My identity, who I truly am, has been built upon the foundation of perfection, worth, achievement, reliability, excellence, ambition, and success. I’m an achiever by nature. I find my worth and identity in being seen by others and finding assurance in a job well done. Most people would label these characteristics as a well-rounded focused person. I deem them exhausting, time-consuming, and life-draining. The things that make you appreciable, unchecked, are the devices that will bring to your undoing.
I was the adolescent that parents didn’t have to micromanage, teachers had to give additional work, and youth group leaders would rely on. I would take on multiple tasks at a time in order to prove myself worthy, which is what drives me. I sought joy and recognition in being the person that everyone else compelled me to be, even if that meant saying no to something of important value: myself.
I am what you call a “yes-woman”. The one who says “yes” to every task known to man, who will be there despite being ill or overly tired. (I know some of you can relate.) I value and live on saying “yes.” However, some of my greatest yeses crumble to pieces, and I find myself in the midst of brokenness and frustration, not knowing how I surfaced there. Like so many others across the nations, I struggle with saying NO!
This month marks the end of my 6 months serving Hosea’s Heart in Swaziland, Africa which is a continued journey of one of my greatest yeses. Saying “yes” to picking up the cross that I bear daily and following Christ to the ends of the earth. I am learning that some of my prized yeses are only kept protected by the ever so daunting NO. Life isn’t about my never-ending to-do lists or my desire to check all the things off my checklist by the end of the day. It’s about connection, it’s about growth, it’s about being present right where you are, surrounded by people who you love and who need you to be the not-so-perfect, struggling-to-hit-the-mark you, who God created. It’s about being healthy mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.
Most importantly, for me anyways, it’s about walking through life reflecting the servanthood of Christ which subsequently comes after my relationship with God. Presently I find myself putting time with the Lord on the back burner stealing away small moments to be with papa. That has left me spiritually, relationally, and emotionally DRY, BURNT OUT and FRUSTRATED.
Defined by Nancy Leigh Demoss, frustration is “the by-product of attempting to fulfill responsibilities God does not intend for us to carry…” which directly correlates to my inability to say NO. However, saying NO means leaving someone disappointed. It means not being what others need you to be, or leaving an assignment half-done on Friday until work on Monday, or even missing an event to spend some time resting. Choosing yourself over others is difficult and it requires courage.
I am challenging myself and all of my readers to leave work at work, to be present right where you are in that moment with whosoever surrounds you. Whether it be family, a husband, children, friends, or coworkers take the time and be present, but also make sure that you are also taking time for yourself. Trust me, everyone will be thankful about it later. The world needs a healthy you!