I have spent my life striving to please others, wearing myself out in the process. I find it’s easier to serve others than to take the time to understand myself and be still before God, waiting and listening for what He wants me to do. I will find things to do, and convince myself they need to be done, before I will take the time to care for myself. I do this because I am fearful, fearful that God will not meet me, not speak to me – or that maybe He will speak to me and reveal a word, or a path I would rather not travel.
This year my small group has been reading a book called The Cure, and I resonated with the man in the book who similarly spent much of his life trying to please God. In the book, the man becomes so disillusioned and filled with pain, he decides to leave the path of pleasing God, and instead chooses the path of trusting God, which leads him to the room of Grace. In the room of Grace, he discovers that God loves him as he is. God has formed him exactly the way He wanted, to be there at that exact time, at that exact place, with his exact personality traits.
When I hear these words, they ring true to my soul. This is what I long for. Not striving, just being. My word for the year is grace. Not only grace for others, but also grace for myself. If I can believe and trust that God has created me uniquely and wonderfully, to do my own unique work, and to trust in His timing, that seems too good to be true. But it is His truth. And I need to humbly trust in that truth.
In The Cure, when the man chooses to believe he is loved, complete and righteous already in the eyes of God, his efforts turn from sinning less, to loving more. As he loves more, God heals his wounds, matures him, and releases him to his destiny – a destiny to be revealed in God’s timing.
In my life, God has brought me to a crossroads so that I might choose to trust in how He has created me. Not to be like any other, only to be me – a good enough wife, an imperfect mother, a forgetful friend, and unbelieving believer. Choosing to embrace my identity, and stopping to listen to God’s truth will continue my healing, maturing me so that I can be released to love others. In loving others, I will bring His grace to those who are broken, helping them to heal, and to reveal His glory.
Some of the ways in which I am choosing to live in my identity now, is to put down my phone and be present to the people around me. Choosing to enjoy my children in their noisy imperfect chaos, allows me to not miss fleeting moments of sweet connection. When I find myself complaining or ungrateful, I try to remember all the good blessings I have in my life. Instead of being frustrated in traffic, I try to remember to be grateful that I have a car with gas in it, that can drive on good roads.
I am also learning to say no. My first impulse is to always say yes when asked to do something. I am now trying to be more reflective about what it is I want to do, saying yes out of a true yes, rather than a sense of obligation. Taking care of myself will allow me to better love those around me.
I’ve spent a long time discouraged about my brokenness — working and working on understanding and healing myself, waiting to be released into my calling. But I’m coming to understand that I will always be broken, but my wounds will identify me less and less each day. In my brokenness, I am already made righteous. I need to walk forward in that truth, living fully in what is already in front of me, and waiting with hope for the future.