I have, on more than one occasion been labeled as “a woman who gets things done”. And while this is true sometimes, (and believe me I’ve worn it like a badge of honor), it can also be a defect in my personality. A taking of something good and turning it into my identity.
The need to perform. DO. Check off the list. Prove my worth and my value in my “abilities”. “I GOT THIS!”
In my last post I talked about my tendencies to procrastinate, to be stagnant when I have too much to do and easily “numb out”. All true when it comes to being fruitful in “my calling” – because its hard. But this is something entirely different. This is an internal struggle with myself to “prove” something by the things I choose to “get done” or “do.
God has had to do a lot of work in me on this one because it has been evident in every area of my life. My independent nature follows me in my work, in motherhood and in my relationships. It is easier for me to carry the load on my own rather than be vulnerable and ask for help or to rest and allow God to do the work. Its easier to DO than BE. To check off the list than “feel” what I need to feel.
I wrote before about getting out of your comfort zone. Get motivated, get off the couch, do the hard stuff. Yes! We need to move forward when we’ve heard from the Lord. But for some of you, getting out of your comfort zone may be a call to do “less” – and that too can be uncomfortable. “Busy” is not a spiritual gift. God may be calling some of you to take a step back. A season of rest, of listening to his voice, being intentional in the FEW things he is calling you to rather than your endless to do list. And for those of us who are “doers”, this can be extremely uncomfortable. It requires stopping long enough to hear that voice inside of you that quite honestly sometimes you avoid. You don’t want to deal with the pain. You don’t want to do the work of processing the loss. You don’t want to work past the insecurity. It’s too hard. You would rather keep busy and avoid it.
I get it!
I used to be wide open. NONSTOP! I was a stay at home mom of two little girls, two years apart for 11 years. Busy right? I also volunteered at a pregnancy clinic, served on our care team and spent lots of time on the missions team at my church that I adored!!! I poured myself into everything that I could do to help. I rarely, if ever, said no to a need. I loved every part of it. I was “doing” so much “for” God but not really spending enough quality time in his presence on a regular basis. Too busy. Always assuming that the good things I was doing was my calling. And they were all good things. How could they not be? All these experiences have turned out to be “pieces” of a bigger calling.
But I was missing the point.
And then my world came to a screeching halt. Everything I knew, everything I loved, in a matter of moments was stripped away. The life I knew forever changed.
Divorce, heartache, shame, lots of disappointment. For obvious reasons I backed out of every single thing I was doing. EVERYTHING. Not just church world, but my whole life. Even though it was a necessity, over time I began to see that God was teaching me to BE still. A very foreign concept to me!!! I didn’t know how to stop. How to rest. How to trust God to do FOR me. On so many levels I believed the lie that I was in control. And if I dropped the ball, everything would fail.
Thank God I don’t have that kind of power!!!!
In that very long season, a dear friend of mine could frequently see me wrestling with SO much fear and insecurity. I would tell her how I wasn’t doing enough for others, I wasn’t volunteering, I was failing as a mom because of all the things I couldn’t “do” or give them because of my own limitations and pain. All things pointing to the illusion of self & control. What I can do? What I should do? She presented me with a gift that, to this day, still sits in my most frequent view.
It says…and only says….JUST BE.
Those words changed something inside of me that day. For days, weeks, months and now years later they are still a reminder for me to slow down in my doing. The proverbial “stop and smell the roses”. I’ve learned so much about being still. More than I wanted actually. God gave me a rreeeallllyyy long season of sitting. And waiting. And listening. And undoing. And breaking. And remolding. And quite honestly sometimes He still takes me back there and i have to decide to “let” him speak to me there or push past and get on with my list…
There were times I was grateful that my plate was utterly empty because I was weary and burned out and needed the years to heal and for God to show me that my value was NOT wrapped up in how much I could accomplish. That his love was not contingent upon me completing every task or fulfilling every obligation that I had assigned as important. I had been doing so much that I couldn’t hear the whispers of his love for me. I couldn’t feel, or be present because I was too busy (likely so I WOULDN’T feel). It was all about me and my “abilities” to do it all. And when I couldn’t “perform” or be validated in some way, I didn’t know how to BE. Enter yet another identity crisis! (I experienced a few over these years). Not only had I lost my husband, my home, what I planned for my family and my daughters, my dreams, I had lost my sense of purpose or knowing who I was without all those things.
