Where is my cape? I NEED to find my cape!
After a couple of tough days (there are more tough days than not lately), I find myself sitting in my chair in my Wonder Woman pajamas completely overwhelmed. It is 6:00 and I have not eaten since breakfast at 7:30 this morning. I think I am hungry, but honestly, I do not even want to get up. Not to mention, there is hardly any food in the house. Do I really want to get up for a slice of toast or a bowl of cereal? I am stressed out and the pressure is on, coming from seemingly every direction. The jammies just do not have the same effect as that cape!
Full disclosure: I never had a cape. The cape is what I referred to as my ability to “do it all.” I had built that reputation too. “How do you do it?” “You’re amazing!” “I just don’t know how you balance all you do, and so well at that!” Comments like these became common place. I went back to college with three kids under the age of four. I graduated with honors when the youngest was a three-year-old terror (I love him to pieces, but honesty is the best policy). He has Sensory Processing Disorder. Between that, an inability (at the time) to communicate because of speech and language delays, and a brain that works miraculously in other ways, affording him the ability (and me the insanity) to be an escape artist comparable with the likes of Houdini, he was one destructive little boy. After that, I worked a job (for measly pay…seriously, I am pretty sure it was illegal) that sometimes had me busy up to 80 hours a week. Somehow, I managed to put real food on the table, and not just real, but from scratch bread and homemade pasta. I showed up at soccer and baseball games. I made the best birthday treats. I thrived under pressure. Stress did not debilitate, it drove. The more overwhelmed I was, the more results I produced. And so, I became…Wonder Woman!
***Note: I haven’t seen the new movie, I never read the comic books, and I just barely remember the cartoon from the 80s, so I’m sure her super powers (did she have powers?) were different than mine.
At some point things started to unravel, my job ended, and I gave up my cape. Explaining all of that would leave you reading for hours, or rather, stopping before you got to the good part. So, I will just say this: as life changed I learned, and I experienced some healing. The cape was not all it was cracked up to be. It did not represent somebody with super-human ability but somebody so broken that she needed that reputation to survive. It was not stress and pressure that drove me, but the validation I received when I performed well. Losing the cape was good. It meant that I no longer was so driven (still a little driven, healing is a process) by that because I started to understand my value in another way. My identity was no longer in an invisible cape, but in Jesus. I suppose it always had been, but now I knew it.
I was loved.
I was lovable.
I was valuable.
I was smart.
I was beautiful.
I was blameless.
I was cherished.
I was powerful.
I was accepted.
I was worthy.
I was strong.
The list goes on of all I was and ALL I AM because of Christ. Why then look for that cape? Because life is overwhelming again. The stress and pressure are mounting because of circumstances unlike any I have ever experienced—divorce, single parenting, church planting, entering the workforce (bi-vocational)—and I just cannot “do it all.” How can I possibly perform without being Wonder Woman?
As I pondered that this afternoon, a thought came to me. Perhaps the answer is not in being Wonder Woman, but in being a woman who wonders.
The word wonder is defined “to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel.” I wonder at many things; I am filled with awe in…
… the songs of the birds
…the rays of sun that shine through dark clouds
…a world covered in white (even in March)
…a flower that makes an appearance through the frozen earth
…the mercy of God
…the sacrifice of Jesus
…the gift of the Holy Spirit
…the timing of God’s gifts
…the provision of God
…the redemption of my circumstances as I let God use me
…the grace of God in the gift of a friend
As I wonder, my gaze is lifted heavenward. With my eyes fixed on Jesus, marveling at who He is and what He does, I am COMPLETELY filled with amazement, leaving NO room for the need to perform, to be validated, to “do it all.” Instead I am transfixed on the One who has already done it all!
I am reminded of the words to an old hymn:
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
I guess I do not need that cape after all.
What about you, friend? Are you trying to be a wonder, or are you a person that wonders? My prayer is that as you read these words, your own eyes are lifted heavenward, fixed on Jesus, and you are fill anew with awe in the one has done, can do, and will do it all.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV).
Oh, and in case you are worried, it is now almost 9:00, and I did get something to eat. In fact, I did something I have never done before. I had dinner delivered because I am worth it, and I just cannot (and do not have to) do it all.