I am a knot at the moment.
I have this thing I want to say and it was so clear lying in my bed and now, sitting here at this keyboard…I’ve gone blank.
I know what it’s about, but how to say the words, to craft them into something that will, perhaps, free you, and me from the chains that so easily entangle.
I have reached the pinnacle of the Christian good-girl club. I was a pastor’s wife. (I guess I still am, he doesn’t stop being a pastor just because he isn’t in a paid position.) I did it pretty well, playing piano and singing, teaching Sunday school, leading a ministry, bringing food to potlucks and helping in the kitchen.
I have grown up in a tradition of hard-working, production-oriented people. Who, incidentally, make REALLY good food! I have even been called a work-horse…to my face!! I think it was meant as a compliment but the jury is still out on that one.
God has blessed me with a set of gifts and talents that make me a great leader and administrator. If you want something done, I’m your girl and I will do it with excellence and beauty.
Recently I read an article that really struck a nerve with me, and I can’t find it again (thank you FB for hiding things where I can’t re-locate them). It had a theme that has been rattling around in my spirit for the last month and it stated things so well.
The gist of the article was that we tend to teach our kids (and ourselves, cause we had to learn it before we taught it) that church is about performance and legalism. Don’t do this, don’t do that, pull up your pants, be modest, don’t have sex, serve, do devotions. And all the while we are sitting there and judging and criticizing when they don’t measure up to our high expectations. We aren’t teaching them the right thing, the article said.
Do I get it right?
I am crushed under the same heavy load of expectation. Hence the burn out I am currently experiencing.
I should worship like this.
I should serve like that.
I must seek Him like this.
I should produce something amazing.
AND I did all that for so long. But here I am and God doesn’t seem to be demanding anything of me in these quiet hours that I have (yes, there are finally some happening!!)
He isn’t demanding that I worship Him a certain way, read X number of chapters a day, spend this many hours of time in prayer and worship.
He hasn’t asked me to do any of that and I am finally laying that down and it comes back to a young man named Caleb.
Let me introduce you to Caleb.
He passed away about eight years ago. He was the same age as my oldest son. His parents are good friends of ours.
Caleb was in a wheelchair, trapped by cerebral palsy, unable to communicate, produce, perform or meet anyone’s expectations of anything. And yet we all loved him.
His care was difficult and a burden to his family. He couldn’t give anything back. And yet we all loved him.
This is what God has been whispering into my heart.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING TO MAKE ME LOVE YOU MORE OR AT ALL!
This crazy grace of God that just pours out on us whether we can produce or not. Whether we contribute or not.
I could do nothing for the rest of my days and it wouldn’t make him love me more or less.
BUT, that isn’t how I treat my kids, or my friends or those I’ve been in ministry with. NO! I expect them to live up to expectations. I judge and criticize when they get things wrong or when choices that I don’t agree with happen.
Seriously. Who do I think I am?
So, I am trying to do my best to walk away from other people’s expectations of me. I’m trying to evade questions where people ask me anything that smacks of production demands.
I’m feeling a little rebellious.
And I’m hoping that I will lay off the expectations that I’m putting out there.
Remember that article I mentioned earlier? The crux of that article is that we need to teach our kids (and learn the lesson ourselves) that we can’t possibly do anything on our own. We need Jesus.
We need Jesus to serve Him.
We need Jesus to capture our heart so that we dress in such a way that pleases Him only.
We need Jesus to infiltrate our spirit with an intimacy that is so sweet and pure and lovely that we wouldn’t think of offering that to anyone else until he gives the okay.
We need Jesus to motivate us to fabulous endeavors of crazy creativity and worship and extravagant loving.
We need Jesus to move us past our fears and lies and the ugly wallpaper in our mind to newness and boldness and fresh, free living.
Bottom line; you don’t need my expectations of you and I don’t need yours for me.
We Need Jesus.
And He already loves you.