The overwhelming needs of other people can cause us to just live on auto-pilot where the highlight of our day is checking every one else’s needs off of our list.
Because that is what successful people do.
They git ‘er done.
But that is not and has never been the picture of life that God has had for us.
Paul said it this way:
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that what you do is important, whether it’s a career, or it’s a title like mom, or maybe you have this burning desire to do something great – it’s your destiny, your calling.
These are so critical.
But only if you are free to be you – no strings attached.
Even in the best of situations, positions and titles can easily become something they were never meant to be.
Things like our “vision” and our “purpose”, our “calling” and our “destiny” can easily slip in and replace the core of who we are.
And vision, purpose, calling, and destiny should always come secondary to our identity.
Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts.
You and I see it all the time.
We can find a false identity in our careers and feel completely lost when we no longer have the 9-5 grind due to an illness or a company downsizing.
Those crazy stay at home, homeschooling moms who no longer have any identity outside of what they do for their children and husbands. You know the ones, they spend hours either posting or trolling for new ideas on Pinterest.
It can even be as simple as identifying with a group or organization rather than seeing ourselves and others as human first.
And it’s a temptation, lets be honest.
We end up selling out our relationships with ourselves and others on the altar of our false identities.
For the overly responsible ones, relationships sour into a place of quiet resentment as they continue to quietly pick up the slack for those who were ambivalent or who failed to see their responsibility.
For others, life can become a place of broken and shallow relationships, as they never understood what it meant to be accountable to others and to willingly ask for feedback so that a true connection might occur.
Because when we reduce ourselves and others to merely “what need can be met”, then we have failed to understand what it is to be human.
We fail to understand that as God is, we are.
We just are.
He loves us just as we are.
Any changes He may ever ask of you are only out of three reasons:
- to benefit yourself
- to strengthen your relationship with someone in your life
- to deepen your connection with Him
The life He desires for us is so much more than the cheap quality of life that comes just from fulfilling a purpose or meeting a need.
Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts.
And so every once and awhile, God allows life to shake us up a bit.
Please understand me, God is not orchestrating horrible things so that he can get your attention. But like any good parent, he does step back sometimes to allow us to experience the consequence of our poor choices.
So that we can see how self-destructive our patterns have become.
Several years ago, my husband and I both lost our jobs and I was pregnant with our oldest son. We also had just bought our first home. We were rocked. We had no idea how we would make it. And we were both wondering why God had left us up creek without a paddle.
But you know what.
More than that.
We grew and thrived and learned the hard lessons that God was teaching us about ourselves.
And as brutal as that season was.
I don’t regret it.
Don’t misunderstand me, I wouldn’t be the first to raise my hand to do it again, but I definitely don’t regret it.
Our lives had become so efficient.
We were successful.
We had plenty of money.
We both worked hard.
But the truth is, that we weren’t really living.
We were just really efficient at getting things done.
But what kind of life is that.
And what had all of our efficiency reduced us to?
Human vending machines.
I can honestly say that I am more alive today than I was back then.
My house is messier, because I have shifted from focus from just having a clean house to teaching my kids how to pick up after themselves.
Our financial state is still considerably less than when I was also working (now, I’m one of those crazy stay-at-home, Pinterest-trolling, homeschool moms), but I wouldn’t trade the freedom of being able to be with my kids during the day as they are learning and growing. (just as long as I don’t lose my identity in it!)
It also gives me the freedom to hang at Starbucks and write. The other amazing gift that has come from having less disposable income is learning how to do things for myself. I just reupholstered my dining room chairs for $60 instead of shelling out $1000.00 for the drool worthy Pottery Barn version.
My Pinterest stalking habit paid off. I reupholstered our dining room chairs. This picture is before the nailhead trim was finished.
I have more peace. And that, my friends, is maybe worth more than anything else. I am not running around trying to meet everyone’s needs all the time anymore. I still slip up and fall back into old patterns but far more often I can just chill and let the unimportant things go.
I could keep going.
The list of all of the things we took out of that season is long.
But it can be summed up in this:
When we reduce ourselves and others to merely what need can be met, then we have failed to understand what it means to be human.
And it’s so easy to do, whether it’s in a career, a church position, a praying mama pulling for her kids, a public speaker, a role that we have put on ourselves, I mean really you can lose your identity in just about anything.
Because of the needs of other people.
And the false expectations we have of ourselves.
Whether they are real or perceived.
So today, I hope that you’ll give yourself some grace.
Grace to be patient in the learning process.
It will occur whether we want it to or not. Our choice is will we allow God to teach us something new about ourselves or not.
I hope that you’ll accept the gift of grace he’s giving.
It’s his grace to be human.