This month I am having conversations with friends, family, students, fellow church members. In person (rarely), on phone calls, in texts, and by email. And in these conversations, I hear a resounding theme. We are exhausted, grieved, and uncertain about how to keep moving forward.
There are no magic wands to fix these problems. The solutions are not alwaysimple or obvious. Nevertheless, we need to seek and find the small things that help us take care of ourselves and each other. Only when we do that can we respond to the bigger callings and purposes in our lives.
Here’s more of what I’m thinking about giving myself permission to simply BE.
Are you and your friends encouraging each other to give yourself permission to do the small everyday things that make life more sustainable? Here’s a way to share that encouragement with yourself or a friend.
Giving Ourselves Permission
Recently we asked Rev. Dr. Angela Parker, Assistant Professor of New Testament and Greek at McAfee School of Theology what she is giving herself permission to do or be this year. We love what she told us!
Have you seen Dr. Parker’s new book? I think you will love that, too! Take a look at If God Still Breathes, Why Can’t I?: Black Lives Matter and Biblical Authority today!
From Rev. Dr. Angela Parker:
I am giving myself permission to understand that I do not always need to be perfect. As a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a sister, an auntie, and a professor, I have been wearing so many hats over the last few years. Moreover, these hats have pulled and tugged me in diverse directions that my body feels undone at the seams. Further, in the midst of being, learning, preaching, and writing with all of these identities, I feel as though I have been pulled in so many directions that I can never be “perfect.” So, I give myself permission to be “imperfect.”
Permission to be “imperfect”
Giving myself permission to be “imperfect” is antithetical to many layperson’s reading of Matthew 5:48. In many translations, Matt. 5:48 states “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Luckily, as a New Testament professor, I read and translate Greek for my own devotional study. The Greek for “perfect” in 5:48 is τέλειος which connotes a range of meanings: perfect, complete, mature, full-grown, or adult understandings.
As I continue in the journey that God has called me to walk, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is a journey not of perfection but of completion. I am to complete my journey as the imperfect example of all of these identities that I embody. I give myself permission to be an imperfect wife, an imperfect mother, an imperfect grandmother, an imperfect daughter, an imperfect sister, an imperfect auntie, and even an imperfect professor.
Importantly, I have learned that even in my imperfection, I am still complete because of the love that I have for my husband, for my children, for my grandchildren, for my parents, for my brothers and nieces, and even for my students. I no longer live under the assumption of perfection. I give myself permission to be imperfect.
"I have learned that even in my imperfection, I am still complete because of the love that I have for my husband, for my children, for my grandchildren, for my parents, for my brothers and nieces, and even for my students."
— Three Minute Ministry Mentor (@3MinuteMin) January 24, 2022
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Blessings and peace to you this week, friends. We pray for you to find the ways to simply BE which will sustain you this and every day.