her to be, to help her see what truly matters in life and how to tend generously to those things. How to find sacred in the seemingly silly...

    Martha was consumed by worldly pressures of hospitality…

    Mary knew what was of more value.

    Mary knew that the word Jesus would speak and would become her “foundation words, words to build a life on.”

    She leaned in and learned how to, “…work the words into her life,”

    Mary would come to know that sitting at the feet of Jesus was not wasting time, but it was a place she would learn to be, “…like a smart carpenter, who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river bursts it’s banks and crashed into the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last.” – Luke 6:48 (MSG)

    Mary chose what was better…

    She knew what she valued most, she knew how to prioritize what was most important right now. She threw custom and schedule out the window and tended to what was of greatest value.

    How many times do we forget this way of living?

    How many life lessons do we miss because our schedules and to do lists are so jam-packed we don’t have time or space to look and see what is of greatest value in the moments we are in?

    A couple of weeks ago I sat in the Tuscon Botanical Garden, a stunning space of beauty in the middle of the Arizona Desert. I had scheduled a day of rest after a busy book tour and thought what better place to find rest than in a garden. So I moved slowly through the space, I took time to look at, explore, read and smell all the sights and then I sensed God ask me to sit still on the dusty, stone bench seat. I sat under a tree, out of the dry Arizona heat and looked around for a short while, I breathed deep and went to go.

    I hesitated...

    I sensed Him asking me to linger longer…

    So I went and sat again…

    This time I just sat and looked around, allowed my eyes to linger over everything. I was still. Be still the bible says, be still…

    Right then my eyes became truly open, I saw small creatures I would never had seen if I hadn’t been still long enough and right there I became even more aware of how stillness opens our eyes, it helps us to see what we’d never have seen even meandering slowly through that space.

    Be still…

    Right there, in the middle of the Arizona Desert I was working the Word of God into my life and almost instantly seeing the fruit of that. Being still allowed me to be grounded... aware that God was present and holding all things together... being still helped me to know God as the One who holds all things and is in all things.

    Work Jesus' words into your life

    Mary had chosen to work Jesus’ words into her life as she sat at His feet…

    Martha was missing it…

    Jesus longed for her to enter in...

    Pride perhaps got the better of her...

    There He revealed truths and teachings that would help her to live in the fullness of all this gift of life has to offer…

    Mary was learning how to walk with and work with Jesus…

    There she’d learn the unforced rhythms of grace… the ability to live freely and lightly in His presence…

    “learn from me…” He whispers

     “…for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls…”

    Learn from Me…

    Learn from Jesus…

    Lean into all he has to say, all he has to teach us…

                Work His words into your life...

                            Then you will find REST for your souls.

    "Listening to and learning from Jesus guides us to find rest for our souls." (See my article over at Enliven women for more on this).

    Not everyone will understand your choice

    Martha didn’t quite understand how sitting at the feet of Jesus would be the better choice. She didn’t see that the time spent learning from Him would benefit her more than a clean house and a meal prepared right now, in this moment of time. She lived by the, “It needs to be done now” mantra, instead of learning to take the time to listen to and learn from Jesus. She allowed outside pressures to scream louder than her inward yearnings.

    He was there right now, in their home…

    The Word made flesh…

    Yet Martha pushed time with Him aside to be in the kitchen… to get the stuff that needed to get done, done.

    Martha failed to realize that taking the time now with Jesus would benefit her life greatly for the days ahead. She failed to see that learning His teachings whilst He was readily available would set her up for that life of rest. It would teach her how to live freely and lightly in her daily walk with the Lord.

    YOU are invited to sit at His feet

    The beauty of this picture is that when Martha complained, Jesus still beckons her to come learn with them too. Yes, He is pretty blunt, but there is no judgment but an open invitation to drop what she is doing and to choose what is of greater value.

    What about you?

    Are you taking the time prioritize scheduling in spending time at the feet of Jesus daily?

    Are you coming to Him to learn how to live freely and lightly in your daily?

    What can you do today to prioritize some time in your week to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from Him?

    Challenging hey?

    But SO worth it!

    Big love,

    xx

    If you enjoyed reading this post you might also enjoy

    AWAKE OH MY SOUL: Learning to listen for the God whispers

    THE UNMAKING: A journey into WILD FAITH

    Posted by Carly Thomson
  • Enliven Women: Live Freely, Live Lightly

    Hey Beautiful One!

    I just wanted to share a blog/devotional I was privileged to share in ENLIVEN WOMEN's 'Giving Up Busy' devotional recently. Here is a taste...

    "Learning to walk with Jesus in the daily is hard but in time you find yourself keeping company with the One who will always lead you in the right way, the One who will champion you, tell you the truth, show you grace and believe in you the most."

    You can check it out by clicking HERE.

    Enliven Women "...are the messy, imperfect ones, learning the unforced rhythms of grace – because we know that Jesus will meet us wherever we are, but wont leave us there.
    We are the ones who know our brokenness and rest in our belovedness – because we know that Jesus gave everything so that we can have freedom.


    We are the ones who are always seeking – for wisdom and hope, for redemption in the dark places and peace in the stormy seasons – because we know that Jesus invites us deeper into relationship and is present in our every moment.

