Today has been hard. My little boy has had more energy that any one-year old has the right to have. And he’s been frustrated with everything since he woke up this morning. At 5am. I know it’s hard to believe that this little blubbery ball of cuteness could be anything but all smiles, but alas, it’s true.
I’m tired and it’s only 2pm. I mean I’m really tired.
My temptation is to convince myself that I cannot possibly make it to the grocery store after nap time, much less make dinner, finish the laundry, or play with my son until Daddy gets home. An even worse temptation is to believe that if I do somehow manage to get all those things done, I will have measured up to some standard I set for myself.
I can be a very “all or nothing” kind of person. Either my days are good and I accomplish what I want, or they are bad and I give up—waiting for tomorrow so I can try again. To make it worse, I often equate my value with how much I’ve been able to cross off my list for the day. Did I clean the floors, pay the bills, and reply to all my emails? Did I go to the bank, the post office, the grocery store AND the gas station in a nice circle, or did I zigzag through town. Worse, did I forget to go to the post office and now I have to go back tomorrow?
As you can imagine, motherhood has thrown a wrench in the works. Rarely do I have days where I can cross much off my list—unless I start listing “change diapers” and “feed the baby,” which I am sometimes tempted to do. Having a baby and spending most of my time caring for him has made me rethink where I find my value and how I know that I’m okay. I have to continuously remind myself not to find my worth in things, people, or what I accomplish.
The gospel teaches us that we have value not because we make good decisions, spend our time wisely, or cross everything off our list. Instead, through Jesus we have been made worthy. That seems like such a “Sunday School” thing to say, but it’s true and has radically changed my life. In fact, the gospel teaches that there is nothing I can do to accomplish the one thing I ultimately need—my salvation. There is a deep need I have to know that I am okay—that I am accepted, loved, adored. That I measure up. But I don’t… and I never will.
You may not struggle in the same way I do (I hope you don’t!) but I know you are tempted to find your value in something besides Jesus. It may not be crossing things off your list– maybe it’s being noticed by your boss for doing a good job or raising children that behave in public. Maybe it’s being known as the person that is really smart, really talented, or really strong. We all have something we look to when we want to reassure ourselves we are okay. But we aren’t okay.
We are helplessly flawed—unable to do enough, get enough, or give enough to really convince ourselves that we are acceptable. The gospel teaches us that of course we don’t measure up! Jesus is the only one who measures up. And by looking to Jesus, to the one who actually accomplished the only thing I need, I can rest in the knowledge that he has made me good enough.
Finding my value and worth in Jesus—in his life and death and resurrection— means I am free to make mistakes and to ask for forgiveness. It means that I can rest (mentally and physically) knowing that I have worked hard and will work hard again tomorrow. It means that I still do laundry and make dinner, but I do it because it needs to be done. Not because it somehow adds value to my account. It doesn’t make me okay. Only Jesus makes me okay.