That One Thing I Have to Keep Telling Myself…

Sometimes, the weight of the world feels like it is weighing down on your shoulders. Sometimes, no matter what you do, it never feels like enough.

This past week was one of those “sometimes”.  My heart was heavy with the expectations I had heaped upon myself. I was weighed down with the expectations I had instilled into my vision for my life.

As I am sure you all know, our lives do not always turn out the way we expected. No matter who you are, or where you are at in life, I am sure that your life looks different than you had envisioned it.

That’s the funny thing about life, I guess. We can plan until we have mapped out every possible route for our lives. We can set goals and do everything in our power to achieve them. But at the end of the day we are not in control, He is. And so, no matter what we do we can never be sure that our plans will pan out.

The only thing we really can be sure of is uncertainty, and that in the uncertainty God is there.

I can’t help but laugh. I have written this out, in some version or another, countless times. But inevitably, I still struggle with accepting that I am not the one in control. I still beat myself up when my life is not playing out the way I had seen it in my head.

I fear at times that my life will be for nothing. I place so much pressure on myself to do -this, do-that.  I had never anticipated so many health issues at such a young age. Clearly, illness does not fit into the vision I had for my life

We all have something that we could say doesn’t fit into the vision we had.

We grieve the loss that we have had in our plans.

Sometimes I think that because my life is not the way I thought it would be, that I am not fulfilling God’s plans. I feel like I am not doing what I should be. I stress and I worry that I am ruining everything. I place pressure on myself to just be healthy, to just push through, to just get over it.

… because if I am sick, how could God ever use me?

This morning as I finished reading the bible, I began praying. In the middle of a typical, albeit, somewhat automated prayer, my soul ached deeply. I cried out to God asking him to not let my life be for nothing.

In my heart I felt a quiet whisper that said, “ The only way your life is truly for something is if you are using to glorify God”.  What else truly matters?

It doesn’t matter what I am doing for work. It doesn’t matter that some days I do nothing but sleep. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, because whatever I am doing is good if I use it to glorify God.

Even when I am sick; even when I can’t work; even when my life doesn’t look exactly the way I had thought, I can still glorify God. And if that is what I do with my life, then regardless of circumstances, it is a life well-lived and worthwhile.

When we surrender our plans and our circumstances to God, when we let Him in, then we don’t have to worry because he has a beautiful plan for our lives. The act of surrender in itself is an act that glorifies God. When we rest in his plan he works more than we could ever know. When we let God in, we don’t have to worry, stress, or strive because he has a beautiful plan for our lives.  A plan that is far more beautiful than the one we had in our heads.

When we go through tough times; when our lives don’t look how we thought they would, we can still trust God is on our side and he is in the process of refining us for his glory. It is not about we can do, but about what he can do.

While it may seem hard to relinquish control of our lives, I would say, that in the grand scheme of things it is a much easier (and less stressful) task than trying to control the whole universe.

While Christ has given us many gifts, one of the main ones is freedom. That includes freedom from striving. We do not have to strive in this life. We do not have to live with that pressure. That is not our burden to carry around. We do not have to work for his love, we already have it.

Nothing we could ever do would be enough. And for me, that is so freeing. My value is not found in my health, or in my work, or in my productivity. I do not have to conform to this worlds ideas of success or worthiness.

I don’t have to do anything. But I do have the privilege of singing of His goodness and sharing what He has done for me. And what he has done for me is given me abounding grace and true freedom within His love.

When I am sick and in bed, I can still glorify God. It might not be the way I had thought, but that doesn’t matter. I am the only one judging myself so harshly for my own limitations.

And that, my friends, is a huge burden off of my shoulders.

I don’t have to have the most fabulous life in order to glorify God. I can do it with this messy, imperfect, and chaotic life I have right now.

Wherever you are right now, I want you to let yourself breathe a bit. Take that pressure of striving off of yourself. Let go of your unmet expectations and surrender them to God.

~S~

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