What if instead of the endless bombardment of things to do that circles around in our brains and leaves us utterly exhausted and unfulfilled, was replaced with purpose, intentionality and boundaries. What if we were specific about the things we allow to take up space in our worlds. What if we leaned in to what God is calling us to and prioritize around the most important aspects of our lives. Leaving the unimportant undone. So as to leave space for Him to move. The eternal perspective of our lives rather than the earthly one. Our hearts and souls versus our calendars. Because the reality is, all the things we strive to accomplish in the natural will always need to be attended to. It is never ending. Its brutal sometimes. And its exhausting!!
I can hear some eyes rolling right now saying yeah right – how do we do that when we…… ? (insert your own reasons-there are many). I know. It’s likely I have all those things too. But I promise you that when you trust God to fill the gaps between doing and being – God WILL fill the gaps. Can you put down your busy comforts long enough to test him in this? He’s calling you.
“Come to me all who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you REST”. Matthew 11:28
REST!! Just BE. With ME.
There is something supernatural that happens when I lay down my physical perceived needs (to do’s) and spend time with God and rest. Seems counterproductive but its true. God doesn’t NEED our help ladies. Lives wont fall apart because we don’t give everyone everything that we think they need. Sometimes others will have to be disappointed to allow space for God to move in your own life – AND theirs! He has called EACH of a us to a unique purpose. We have to sit still long enough to hear what he has to say about it. Press in and take advantage of the time that you may never get again in THIS season. Why are we so eager to move past the often prayed for events of our lives as if there is some proverbial goal line?
This is not a preach to you moment. I am reminded as I write this, that I am not an expert at following this advice even with all that God has shown me. I frequently fall back into old patterns and rely way too much on my calendar. In fact, as I sit here my mind is spinning on all the things that I need to get done. My body is aching and fighting off something-I just want to lay down. My house is a mess. My laundry is overflowing. My car needs to be cleared out from a whirlwind trip that I took with my daughters last night in which I was up at 4am driving. There are conversations that need to be had. Phone calls to make. Bills to pay. And I have to work – multiple jobs. And I’m a single mom. The cycle doesn’t end. The needs are great. But I have to be intentional about choosing what’s greater over what’s good. There are always good things we can be doing. Most of what we do as women are “good things”. But what are the GREAT things that God is calling you to. Where do you need to make space for Him?
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed in my spirit and it’s a call for me to stop and spend time with the only one who can fill me and fuel the deepest parts of me. The one who reminds me what’s important and necessary. The one who reminds me that my value is not in my “getting stuff done”. He is perfectly capable of running the universe. His voice is the only one who can silence the “doer” voice in me. And allow me to just BE in His presence.
“Don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow has enough worries for itself. Matthew 6:34”
What seasons are you trying to rush through? Where can you stop striving and just allow God to whisper to you “I’ve got this – you only need to rest”.
Do you hear the Lord asking you to press into Him to equip you for what’s coming next rather than take on one more thing that will consume your time? To be prepared.
Do you need healing from divorce or breakup so that you don’t jump into one more relationship with old wounds and repeat the same negative cycles?
Are you grieving a loss?
Are you pouring into everyone else but ignoring your own self care?
Are you saying yes to everything and everyone so as not to disappoint but in the process disappointing yourself yet again for not having boundaries? Or sticking to them?
Are you pushing past sickness rather than resting because you “don’t have time” to be sick. (Ding ding ding) Yet the constant rush is what brings you to this place to begin with?
Are you in a season that you feel is unimportant or unproductive and you want to move past it because you feel like its “not enough”?
Or insert your own season….
God is present in every one of these scenarios! Waiting for you. Wanting to reveal Himself to you. I have found myself in most of these. And when I look back I can see the trail that God has left to get me to this very moment in time. He used, and is STILL using the smallest details. The most insignificant days. And the hardest disappointments.. Those disappointments can be turned into His “divine appointments” – if we let them.
He will use every piece, every season, for His purpose. Your purpose! Don’t miss it! Don’t try and push past it. He is writing your story right now – today. There is nothing wasted, nothing lost. No rush!
The lord replied, “my presence will go with you , and I will give you rest.
“BE still and know that I am God”
The Lord is my shepherd
I lack NOTHING
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he refreshes my soul
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake
Even though I walk through the darkest valley
I will fear no evil, for you are with me
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me
You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows
Surely, your goodness and love will follow me
All the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever