I had a pretty cool experience last fall, before all of this craziness started. And I haven’t been able to get it off of my mind lately.

Picture yourself sitting by a lake on a cool, frosty morning.  You are sitting in a circle with a group of women, some of whom you know, others you haven’t met yet.  There are about 20 ladies of varying ages, and each of us with different stories.

And then someone brings out a guitar and asks you all to sing workship songs.  Without the lyrics in front of you.  And your heart starts to beat faster and faster.

You DON’T sing in public.  And without the proper words on some type of screen?!?

Well, if you let go and just sing, it can actually be pretty cool.  I didn’t grow up with a Christian background.  I grew up singing rock and country, not gospel.  I knew some of the words to sing, but not all of them.  And I’ve been told I have a less than perfect singing voice.

The thing is, no one asked me for perfect.  All I had to do was be willing.  Willing to worship, and join my voice with many others.  And my voice didn’t stand out.  At least, no one complained.  😉

I couldn’t help but wonder as we were sitting there, being stretched out of our comfort zones, how often God only asks us for our willingness.  I’m sure you’ve heard that God equips the called rather than calling the equipped. 

And it’s just that easy.  We were the ones to put the desire for perfection on us, not Him. 

Society today has put this need for outward perfection on every one of us. 
And most of us feel stuck trying to be everything. 
Perfect wife, making sure we are always pouring our everything into our spouse. 
The quintessential hockey Mom, joyfully lugging all of that equipment to the rink at all different hours of the day. 
The best friend, always having the perfect thing to say, no matter the situation. 
The parishioner that always has the time to help with every single event happening. 
Taking the time out of our busy days to surf Pinterest and making perfect meals and crafts to adorn our houses according to the seasons.

While my bible certainly says to strive for my best, working cheerfully for my family and to contribute to the kingdom, never once does it tell me I have to be perfect. 

It actually tells me I’m not perfect.  That was the job of Jesus.  He was sent to encourage us that times will be hard, we will be challenged, but that He is the only way to make our lives work.  To put Him first and let God work out the rest.

So why do we spend our days, weeks, months and years beating ourselves down for something that we can truly never attain?

My friends, could we all just agree to stop this here? 

Can we start off our mornings asking God to prepare us for the day ahead? 

And take it one day at a time, putting our best into everything we truly need to do, not all the stuff everyone else thinks we should do.  And play to our strengths.  Let your friends help you.  Let your friends share your burdens as you want to share theirs. That’s exactly what they are there for. 

After we finished our worship, I got to see a little into the hearts of these women.  And they are precious. 

Each of us shared in feeling like we were being stretched to the limit, constantly pouring ourselves out for those around us, struggling to be enough of everything for everyone.  We were all feeling like we were failing in one or more area, if not all of them at times. 
We had the privilege of sharing the knowledge that we are not alone in our struggles.  It was such a weight off of our chests to realize that we all feel the same way, but we are all trying our best. 
That we could all feel that we have someone so powerful on our side that we can’t help but be successful in the things that are truly important. 
If our voices could somehow blend to create a beautiful harmony singing for him, how much more could we do if we continue to pour into Him and each other?

God gave us each individual strengths and weaknesses for a reason.  Because we are meant to do this life together, contributing and pouring into each others lives and complementing their weaknesses with our strengths.  Not looking at that “perfect” family and trying to be them.

My voice, while certainly imperfect, and unsure at times, was exactly what it needed to be this morning.  Pure.  Filled with awe that even while there are a plethora of days that I feel like I fall so short, He is enough.  He will fill in the important things.  I just have to be willing to trust.  To take that step, no matter how much I want to control it, of just letting go and letting Him figure it out.  The days that I’ve woken up and handed it all over to him work out so much better than the days where I run myself ragged trying to do it all myself.

Heavenly Father, I thank you today for all of the gifts you have given me, especially the ones that I take for granted.  I thank you that you have trusted me with these beautiful children, and that you are there to fill in any holes that I leave behind.  I am so blessed that you love me, even at my worst, and I pray that you would fill me with the grace you have shown me so that I may show it to those around me.  Help me to see the important steps I need to take through your eyes, not the eyes of the world.  And help me to see the people around me as you see them, imperfect but beautiful each in their own way.  I pray that we could all let go of the notion of perfect and concentrate instead on using our gifts to bring truth and love to those around us.  In faith I pray this.  Amen.

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