Resting in Him Because I Can’t Do It All
I had done it again. In a couple of spots in my calendar I saw where I needed to have two children in two different places at the same time. (Double-booking seems to be my self-torture method of choice.) I maneuvered and manipulated my time in order to achieve and complete the carpools, the grocery list, the Bible Study, the store returns, and my exercise schedule, all the while straining against the clock, the speed limit, and God.
I have recently been reading Jen Wilkin’s book None Like Him, in which she goes through some of the ways we are not like God. One of the first truths she explores is that God is limitless and we are limited. It hit me in all the right and good places as I barreled through town trying to get it all done.
What mother, or human for that matter, doesn’t feel this way? A desire to be superwoman. To be everything to everyone at all times. To have it all—a deep spiritual life, career, motherhood, friendships, a satisfying marriage, and fit in a size four with dinner on the table at 6:30 sharp.
But the reality is that it just cannot be.
I am limited. I cannot split myself into two places. I cannot know exactly what my friend needs from me. I cannot get a healthy dinner on the table and get everyone home from scouts and sports on time. I cannot dance through life in high heels playing god with my time, my relationships, and my commitments.
The reality is that you are limited too. And you, too, are not God.
Our limitedness is not a bad thing. It is not a result of the Genesis 3 curse, when Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and their eyes are opened.
From the very beginning, humans are limited. We were made by God (Genesis 1:27), told by God to be fruitful and multiply and to have dominion over living creatures on the earth (1:28), and given food to eat by God (1:29). We are so clearly the clay, and God so clearly the potter, in creation. Yet we were so well-provided for, with a mate, a purpose, and sustenance.
God continues in Genesis 2 to limit man by what he can or cannot eat in the garden. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” God limits Adam and Eve for their good. And all of this before the fall. Thus, it is good. It is not a curse.
Does this passage remind you of healthy limits you give to your children? You shall not watch TV or be on the iPad all day long. You shall not stick your finger in the electrical outlet. You shall not drive alone before you are sixteen years old. You shall study for your science test instead of going to the movies with friends. Limits and boundaries are not set to be a curse but for our children’s good.
In the same way, God has set limits on us as parents, husbands, and wives. When we cannot be two places at once, and one child is late being picked up and the other has to walk home from school, we feel a limit. When my husband is traveling for work and cannot be at home for a basketball practice, he is limited. When I cannot make the pain of being left out go away for my child, I am limited.
So often these instances cause shame, anger, or frustration within me as I struggle against the boundaries God has placed upon me. My sinful self deals with this by expressing my frustration with my children for not remembering their needed sports equipment, my anger at the car in front of me for driving slowly, or my shame with being such a bad mom and failing those around me.
But I was never meant to be God-like by being everything to everybody all the time.
Because if I were, that leaves no room, no place, no need for God in my life or yours. God’s idea of good for my life means that I will rely on him in the middle of my limits. As Adam and Eve were reliant upon God for food and purpose in the garden of Eden, so too, am I reliant upon God for everything—my purpose, my life itself.
Freedom in Christ looks like resting in the limits God placed upon man from the very beginning of time, relying upon Him to fill the gap where I cannot meet an expectation, and seeing that God is God and I am not. When I cannot (or should not) fix a situation for a child, I see the healthy boundaries God has placed upon my relationship. It gives the necessary space for God to be God; my child won’t see his need for Jesus, if I am constantly trying to be his savior.
Freedom, too, looks like resting in the approval of God, not the approval of my peers, my husband, or my children. My worth comes from my position as a Child of God. My children are watching me, and when I can rest in my Savior, then they too will find rest in their Savior, not their accomplishments or my approval.
The world tells me that I can do it all, for everyone and for myself. But my reality shows me this is not true. The Word of God assures me that I was never meant to and points me to the One who has already done it all for everybody: Christ Jesus. In Him alone do I find rest in all my roles when I cannot do it all.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20)