“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8(NKJV)
My heart races and my breath shortens as so many thoughts vie for attention on my mental chalkboard. Each responsibility is written in a large font, and is bold-faced, italicized and underlined.
I fight tears. I should be able to handle all of this.
And yet the weight of the responsibilities and the number of items on my to-do list threaten to claim my sanity. Guilt follows the tears because I accepted all of these roles, after all. Most of them I chose and most of them bring me joy. But the sum of them equal pressure that can sometimes be too much.
As I scour the pages of the Bible in search of answers for my overwhelmed heart, I pray God, of all the responsibilities I have, what is it you actually require of me? And to my relief I find these words, “He has shown you, on man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
Notice these verses do not say we must have so many followers, obtain a degree, earn a specific salary, wear a certain jean size, have zero wrinkles, be a Pinterest-perfect mom, have an HGTV-worthy home, and cook like a Food Network star. In reality, eating a bowl of cereal in my sweats with dust bunnies in the corner is the best I can do some days. Somewhere along the way, these self-imposed and/or society-imposed expectations have become the standard. And if I don’t do all of them well all of the time, I am disappointed in myself.
While I am a proponent of hard work and stewarding your gifts well, I am also aware God’s goals differ significantly from the goals the world sets for us. Not only are we driving ourselves crazy trying to measure up to these preposterous standards, but we are holding our husbands, children, parents, friends, and co-workers to them too. So often our overwhelm stems from the expectations of man and not the expectations of the man who came to save us.
This issue is not new. Jesus explained this concept to the Pharisees. “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” (Mark 7:8) The Pharisees added hundreds of their own rules and regulations to God’s holy laws. They forced others to live up to standards they could not even follow. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, remember God never told us we had to handle it all. He already handled it all on the cross and simply requires us to act justly, love mercifully, and walk humbly with Him.
As we do so, He erases all of those things we have written on our mental chalkboards with one wide swipe. And in their place, He writes GRACE in a God-sized font, bold-faced, italicized and underlined. Grace from Him, grace for others, and grace for ourselves.
Do you feel your breath stabilizing and your heartbeat steadying? Me too.
CHM Guest Contributor
Rachael Adams is a writer, speaker, podcaster, and founder of The Love Offering. Her heart’s desire is to encourage women to realize their God given purpose and to embolden them to move into the world through compassionate action. Rachael and her husband live in Kentucky with their two children. Connect with her online at www.rachaelkadams.com or on Facebook and Instagram @rachaeladamsauthor.