It’s funny how crafty and cunning the enemy can be, and as the days go by, despite knowing this fact, we often forget.
I’m sharing this because I know how many of us – as daughters, as mothers, as wives, as friends, and simply as WOMEN tend to carry so much more on our shoulders than we’re ever meant to carry.
I found myself at a deep tissue massage this week with a therapist (who I’m pretty sure was an angel) – not because I needed a little “me” time or to “relax” but because I found myself with a pinching pain running from the base of my tailbone to the bottom of my heel.
Walking the dog was painful. Standing or putting on shoes was painful. Let’s be honest, thinking about doing even one more thing was painful.
But as women we also do this funny thing, where first we sulk with our pain, then we sink further into misery because we layer on the shame, feeling guilty for feeling sorry for ourselves because the earth is still turning faster than we can out-pace it.
And because, well, there are people out there with far bigger problems than a pinched nerve, residual surgery pain, (or whatever it is that’s causing pain or stressing you in your current season – real or perceived). So, we guilt ourselves.
We subconsciously start adding more weight to our shoulders with every breath we take. Anxiety plants its smallest of seeds and we go on feeding it. Growing it with every scroll on Instagram, every glance of the headlines, every time a friend or loved one disappoints us, or worse – we disappoint them.
The desire to fix, to patch, to mend, to do more, more, more takes over and one thought overtakes the next and life becomes a raging storm rather than a passing breeze.
Yet we’re suddenly the only ones experiencing the thunder.
We live in the shame of not doing more, being more, achieving more, having more, giving more because the disease of never enough-ism is rampant.
Ugh – that very word – MORE.
As Erin Loechner writes in her mind-blowingly good book, Chasing Slow, the word ‘more’ is unquantifiable. Its very nature is infinite. So every time we think or speak it, it’s as if we’re headed down a road where even the destination is unsatisfying.
It’s always ‘just one MORE‘ [insert your thing here]. We fuel the addiction and idolatry of things we never possibly imagined could be so. You know where I’m going with this…
Nothing can satisfy.
And, at the same time, one thing can satisfy everything: Jesus.
Every ache, every pain, every loss, every lack, and every anxious, hurting heart. “He’s often in the quiet, being quiet” [@xlizmartin]; waiting for us to come home, to just keep letting him in.
In addition to the deep tissue massage I had this week, which turned out to be as mentally and emotionally beneficial as it was physical, I attended another Bethel Worship Night.
I’m telling you, God uses that music group to speak directly into my SOUL and the souls of millions of others. My experience is always different and this past one was perhaps the simplest, but also the most profound.
In my recent state of overwhelm, stress, and a random mid-week emotional breakdown (ugh), from the first song, my hands went up, my heart opened, and my mind got completely and utterly lost in the presence of Jesus and NOTHING more.
I’m almost ‘ashamed’ [buzz word] to say this as a ‘mature’ Christian, but I can recall few other times, where in that environment, I felt so desperate that my heart needed, wanted, and desired to know nothing more than more of Him.
For no other reason.
It was as if life stood still, peace took over, and my extreme humaneness was still flawlessly drenched in grace.
I started whispering to myself: “More Jesus. More Jesus. Only more Jesus.”
Because its always only more Jesus.
Each time you hear yourself think or say the word “more” – try adding the name ‘Jesus’ to the end of it. Watch and see as you begin to feel the King of Kings take root as Lord of your life.
Fortunately or unfortunately, some of us have the gift of a fire that burns bright, giving us many great things we can accomplish in our own strength. We’re able to carry ourselves for a while until with one fluid breath, the flame goes out.
Ironically, what we build in our own strength, we will have to carry in our own strength. But what we build in His strength, will carry us.
So this is where I’m at – committed to unfollowing what drains me – in the digital and in real life. Because perfectionism, people-pleasing, a thirst for achievement, and the need for ‘more’ has never brought me happiness.
It’s always only ever been Jesus.
Because grace covers. It covers our flaws, it covers when you’re down on yourself because your skin is pale, your eyebrows need waxing, your hair is frizzy and brassy, your bloated for what, like the 3rd week straight (??), none of your clothes fit, you’re anxious just because, your hormones are being jerks, the deadlines are piling, and you’ve neglected to delegate any of it.
“Trials – [regardless of size] teach us who we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we’re made of.” [Charles Spurgeon]
When the weight of the world has sat on your shoulders, and you didn’t completely crumble or give out, is how you know there’s a force within you that is greater than every ounce of all of that, combined.
Whatever you resist in life, persists. And that’s why we surrender. Because when we choose to relish in His presence, we become capable of withstanding all things.
The funny thing about our at-a-distance digital culture is that it’s so easy to hide. It’s easier to become attracted to the high of positive reinforcement that comes in the form of likes and comments and instant gratification than it is to ease into the arms of someone close to us; being hugged and comforted with hot tears and streams of snot rolling down our faces.
It’s more convenient to keep going our own way than it is to keep waiting on God’s. It’s easier to keep mindlessly doing than it is to quiet all the noise for long enough to actually be alone with our thoughts and hear the faint promptings of the Spirit.
Culture [also] suggests if you can’t manage it all, you are somehow doing it all wrong. When actually, what you’re doing wrong is trying to do it all. [@propelwomen]
Maybe life is about learning to live in the tension.
In the shifting sands.
In the rolling tides.
Amongst the scattered shells.
Maybe broken people are meant to serve broken people.
Or maybe broken people aren’t even really broken at all.
Maybe He’s just moving the pieces around; mending them back into something greater.
When you wake up tomorrow and inhale that first conscious breath, before you put on any other role or title, remember you’re first and foremost a Daughter.
A beloved Daughter of the one true King.
Because you know what happens when we cry out “more Jesus”? We will see MORE Jesus.