This one comes to us from Emily Price:

I recently started working for my husband.

bf0808aabf6f233f_4This may not be the wisest career or marriage move, but it was borne of necessity. My husband just opened his own law firm. Rather than hire an associate to help, he looked across the breakfast table to yours truly. So, I dusted five years worth of spit-up and Legos off my law degree and set to writing.

Working toward my first deadline, I grew anxious. Like any self-respecting sinner, I projected that anxiety onto someone I love. I started snapping at my husband over every little thing. My barbs had nothing to do with work, mind you, but criticized him for serious offenses like leaving the lid off the sugar dish, forgetting to take out the trash, and breathing too loudly. Finally, in bewildered exasperation, he asked what was the matter.

All in one breath, my fear was laid bare: “I’m nothing but smoke and mirrors, my writing is garbage, and you’re about to find out and I can’t stand it.” I have been married to this man for seven years. He held my hand when my grandmother died, held my hair back through morning sickness, and handed me our newly born sons. There is no one on earth with whom I am more intimate. Yet, there is still a façade. There are still parts of me I want to present to him polished shiny-perfect instead of tarnished and real. I need my husband to believe that I am smart and that my work is as good as advertised.

He could have “damned me with faint praise.” He could have said that of course my draft would be good – my credentials were impeccable and my reputation sterling. I would have been left even more wretched, more cemented in my need to hold up the false front.

He didn’t say any of those things. Instead, in that moment, he somehow set aside his (justified) frustration, and said, “Babe, we’re all phonies. And whatever you do, there’ll be no judgment here.” I could breathe. I was so convinced that nothing I could offer would be good enough, yet still he found me wholly sufficient.

Isn’t it so with God? I tell myself that if I serve more, sign up for more, read my Bible more, just be more, then finally, I will be enough to be in real relationship with God. But that’s all smoke and mirrors. We’re all fatally wanting, and though we try our best, we can’t hide it from the One who made us.

And yet, we are found whole and without stain: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). He looks to judge us, failing and phony people, and sees instead His perfect, pure and blameless Son. We can breathe. We are free.