I’ve been thinking a lot about moving more slowly. How I run through my days. How I’ve been running through my kids’ childhoods. (In nine years, they won’t be living with me anymore. Nine years…) How Jesus lovingly calls us to give Him our burdens and in exchange He will give us rest. To quote an author friend of mine, Keri Kent, Jesus never said to us, “Get over here! I have a lot for you to do!” I laughed loudly when I heard her say that. Maybe because it resonated so deeply. Maybe because deep down I’ve actually thought that. A good Christian woman serves God. That’s what we’re supposed to do. Sure. But are we supposed to run ourselves into the ground? Do I want my children, my daughter especially, equating ministry with exhaustion and meetings and tasks that don’t really fit?
I had the privilege of going away on a personal retreat for two days right after the new year started. I love doing that annually to look back over the past year…you know, take stock. I spent the first day reading my journals from the past fifteen months. If you’re not a journal writer or even only a sporadic one, no big deal, right? But if you’re like me, a fairly faithful everyday journal keeper, well, then that’s another story. It took me nine hours to read them (and I knew how everything was going to turn out!). And when I was finished, I had a headache and I was depressed. And why was that? Because a few themes bubbled to the surface in that marathon reflection. One, the number of times that I complained about something in my life gave me pause…okay, to be more honest, I was ashamed; because I am really, really blessed. And two, the number of times I said something like, “I’m low energy this morning” or “wish I could stay here on the couch in my jammies today…that’s not gonna happen for another week or so” were innumerable. And it made me sad. It made me sad to think that I’d filled this past year of my life with activities, many of them apparently that I don’t enjoy, that I don’t find fulfilling, that just don’t fit me or my introverted personality or my season of life. I’ve been running. But for what? And for who?
If I think I’m doing all of this to please God, well, I think I’ve got another thing coming. Because to be truthful, I don’t know the last time really that I handed God my day or my agenda and just asked Him what He wanted me to be doing. I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for years now and I think it’s starting to hit me that what I’m doing and who I’m wanting to be just aren’t the same things anymore.
So I’m working through some questions with God, because I want His input this time around. Should I keep on doing and doing and doing, or can I stop? Is that allowed? Is that doable? And if I just stopped for awhile, even a long while, what would that mean, what would that look like, and dare I ask what’s really deep down – what would other people and God think of me? Who just stops? Who isn’t busy? No one I know. But I’m letting myself realize and remember that God called me to an abundant, free, joyful life, not a packed-out, constricting, complain-y, busy one full of activities that I just endure and that more than I’d like to admit actually make me cringe. And, and this is the best part…bottomline, my Heavenly Father’s going to love me no matter what. Even if I stop.
Anything you and God need to take stock of? Wondering if God will still love you if you don’t fill-in-the-blank anymore? Think again.
Thank you Elisabeth! This is so important. I recently realized that loving and exhorting people to the best of my ability is why I’m here. I need not “perform” any other duties to please God. And I love my job 🙂