February has exhausted me. I spent four weekends in four different places, leaving me irritable, tired and burnt out. About a week ago, before I left for the weekend, I had a conversation with a friend, in which I confessed feeling a lot of pressure – pressure to be a good friend, a good girlfriend, a good roommate, a good discipler and a good student. There are a number of things out of my control that have been heavy on my heart, so as a response, I’ve grabbed anything I could control and controlled the crap out of it. In the midst of a schedule that was not sustainable, I had fallen into performance mode, and no one was feeling the pressure of performing more than I was. And the silly thing was, besides some joking comments from friends, no one was telling me I wasn’t doing a good job at any of these roles; it was all me. I was the one putting pressure on myself and holding myself to impossible standards.
There’s a reason why we’re called to die to ourselves as Christians; we are our own worst enemies. I’m my own worst critic. If it isn’t how I’m eating, or working out, it’s how I’m caring for my friends or serving my roommates. I have ideas in my head of how I’m supposed to perform, and then I judge myself based on these standards. Absent from my scale is the fact that I’m freed from these standards. Jesus died on the cross so I don’t have to live up to anyone’s standards, not even my own. I’m free. Free from standards, or in biblical terms, free from the law. If I’m trying to achieve righteousness based on the law, I must follow the law in it’s entirety, which is impossible; hence Jesus. He fulfilled the law and set me free from it.
I’ve spent a lot of time resting this weekend. Rest is not easy for me; I start to feel lazy and laziness in my sinful brain translates to failure or punishment. Reality is, after two full days of rest, I’m starting to feel like myself again. I’m remembering why God’s commandment for a Sabbath is imperative. When I don’t rest each week, I end up having emotional breakdowns, feeling burnt out, and falling into sin patterns. I stop seeing God’s goodness because I’m just trying to survive and make it until bedtime. Rest is reminding me how much of my thoughts are based on worldly perspective – success does not begin with me. Victory has already been attained; will I live in light of it? Will I fight against my fleshly desires to measure my performance and place pressure on myself, and live in true freedom? I sure hope so.