to do lists
evil and exploitation
I am a little overwhelmed right now… Motherhood. Work. School. All areas of life that could each easily demand 100% of my attention.
There’s a popular graphic floating around Pinterest (originating from blogger Emily Ley) that caught my attention and has been my motto of sorts since it first caught my attention over two years ago: “I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.” I am a doer. And in many areas of my life I am a type A perfectionist, a quality of mine that certainly comes in handy sometimes… But not always. Sometimes it just causes me more anxiety and stress when I want to do it all and do it “perfectly.”
In class this past week, we were talking about the atrocities of landmines and cluster bombing. These are just a couple of social justice issues we discuss as a class; there is so much to be concerned about in our world. We were talking about the overwhelming feeling of wanting to get involved in so many causes and a classmate said something along the lines of “we need to do more!” I had already had an emotional day leading up to this (evening… *yawn*) class. Lately I have been overwhelmed with the feeling of doing each of my roles (motherhood, social justice activist, professional, student) in a
half-assed perfunctory manner. When I heard this student say that each of us – meaning everyone around the globe, not just around the table – need to do more, I had already been struggling with the pressure of deadlines, disappointment of not spending more quality time with my daughter, and anxiety that comes with trying to adequately balance home life, work and school (and personal care?). I struggle with saying “no” to commitments that I may not have time for, and the constant ambition to “do more” only ends in foreseeable burnout. I don’t fault the student for saying what he did; if everyone cared more, did more, gave more, loved more, we would definitely live in a better world. But perhaps rather than do more, I need to rely more? Rely on God. In his faithfulness. In his promise that he will not give more than I can handle. In his grace. This word: grace. It has been weighing on me lately.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9
I find myself falling prey to something I warn audiences of when I speak about issues of slavery: you alone can’t – aren’t expected to! – save the world. All we can do is be attune and open to God’s call in our lives, obey and act in ways that make a difference. I am in the process of reading The World Is Not Ours To Save and I think this book has come into my life at a necessary time as I struggle with this constant need to “do more.”
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we are called to do more! But the quantity of our work – how much money we donate, the number of boards we sit on, how many hours we volunteer – shouldn’t be the ultimate indicator of the level success in the impact we are making in our world.
I leave you with this song, one of my favourites! So often I find the need to just dwell in the lyrics of this song. (Interesting tidbit for you, I will never forget one of the times I listened to this song. It came on my phone playlist as Mark drove me to the hospital while I was in labour and in fear that I was going to give birth in our truck! It gave me so much comfort as contractions were almost nonstop.)
Grace to you.