The below post was written by my dear sister-in-law, Renee:
Longing for the Ideal with Hope and Grace
Do you know what I really long for? Maybe it’s the same desire you have: to be a really great (and I mean the kind of great that receives many rewards in heaven) woman, wife and mom. For me, this means meeting my ideal expectations of myself. We might all fill in the blanks of what that looks like to us differently. Some of my blanks start with: to always _________ or to never __________.
Do you know what my problem is? I find that my real self never quite reaches my ideal expectations- and many times falls miserably short. It seems hopeless when I see who I want to be and then see myself as I really am.
A book I read recently, Changes That Heal, helped me with this struggle between the good and the bad that I face inside of myself. The truth and grace I found there brought great freedom.
The truth is my real self doesn’t match my ideal self. But the grace given by Jesus makes a lot of room for imperfection. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection- which gave Him victory over imperfection and its consequences- I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t even have to be good! Jesus is my perfection for me. He is my goodness. My hope for becoming all I long to be rests in Jesus whose job it is to perfect me and make His work of creating holiness in me complete.
For me, in practical terms, this means ‘the pressure is off’! I can ‘reveal’ my real self to myself and others. I don’t need to feel shame or embarrassment over my failures or shortcomings as a woman, wife or mother. I can rest and not weary myself with striving for an ‘ideal’ while trying to cover up my ‘real’.
With Jesus’ help, I work towards obeying God to produce righteousness in all areas of my life. And with the picture of Jesus’ work on the cross, I work towards that goal imperfectly without guilt or shame. The good and the bad of my real self can co-exist without a cover-up so that Jesus’ work in me can shine.