If I were your enemy, I’d make everything seem urgent, as if it’s all yours to handle. I’d bog down your calendar with so many expectations you couldn’t tell the difference between what’s important and what’s not. Going and doing, guilty for ever saying no, trying to control it all, but just being controlled by it all instead … If I could keep you busy enough, you’d be too overwhelmed to even realize how much work you’re actually saving me.
I’m just gonna say it: I tend to be a people pleaser when it comes to doing the things and the tasks.
I hate confrontation and conflict; so if I can avoid a run in with someone over something, then I generally try to do whatever it takes to do so. I work from home. I take my kid to school. I manage a home and meals and errands and bill paying and that daunting task of showering every day. I get 100+ emails per day that need answering and I get more nasty emails from people who, unfortunately, can’t wrap their mind around the fact that I am one person, in a given week than I would prefer.
And that’s a lot of pressure to walk around carrying day after day…which is probably why my neck and shoulders always hurt. We ladies carry a burden. We hurt for those who hurt; we feel emotions deeper than most anyone. We simultaneously feel like we have to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and live up to unrealistic expectations with every passing day.
See…this section identified with me. The Israelites and I? We have some things in common, and if you were honest, you probably have some things in common with them too. I don’t like to stop doing the things. It has been a very intentional goal of mine this year to stop working on the weekends. It isn’t that anyone expects me to work all weekend long. In fact, Lauren always seems the most elated when I don’t work on the weekends and instead opt to be with my family. But for me? Not working? Not doing something all the time? That’s hard.
I have never thought of myself as being a slave to my schedule but I totally am. If I’m not doing something, I feel lazy. If I’m not working toward something, I feel like I’m lacking. If I’m not pushing to get just one more thing done, I feel like I’m a failure. When at the end of the day, what I am is: tired, stretched thin. exhausted, worn out, spiritually dehydrated, and emotionally spent.
We were never, ever meant to do everything, all the time. Unfortunately, in our social media driven society, we are constantly under a self-placed microscope to live up to the expectations of the world around us. We see the highlight reel of everyone else’s life and think we are missing the mark…that we aren’t living up…that we are failing at reaching expectations.
Truth of the matter is, we are the only ones expecting to much of ourselves.
Wonder what kind of shock wave would reverberate through enemy headquarters if a woman decided to take her stand on that kind of battle plan? What if you found the voice to utter that dirty little word – “no” – without shouldering the least bit of guilt or shame from it? Sure, we’re called to serve, and serving often requires sacrifice. Not everything we’re tasked with doing should be expected to fit conveniently in our day. But a free woman possesses the God-given ability to know when He is truly asking her to do something-as well as the God-given ability to know when He’s not (138).
Oh, sweet virtual friends.
This speaks volumes to my soul. I have a Beth Moore devotional CD in my car (yes, I still have CD’s and don’t fully rely on my iPhone for music, etc.) that I listen to pretty frequently. One of my favorite sessions of hers, she says something to the effect of The enemy doesn’t have to make you Satanic to render you useless. All he has to do is make you busy. How true is that? See, busyness and to-do lists and schedules are all fine, well and good.
Yet, we tend to let them become our soul existence. Ironically enough, at this very moment while I’m typing this, my sweet husband just text me and said he was afraid he was about to overwhelm himself with all that is on his schedule. See, we live in a go, go, go world and if we aren’t careful, we crash and burn. You see not every good thing is a God thing (src) and not every good thing is YOUR thing.
Satan’s ploy is to make you believe your core value as a person is tied to how much work you do, how much activity you can accomplish, bow much stuff you can accumulate, how much business you can generate. In order to possess any worth under this system-just like Israel under Pharaoah- you’ve got to be able to rattle off everything you’ve been doing, one by one, adding it all up into a big gob of bullet points and checklists that ought to impress any body. BUT WHY (139)?
Friends…my dear husband…my best friend who tends to over-extend herself just like I do…self…
The sooner we learn to focus on that and understand that, the better off we will be. The lighter our load will become. The less stressed out we will begin to feel. God placed the Sabbath (Sunday) at the end of one week and the beginning of another for a reason. He was for real about being intentional in our rest. Finding solitude and comfort and peace that only he could bring. If we don’t learn to sit down and find solace, we will burn out. And burning out opens the doors for a whole lot of problems.
Find peace. Find rest. Sit still. BE still.
There, and only there, away from the pages of your planner, the check list on your desk or your phone, and the post-it note reminders you stick all over your house, will you find the peace that comes from a life without unnecessary pressure to be something more than who you are.
You are you. Fabulous, genuine, one-of-a-kind you. And it shouldn’t take two of you to accomplish the work you’ve been given.
Everything else can wait.