God has been teaching me a lesson.
A lesson in identity.
See, I was raised in the Christian faith. It's all I know. I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember. However, sometimes when that's your story, and you lack the big "Come to Jesus" moment, it can feel a little dull. You don't remember a time Jesus wasn't a part of your life, so you don't have the "old you" to compare to.
As a result, I somehow fell into the trap. This lie, Satan has been whispering in my ear.
"You may be saved, but you better prove it." I know in my head there is absolutely nothing I can ever to do to earn salvation. I am saved through grace alone, and not by works, thus no man can boast. I know this. I believe this. Yet, I also believed the lie. The lie that I still had to earn it. To prove that I deserve to be saved.
Now, I have always been a busy person. I have always wanted to be involved. I'm a people pleaser and I hate letting anyone down. My life motto is, "To be a blessing." (Which fits right in with my desire to serve)
Over time, I've found myself involved in anything and everything. If someone asks for my help, by golly, I will bend over backward and throw myself off a bridge if I need to. Often times, it has come at the expense of my husband being stuck putting the kids to bed, again; or my own sanity as I try to balance every spinning plate on top of a handful of sticks.
Well, several weeks ago, God was trying to get my attention regarding this. I kept hearing, "Its okay to say No." "Your identity is in Me alone." "You don't have to do it all." "Find your niche, so you can be the best you." Then a facebook friend shared a quote, "Busyness is artificial significance." To say this was a slap in the face would be putting it lightly. I spent so much time trying to be everything everyone else needed me to be, just so I would feel useful, needed, important. And most of all, worthy. But God was trying to tell me something, "I love you. Nope, you don't deserve it. So stop trying. Accept it, and move on." I was finding my identity and purpose in what I did. How I was able to help everyone else. Not in who I was in spite of everything else. Who I was to the only one that matters.
So, as I struggled with this reality for while, I was taking a step back when a request was made of me. Pausing to think, determine my reasons for saying yes, and then deciding. All the while, still telling myself it was okay to say no. I thought I learned the lesson. I checked the box. I passed the test. I was moving on.
However, it was several weeks later I found out this lesson had a part 2.
I was reading a book by Steve Perry when a concept jumped out at me, the idolatry of usefulness. It never crossed my mind that my servant's heart could actually become an idol for me. Perry writes, "While God created us to have purposeful lives, He never intended for us to find our worth and meaning through our purposefulness. He wants us to find our meaning in God Himself." All this time I was staying busy, volunteering, and trying to serve in the name of Christ. In my mission to be a blessing. However, I let it overtake me. I let it dictate my worth and thus determine my value; at least in my eyes.
These revelations, along with encouragement from my husband, has inspired me to take A Year of No.
I’m stepping back, and not adding anything new to my plate.
No new projects.
No new events.
No new responsibilities.
I can’t say this is going to be the pivot point to the rest of my life. Or that I will look back years from now and say, “That is when my life changed.” It may simply be a year to step back and learn to rest. Regardless, of where it takes me, I’ll try to keep you posted. Stay tuned for part 2.