One day a week with no meetings.
This was my gift to myself in my long season of hard work that I made even harder by not taking a discerning look at what I put on my calendar.
Notice I did not say, “one day a week with no work.”
Why? Because I didn’t really know how to live life without work. I’m not talking about paid work, for the most part. I’m talking ministry-for-free work: blogging, discipling, teaching bible study, etc.
The other day while washing dishes I realized how during #OperationRest, I had flipped. Instead of one day with no meetings, I’ve gone to one day for meetings. My deeply introverted self sighs with relief. It’s like I can see how living out of the overflow could possibly be feasible way of living.
I realized a few weeks ago how much I used work to relate to God. When most of what you do is dependent on knowing God and knowing the bible, there always seems to be a reason to enter into His presence. But what happens when you don’t have an outside reason…other than yourself? What do you do when there isn’t a class to teach? When it’s not your week to blog? When there isn’t a retreat coming up or another chapter in the book to write?
Many people probably don’t have this problem. They go to God just to meet with God. I went to God because I knew I couldn’t work for God without God. But when much of my “work” left the picture, I felt a little awkward. I didn’t know how to start the conversation. I just kind of sat there, waiting.
And then, on top of this, I have a mentor and some great friends telling me this is a season where God is teaching me, really hammering home the point I have yet to really fully integrate into my soul, that I am worthy because I am. Because I am God’s creation. That I don’t have to work for God. I am relieved of my duty to try to appease Him and please Him by all this “work” I’ve thought He called me to do for Him.
In reality, in hindsight, my work for Him had roots born not from His voice, but my own. Growing up, I was a problem-solver. I was a planner. I was a go-between. I put on this role early and never took it off. And until I reached the end of myself last December, it was easier to keep it on than to feel this awkwardness with Jesus.
Who knew that sitting on my couch just feeling His love could feel so weird? Kinda like a first date. Some days I sit for a few minutes and I imagine the face of God I had seen for so long. And then it’s like He has turned His head and I’m seeing this whole other side of Him. And I just want to say, Who are You again?
I’ve noticed two things:
1. I’ve preached a lot about God, the truth of who He is, of who He says we are. But these same words I’ve whole-heartedly believed for my audience have been slow to sink into my soul. I’ve read the whole Bible, but the times I have let the words of His love really sink into my soul have been few and far between. It’s easier to let words of “calling” and “working” and “living righteously” to take root rather than “being loved.” Could God love me just if I was a big blob? It’s hard to fathom, though I know the correct answer would be “yes.” But until I can say I believe for me the answer is “yes,” I’m sitting in the awkwardness and giving Him time and space to tell me it is so. No more glossing over these passages in the bible and in my devotionals. When I believe I think my life will naturally start to reflect this belief. Less striving, more sitting. Praise God, this is already happening!
2. The more I spend time with Jesus, the less I desire clutter. I’m not talking physical clutter, but the mental stuff. I am so used to picking up my phone during those 5 minutes downtime periods to play a game or check Facebook. In the spirit of Lent, I’m stripping that from my routine. Sure, I’ll check Facebook on my computer and play my games, but only a certain times, not just when I have a moment of boredom. I think the less I’m plugged into my phone, the more opportunities I have to be plugged in with God…just because. I’m thinking this will ease some of the awkwardness. I cannot wait to see what He will show me in the mundane.
SDG Connections this week:
It would be a great honor if you would stop by on Wednesdays and Fridays to read these stories submitted by women across the world who are reaching out with their brokenness so to help another sister along, to help her find courage in the face of fear, encouragement in the face of unknown, and hope in the face of despair. It is in this communicating with each other that we continue to build the community God has graciously granted us at the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.
ALSO, we are in need of more SDG Connections stories! Please click over here for more details.
On Wednesday, Lanette reveals more of her story of moving from the shame of abortion into receiving God’s grace.
On Friday, a sister who needs to remain publicly anonymous writes about how the most unlikely of TV stars (Howard Stern!) actually changed her husband’s mind about seeking out pornography.
SDG Gathering Important Information
Lisa Smith and Jen Ferguson facilitate our #SDGGatherings each week. Lisa visits those of you who link up on “even” numbers and Jen visits the “odd.” We do have some important housekeeping items about this gathering, so if you have not read them, please come here to catch up. The condensed version: Link up ONE post that shares your heart authentically and be sure to check in with some of your sisters who have linked up with you. Leave a heartfelt word of encouragement for them after you visit their space. This is a community where we actively seek to get to know each other.