I often fall into the “performance trap,” setting certain standards for myself: standards about what it means to be a good mom, a good friend, a good Christian, a good enough ____. In college and young adulthood it was easier to “make the grade” and keep the plates spinning. But then came lots of transition, more relationships to keep up, marriage, and the real kicker for me: motherhood.
Having young kids exposed my sin patterns and selfishness again and again. It felt impossible to “perform” well in this role, to not lose my temper, to hit my “good mom” standard. I would yo-yo between beating myself up and then pulling up my bootstraps, determined to do better...
But God mercifully used this season to help me realize - again and again - the truth of the gospel. I had always said "I'm a sinner," but now I keenly felt the weight of my sin. And as I came to terms with it's weight, I continued to realize just how good the gospel really is.
As I am exposed for the sinner I am, He is helping me learn to run to the cross and to this gospel that I could never achieve or deserve. I do not need to strive on the treadmill of performance, but rather walk by faith in the good news of Christ’s perfect performance. I can walk in the good work of motherhood (& other things) in an attitude of worship, resting and rejoicing in the undeserved friendship of Jesus. For a gift could never be earned or achieved; it can only be received with joy. And my joy in Jesus has certainly increased. It really is the best news!
This idea of an "upside-down" gospel kept banging around in my heart and head as I began to write "There is a Mountain." This is a gospel for the poor in spirit: the ones who acknowledge their own sin and need for a Savior. Jesus is not waiting for us to fix ourselves up before we come to Him! In fact, He wants the opposite: He wants us to come to Him as sinners - poor, needy, hungry, thirsty, broken sinners - dependent upon Him for salvation, and rejoicing in His gracious and undeserved invitation to the feast.
For more of the story behind "There is a Mountain" watch the end of this video: