I read an article recently about Sebastien Bras, a renowned French chef whose restaurant, Le Suquet (translated: “too expensive pour moi”), has retained three Michelin stars for nearly twenty years. The Michelin guide, for those of us who thought Michelin was strictly in the tire business, has been the “arbiter of French culinary excellence for more than a century,” using exacting standards and anonymous inspectors to identify la crème de la crème of French cuisine.

Earning three Michelin stars has long been the pinnacle of the culinary world, the gold standard for which every chef is striving, so it shocked foodies everywhere when Sebastien requested that Michelin drop Le Suquet from the three-star list. You see, Sebastien “wanted to be liberated from the pressure.” The anonymous, unscheduled inspections. The demand for absolute perfection. The expectation to continue to earn a rating that his restaurant had attained for so many years. It was debilitating. It smothered the joy he once found in serving his patrons the finest food. It enslaved him to the critics, forcing his attention away from what he really cared about.

What burden are you carrying? What expectation have you placed on yourself or allowed someone else to place on you? To be the top producer? The super-mom? The best student? The perfect size? Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God.” The phrase “be still” can also be translated “cease striving.” Do you feel the liberation in those words? Let’s take time today to cease striving, to be still, and to experience the joy of the loving embrace of our Heavenly Father.