It was time to pick our topics for the “Simplify Your Life” challenge, and the word deception jumped off the page at me.

I had no idea what I was going to write about and couldn’t even figure out why this was the word I was to choose.

Really. I don’t lie. What could I possibly say?

And then over a pan of ill-timed, over-baked chicken the Lord showed me the deception in my own life.

I went from thinking “My name is Barb, how do I deceive?” to “My name is Barb and I AM deceived!”

How did I see I was deceived come from some dried-out chicken?

It wasn’t the chicken so much, as it was my response afterwards.

My husband has had l-o-n-g weeks at work lately, and I wanted nothing more than to cook a nice meal and create a peaceful atmosphere to him to return home to.

In comes the ill-timed, dried out chicken.

I was heart-broken. I believe tears might have been shed.

An anxiety attack was even trying to take hold.

Yes, all over chicken.

{Don’t worry the sheer absurdity isn’t lost on me!}

While I am no stranger to the never-ending struggle with perfectionism, I began to see things in a whole new light.

I wasn’t just trying to cook dinner for my husband; I was trying to earn his love.

Earn his love. Really?

As the Lord shone the spotlight onto my heart, it all became overwhelmingly clear.

The working, the striving, the mental point-system determining failures and successes were attempts to earn love from those around me.

The drive to earn my husband’s love was really just an extension of my desire to earn the love of our Father.

As if His sacrifice didn’t already speak volumes about the love He held for me.

Always striving. Always reaching. Always unattainable.

I had to earn His love.

Do you find these words echoing the sentiment of your own heart?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—Ephesians 2:8

It is by grace.

The end.

Not by my works nor by your own.

Neither one of us can earn the love of our husbands or the Lord.

It’s that simple.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

It’s time, ladies, if we want to simplify our lives, to throw off the hindering sin of performance and run with perseverance.

Lacing up my shoes,