My husband and daughters are off for a day on the lake with a family friend who owns a boat. After packing capri-suns, snacks and sunscreen I gave them a kiss and sat down to talk with God for a few minutes.
Sometimes there are seasons in your life when it feels harder to pray…when the words and heartfelt communication don’t seem to flow as easily. You know, those times when you feel like you are talking to the wall instead of the Creator! Largely due to the Pastor of the church I attended for many years, I learned that feelings don’t have to control us. So, even though I don’t feel “warm and fuzzy” this morning as I pray…even though sometimes it feels downright hard!…I move on with it. I can’t let my feelings cheat me from staying in real relationship with my Father.
I write this somewhat random post today because in the end, even though I didn’t feel like my praying was touching the Heavens, I could sense God speaking His truth to my heart. See, with a husband, two small children, a baby on the way and leading a ministry at my church I think I have drifted into feeling the “weight” of those callings to such a point I find myself striving. And if there is one thing I have learned over the past couple of years, striving brings a whole bunch of junk into your life. Striving eventually makes things “all about me.” When I find myself striving (basically meaning going about things in my own strength), it doesn’t take long to become obvious (at least to me and Jesus). You know what striving does? It sits on your shoulder and whispers in your ear “you can’t do all of this…you certainly can’t do it well…why would you even think you should?” I don’t intend to strive as a spouse, a mother or a leader. It happens quite subtly…but in the end an “earning” mentality will wear you out.
I am not worn out. I am tired sometimes but I am 6 months pregnant so that is normal! What I realize, however, is that it won’t take but so much striving before I feel defeated. I write this afternoon because I refuse to fall into that trap again. Towards the end of my “talk” with God, I thought about what He spoke to my heart months ago as I sat in carpool line waiting to pick up Rivers from school. It was around the time I was transitioning into a leadership role at my church (something I would never, ever in a million years have thought I would ever do). I remember looking out of my window into the blue sky and asking God why in the world He was choosing me to do this? And His answer was as clear as a bell to my heart: Because you choose Me.
Do you know what that means for me today? It means freedom. It means peace. It means a weight lifted off my shoulders. God doesn’t call us as mothers, fathers, leaders, nurses, business men or women or anything else with the intention of watching us bear out the weight of the calling in our own strength. I can honestly say that I am a much better wife and mother when I get my mind off of my shortcomings and just focus on Jesus. And I know the only reason He called me, for this season of my life, to lead a ministry with many volunteers, families and children is because I became broken enough in life to learn to choose Him. When I choose Jesus, it ceases to be about me and what I am capable of or not. When I choose Jesus, it is simply me living my life in response to His Spirit and His Word. It really has nothing to do with me personally as far as my qualifications, my past, my talents. He isn’t calling us to magnify ourselves. He is just looking for someone who will choose Him in the calling He lays out for their life.
The truth is lately I have struggled against choosing to strive and choosing to rest in Him. I know without a doubt what my “default” is like… Insecure and people pleasing. I also know that I am in the process of growing and becoming the person God made me to be. I know that as He moves me from one season to the next, there will be new challenges and much to learn. I know each new season will bring out in me things that might be hard to face but He does it on purpose. If we won’t ever grow willing to look at the “yucky stuff” in our lives, character and hearts, then how can God help us overcome those things and change?
I hear the echo of that chilly winter day in my heart this morning. I sense a bit of a release and peace. Our God is asking only one thing really as we live, whatever our calling in life…Choose Me.