    We are the radical, passionate ones who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo and ask questions that don’t have easy answers – because we believe that Jesus came to turn it all upside down and invite us into the mystery of a faith-filled life." (www.enlivenwomen.com)

    Big love,

    xx

    Posted by Carly Thomson
  • AWAKE, Oh My Soul: Learning to listen for God in the whispers

    “My heart O God, is quiet and confident.

    Now I can sing with passion your wonderful praise!

    Awake, O my soul, with the music of his splendor-song!

    Arise my soul and sing his praises! My worship will awaken the dawn,

    greeting the daybreak with songs of light!”

    – Psalm 57:7-8 (The Passion Translation)

     

    David was a man who had complete confidence in God.

    He still wrestled, he still asked questions… but all-in-all his confidence remained in who He knew God to be.

    How could one man stand so confidently in God?

    So firm in fact that he wrote this Psalm while being pursued by Saul? He laments to God in the first part of this Psalm, but then his laments turn to praises?

    Not just any praises, but full-blown, life-awakening praises!

    Why?

    How does one do this in the midst of trouble?

    How can one praise God when their life is on the line?

    How can they praise God when their life seems to be in a downward spiral with no way out?

    I believe that David knew God well. He didn’t know God from what someone else had told him, from rituals or from those who supposedly knew God and lived differently.

    No.

    David knew God personally and intimately

    He sought out God back in the fields as a shepherd boy; he sought God when he wrestled and questioned and found peace and joy as he worshiped Him. Perhaps he started with daily disciplines that guided him in this, but eventually, it moved from stories and scriptures to this incredible WILD FAITH walk with his Creator!

    I often sit in awe and wonder at how all of it is created to point us back to Him… Creation speaks if you still yourself to listen… it stirs within you and wakes you up to a Creator who spoke it all into being.

    And isn’t that what it’s meant to do? Still us. Stop us in our tracks, take our breath away, make us feel something within? Even suffering does this… (Please note I do not believe God causes our suffering, but that He is with us in it)

    Everything He creates draws our attention to Him… to question, seek out and find.

    Oh! And when we find Him are our hearts not turned to love Him more and more? We get distracted by the busy, by the mundane, by the day-in-day-out, and we forget the awe and wonder of Him in and through it ALL. We forget and we miss little gifts that stir and engage out heart with His.

    God desires our love 

    He longs for us to seek Him in the ordinary everyday moments of life…

    “Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord…” – Jeremiah 29:13-14 (The Message)

    Are these not the whispers of a God who longs for us to know Him deeply, for us to long for Him as a vital necessity?

    And, is David not described as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)?

    A man who lived and breathed and found his being in God (Acts 17:28)? Who loved God passionately and wildly at times?

    David saw God in everything

    I imagine David as a young, ruddy-haired, teenager breathing in the air around Him out in those fields and speaking with God as his flock made sounds of gentle contentment. I imagine Him playing with the stones from his slingshot, rubbing his fingers over the cool, smooth surface and marveling over how God had created the stones of the earth and the birds of the air, the streams and the fish, the eyes that he sees with and the heart that beats life and love within him every day. I picture a young man studying the seasons and the way God intentionally weaves life and death, growth and purpose into them all.

    He knew God was in and through it all and his response to this revelation of God’s majesty in nature was a desire, a heart longing to truly know His Creator with every fiber of his being!

    Quiet confidence in the mess

    David knew God and now, many years on when his life changed path from a place in the palace to a path that he was now being pursued on, by a crazy king, who wanted him dead! He still had a quiet confidence in God.

    He remained real, authentic and honest in his pain and struggles during this time, yet He places his confidence… his trust in God.

    CONFIDENCE can be described as;

    “The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust” (Oxford dictionary)

    “A multifaceted word that encompasses within Christian thought a range of aspects of faith in God, certainty and assurance of one’s relationship with God, a sense of boldness that is dependent on a realization of one’s acceptance by God, and a conviction that one’s destiny is secure in God.” (www.biblestudytools.com).

    David had a quiet, steadfast, unwavering confidence and trust in God.

    Song of Thanksgiving

    And in this place of quiet confidence, a song of thanksgiving emerges! A song that awakens him to the very presence and faithfulness of God. He knew that whatever went on, whatever the situation looked like, whoever had it in for him… He knew that he was a beloved child of God, cherished, seen, known and that God would never leave him.

    Live awake

    I want to live like that in my every day, my heart gently waking to God’s presence and faithfulness. I want to see with eyes that see Him in EVERYTHING! Every touch, every cuddle, every dish, every breeze, every tear, every load of washing, every day I put my pen to paper, every time I kiss my little one's heads while they sleep… everything.

    Because He is in everything…

    And if we are awake, we can see.

    And when faced with harder days, perhaps not being run down by a crazy king, but hard… you know, running on no sleep, work deadlines, kids fighting, husband away working, nothing going to plan and those what on earth is going on here days?! We can still ourselves enough to see Him, to get to know Him in those spaces, those sacred and silly spaces. We perhaps learn to rest our hearts and minds in a place of quiet confidence that the God of LOVE is with us, teaching us, leading us and longing for us to find Him right there… waiting for us to listen to His whispers of beautiful truths and words of love.

    Big love,

    If you enjoyed reading this post you might like to read

    The Feet of Jesus: A WILD FAITH other's won't understand

    It's NOT About The Cake: Finding freedom from the proving perfection pressure

    Posted by Carly Thomson