If you have happened to cross my path in the last ten years you might have seen a whirling tornado of lists and calendars and book studies swoop by you. For the past decade I have immersed myself in busyness; being involved help me feel in control and together.
The more involved I was in activities on campus, at work or in the church the more I felt in control of my moment by moment. If I planned out every second there were no surprises and I kind of like it that way.
My involvement in just about everything not only gave me control of my moment by moment but it also gave me significance.
“Doing” has become a god for me and little by little I have found myself finding my ultimate significance in my successes and failures.
Just to give you a small picture of what this tornado of lists and calendars and books studies looks like- here are a few of the things I said yes to last year.
My three sons aged 3, 2 and 1
Women’s bible study
A mentoring opportunity with an older woman
Leading a discipleship group of 15 faithful and godly young women
One on one discipleship with a sweet friend
Teaching Sunday School to preschoolers
Classroom Coordinator at Preschool
Women’s Retreat Planning Leadership Team
Trained for a half marathon
Started a blog
Okay, seriously, right? I know it looks crazy but once you sit down and write all the things down that you commit yourself to in a year it can look overwhelming.
I know you probably do just as much as I do.
Well, I have a distorted view of myself and my gospel. I have made my involvement big and my God small. My pendulum swings too hard when I rise and fall.
I want to be steady when the waves come and still be steady even if the waves don’t come at all.
This year I am saying no to all of it- obviously with the exception of the first three: My God, my marriage and my sons.
This was so hard especially when there was a ministry fair at our church and I could see myself walking down to the rows of tables and writing my name on every sign up sheet.
Or when I am not really sure if there will be someone to step in and lead this group of fifteen faithful young women and I love them and want them to continue to grow in the knowledge of God.
It is tempting for me to get involved. To be in control. To have my hands holding up the world instead of letting go and trusting that it is God who holds up the world.
So I am saying no.
So I am going to stop doing.
I am going to make myself small so God can be big.
It seems both insane and lazy to me but I really think believing the gospel for me this year requires me to let go of everything and trust in the One Who is before all things and in Whom (not in Rachel) all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16)
Saying no will be a step of faith- to trust that I don’t keep my world from spinning around and I am not in control of my moment by moment.
Saying no will help me see that I do not begin and end any ministry. It is only the Alpha and Omega Who is the beginning and the end.
This year I hope saying no will allow me to say yes.
Yes to my big God who is pleased with me when my name isn’t on any sign up sheets.
Yes to my husband who is most likely tired of receiving leftovers from me because I am giving my best to everyone else and yes to more date nights.
Yes to my sons. Less putting them to bed early so I can lead a bible study or dragging them to nursery care so I can be involved in women’s bible study. Yes to their spiritual health and family devotional times around our kitchen table. Yes to discipline that is consistent and loving instead of exhausted and impatient.
Yes to my daughter arriving in December and yes to enjoying my last round of late nights feeding her and caring for her.
Yes to being available to be a better friend.
This year I feel a call to be still. (Psalm 46:10)
I am making myself small and trying to break the cistern.
I can already hear a loud exhale as I stop trying to hold up my world. Stopping everything is leading me to see Christ more clearly and giving me freedom to say yes to the most important things God has given to me.
My sweet family
You can pray for me as I take on this “year of just saying no.” Sneaky and tempting opportunities to get involved will be coming my way like wolves in sheep’s clothing.
He holds up the world- not us.