Tired of Striving?

Learn to Be Still
“Stop doing things for God, and spend more time Being in His presence.” Loretta Chalfant

Are you performance-driven?

That’s how I lived. Always striving to be productive. The more things I scratched off my list at the end of the day, the BETTER, I felt.

Who am I kidding? I’m still that way. The problem is, there’s always another list.

A friend of mine told me, “Christian women are horrible when it comes to knowing how to Rest.”

Could it be Christian women spend too much time striving to be a “good Christian” rather than rest in who we are in Christ?

Because I’m wired to be performance-driven, I originally took that mindset into my Christian walk. I felt the more I did for God, the more He’d love me. Isn’t that how it works in life with people?

My love language is acts of service so loving God meant I had to serve Him on top of trying to be the perfect wife and supermom. You’ve heard of the Proverbs 31 woman, right?

So over the years, this “good Christian” worked in the church nursery. Taught children’s Sunday School.  Made meals for sick people. Attended Women’s Bible Study. Showed up whenever there was a women’s event. For a time, home schooled my kids. Volunteered in their school classrooms. Drove on every field trip.

Oh, don’t forget reaching out to the neighbors. We have to evangelize. And Christians must be Light and Salt in the community: Help the homeless, the poor, the people in jail.

Yada yada….DID I FORGET SOMETHING?

IMG_5693

Bottom line: I was like a worn out, limp dishrag, trying so hard to earn God’s love and approval. Never certain I hit the mark. Never satisfied with my performance. 

Please, say I’m not the only one.

That’s when the Lord brought a spiritual mentor into my life. Loretta listened to me during Bible Study, and recognized the taskmaster within me.

“Stop Doing things for God,” she said, “and spend more time Being in His Presence.”

Sheer exhaustion made me stop. That, and the desire to experience more of God.

I made an honest appraisal of everything I thought I had to earn, or experience, to be satisfied. I asked myself:

  • Why am I doing these things?
  • If I do more for God, will He love me more?

Old habits are hard to break, but I learned from experience that intimacy with God doesn’t happen because I have lots of Biblical knowledge or serve others.

Intimacy comes from knowing God. And that happens when we make the time to be still in God’s presence…meditating on His Word, listening for His voice. Seeking His face, not His blessings.

Only then, can our hearts rest and be satisfied even in this….hectic world.

Bench photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Foster

So This is Love?

Flu : A fellow sits on a bed with a very high temperature. Vectorial illustration.My smile was short-lived last week.

Flu invaded my body. Out of nowhere, brutal, microscopic creatures brought me to my knees, had me cry, “Uncle!”

Three days disappeared while I slept, smothered beneath blankets. Trust me. I did NOT look like Sleeping Beauty and nobody dared wake me with a kiss.

By the fifth day, the novelty of being sick was over.  I longed to enter the sunny world outside my bedroom window, but Flu turned into Bronchitis. Life was in a holding pattern while I waited for good health.

But nothing’s wasted.

While I lay comatose watching a steady dose of classic TV Land reruns, there was a jewelry commercial that told men: “Show your love by giving her a diamond.”

I shook my feverish head.

What does a diamond have to do with LOVE?

Does a bigger diamond mean I love you MORE?

Ridiculous!

After thirty three years of marriage, I know how Husband shows love and it doesn’t come in a jewelry box.

Love is action.

Husband shows love when flu makes me look like Road Kill, and yet he brings me a cup of tea, and runs a hot bath to soak my achy body.

Husband shows love when I’m coughing up phlegm and he asks me what I need from the store even though he just worked all day.

Husband shows love when I’m worried about my family and household duties, but he says, “Rest, everything is under control.”

Husband shows love when he gives me 18 pink roses even though I can’t smell them, and I know he’s tired of being Mr. Mom.

Love is revealed in a hundred small acts of service, in sickness and health, multiplied through the years.

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained” C. S. Lewis    

“Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,

It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinth 13:4-8)

 

Funny, that a jewelry commercial should spark my ire.

But last week, I was shown love, and it did NOT look like a diamond.