We had been married 1 month and 6 days.
For most people, I guess that time is a blissful 36 days of kisses, I love you’s, and together time.
Ours…not so much.
For us it was more like, “who is going to call the insurance company and get everything switched over?” or “how in the hell did we end up having to pay a $900 premium for health insurance?” and the most common, “why are you always so tired and never want to have sex?”
It was a long 36 days…
Finally, on a Monday night when I was at my peak of exhaustion – hair not washed for 4 days, legs not shaved, super caffeinated, running on about 4 hours of decent sleep – I crashed. I just couldn’t “perform” for one more second or I was going to jump off my apartment and hope Jesus understood when I got to heaven.
It was about 8:30 pm and I had just gotten off a call for school. I still hadn’t showered, and dinner was nowhere near happening. My husband was upset because I had said on the phone earlier that I would have dinner ready, and I didn’t. He had worked 12 hours, and his patience with my never-ending exhaustion was running thin.
So, after he made it clear he wasn’t speaking to me – I decided I wasn’t speaking to him either and I would go for a walk and have a heated conversation with Jesus about why he invented marriage because obviously it was a horrible idea.
So, I went for a walk, and since Jesus wasn’t responding to my temper tantrum… I ended up at Target in the books section, my favorite. I picked up Rachel Hollis’ new book “Girl Wash Your Face” because obviously my personal hygiene was taking a hit these days.
I came home and read the chapter, Lie: I’m Not Good Enough. Because that’s what I was believing. Rachel stated something in this book that rocked me to my core. She said, “I thought in order to be loved I had to produce something.” – And that’s where I was. I thought that in order for my husband to love and accept me – I needed to produce. I needed to do all the laundry, clean all the dishes, cook all the meals, keep the house spotless, have sex all the time (even when I didn’t want to), be the absolute best at work, solve all the problems, have a 4.0 in graduate school, be a good church member and serve, be a good friend and check in with all my people every week, the list just goes on and on and on….
The pressure was endless.
So, when I started sobbing and my husband asked me what I needed from him to make our marriage better, my answer was, “I have no idea.”
All I could say was that I was exhausted. I was emotionally and mentally exhausted. I was so spent from the never-ending pressure. It was so heavy, and I couldn’t take one more second. The floodgates opened, and I realized that for months I had been trying to “perform and produce” so people would accept me.
Not consciously, but my mindset was – “if I do all the laundry and the dishes, and text Jonathan that I love him – then he will accept me.”
“If I solve all the problems, and take on all the responsibility at work – then my co-workers will accept me.”
“If I make the best grade in the class and have a 4.0 in grad school – then my parents will be proud and accept me.”
The lie was: if I can just be good enough – then I can be loved.
It’s such a nasty dirty lie. And Satan uses it constantly because it’s so easy for us to believe.
As I sat on my couch listening to my husband cry as I told him that I just couldn’t handle one more second of trying to make everyone else happy – I realized what the Holy Spirit had been trying to tell me all along….
“Stop working so hard. Stop putting pressure on yourself. Stop worrying about the opinion of others. Just be my daughter. Just be Katie. You are so perfect the way you are. You are so loved without ever doing anything. Stop working so hard to get something you already have. Learn how to rest. Learn how to give yourself a break. Just be, Katie. Just be.”
So that’s where I’m at…I’m going to let the Holy Spirit teach me how to just be. I’m going to let go of the opinion of others because the reality is, if they don’t like me now – they won’t like me later. I’m going to stop creating pressure for myself, and just do what I can for today. The work will be there tomorrow.