“Is this all there is? Two kids, a functional marriage, shopping and cooking and playdates and laundry…is this it?” And then the immediate guilt. “This should be enough. I have two beautiful children, a husband who loves me, enough resources to meet my needs, friends who care about me. It should be enough.”
But it isn’t enough. Filling my days with activities and conversation and duties isn’t enough. It leaves a huge, gaping hole in me that I keep pretending doesn’t exist…by going shopping, trying a new diet, filling my Google calendar with events and commitments. But still, the empty vacuum is there within, sucking up everything I throw at it and demanding more. Never ending. Never satisfied.
Oh, I know why the hole is there. I am fully aware that only God can fill this void. That only a life lived actively pursuing Him, listening to Him, resting in Him, worshiping Him can alleviate the ravenous hunger of this vortex.
But I shy away from Him. Why? Why avoid the One who I know can save me from myself, from my endless to-do lists and my floundering self-worth?
Because I am so terribly afraid that I will disappoint Him. That I have disappointed Him. I am not good enough. That much is sure. I am a failure in every way. I don’t make healthy enough meals for my family, and I don’t eat well enough myself. I don’t do enough around my house. I don’t spend enough time reading to my kids. I don’t affirm them enough, don’t prioritize them over the many distractions that I allow to eat away my time. I don’t love my husband well, in the ways he longs to be loved. I am not enough. I am lacking, failing, hopeless.
And then I read “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” [Eph 2:4-7 ESV]
“Because of the great love with which he loved us…” Not because I deserve it. Not because I manage my household perfectly. Not because I am always patient with my kids or loving toward my husband. He loves me because he loves me. “God is love.” [1 John 4:16] It’s who he is. It’s what he does.
I have seen my older child sob over a wrong-doing he committed—inconsolable, unwilling to believe that he was forgiven and loved just as much as before. And it hurt my heart so deeply. How I wanted to comfort him, to assure him that he was totally forgiven, that he was completely loved. I imagine tonight that God feels the same way about me—heartbroken at my refusal to let him love me, even though his love was never contingent on my behavior or my attitude or my perfection. So I’m trying, trying to let him love me, trying to let him fill this sucking void in my soul, instead of filling it with the ever-clamoring to-do lists and social activities and media. By grace, I am trying to stop trying.