enough kale to be healthy :: enough chocolate to be happy

  • Janice Baxter

When Strivings Cease

Updated: Feb 9, 2019

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease

I am a striver. And as I started setting goals for personal development in 2019, I started feeling exhausted and depleted because of my striving. Striving to have a clean, tidy and welcoming home. Striving to be a model wife and perfect mother. Striving to make nutritionally balanced foods that are also delicious and have all the dishes done before my husband arrives home. Striving to be an involved and compassionate friend.

None of these things are bad. These are healthy goals that are worth time and attention.

The thing that I struggle with day in and day out is relying on me and my striving in order to feel I am living a purposeful and well-used life.

I do the same thing with God. I strive to make myself someone worthy of his love and blessing. I strive to earn a place in right standing with him.

The truth is I don’t need to. The truth is I can’t.

The truth is that my identity, being and even the breath in my lungs come from my Creator.

The truth is that the love, blessing and salvation that I seek comes from Christ alone, through the beautiful, mysterious and life altering gift of grace.

When I strive to be a nurturing mother but I find my toddler trying to feed the baby playdoh and lose my temper. When after a long day with the kids, I neglect my husband. When I forget to text back a hurting friend. When day after day with all of my strivings I inevitably screw up, drop the ball and blow it. I feel like a failure. I feel anxious. And I feel that way because my confidence is often placed in my ability to strive and achieve on my own strength and fortitude of will.

When I inevitably come to the end of my energy and can no longer keep up my can-do attitude, I have no choice but to humbly come to Jesus. The same Jesus who told us to rest in Him, to cast our cares on Him, to take off our yoke of striving and to put on his yoke, which is light and full of grace.

This isn't to say that we float through life and never have to try. Goals and dreams keep us moving forward. The wife of noble character described in Proverbs 31 was BUSY. She made plans and she worked hard. She considered a field and bought it. She made clothes to sell and helped the needy. But when I don’t measure up - when I consider exercising and choose Netflix or when I ask my husband to bring home take-out for dinner, I realize that my strivings are utterly futile under the yoke of anything but grace.

I want to stop waking up and putting on the yoke of striving to be the perfect mom. I want to stop striving through my day under the yoke of myself and my ambitions for me and my family.

I want to start waking up and putting on the yoke of God’s grace. Under His yoke, mistakes are allowed, because His power is made perfect in weakness. Under His yoke, I don’t have to drag around the guilt and shame of my sin because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Under His yoke, when I miss the mark my entire sense of self-worth doesn't need to crumble because He tells me I am His and that's all I need to know.

I don’t want to look back and measure 2019 by how many days I checked off every item on my to-do list. I want to reflect on 2019 and see the bucketfuls of grace that were poured out in abundance on us and then thank God for his infinite goodness and patience with us. So even though I still have goals for this year and I’m still going to work towards them, I’ll work towards them knowing that if I don’t succeed I don’t need to doubt my identity in Christ.

Because the truth is I am chosen and loved by the King. I don’t deserve it. I can’t deserve it. God is not asking me to be the perfect homemaker, wife, mother, friend and church member. He wants me to surrender to His love and grace and stop trying to fight for it.

When strivings cease - grace.

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Finding balance in life is a struggle. Chocolate Covered Kale is about our family's journey to find balance in the chaos of life. 

I'm Janice, an on-maternity leave wife and mom of a toddler, an infant and a fur baby. I love to cook and bake, and I'm more than slightly obsessed with Disney. Nothing in life makes me happier than when my family and friends are gathered in my home and are enjoying good food and conversation.

So welcome to my little corner of the internet where I'll try to muddle through my thoughts and experiences of learning to be a mom and learning to do life. Hopefully along the way we'll eat enough kale to be healthy, but enough chocolate to be happy.


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