He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

September 15, 2011

Be Still And Know

It happens every Saturday. Toward the end of the week, I build up a big mental list of everything I'm going to get done with all of my copious free time over the weekend. I plan to be a weekend warrior and conquer housework and yard work and craft projects and a massive word count on my novel-in-progress, and all the other stuff I tell myself I don't have time for during the week. I go to bed on Friday night with that To Do list swimming in my head, and I wake up in the morning rarin' to go.

And then I sit down to work on my novel and realize that I'm actually quite exhausted and all I really want to do is sit there and catch up on my shows and my reading. Which I then proceed to do, for the entire day, all the while beating myself up about it.

I've been dealing a lot lately with discouragement and anxiety. Ever since the economy went kerplooey (again... or would that be "kerplooeyer"?) over the summer, my freelance business has slowed way, way down, and since my last regular client was forced to "take a break" from working with me, I've been running around like a frantic chicken, putting irons in the fire and digging ditches to lay the groundwork for income streams, and nothing seems to be panning out. I seem to have it in my head that if I can just stay in motion and prove (to who? I don't even know) what a hard worker I am, eventually it will all pay off and I'll be rewarded for my efforts. But it feels like nothing I do succeeds, and all my hard work is for naught.

I'm also struggling with envy and coveting. I look around and see people with the same talents and skills that I have who are enjoying great success and reaping the fruits of their labor, and I can't help but wonder, what am I missing? What am I doing wrong? What am I not doing enough of?

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

I believe that God is my provider. The above promise has been put to the test again and again since I lost my steady job two years ago and embarked on a freelance career. Somehow, some way, we always, always have what we need. Sometimes I have no idea how we're going to make our mortgage or pay all of our bills, but the money has always turned up when we need it, sometimes just in the nick of time. God's provision has never failed, not once.

But if I really believe in God's provision, then why am I constantly busting my rear and wearing myself out trying to do everything by my own might? Why am I always so stressed out about our finances, and anxious about my business? Why am I neglecting my home and my family and time that could be spent in Bible study and prayer and meditation in order to manufacture work for myself under the guise of building my portfolio?

Why am I so worn out at the end of the week when nobody has actually hired me to do anything?

As I've prayed about this recently, I feel like I'm finally starting to get the message that God's been trying to send me for the last couple of years. The Bible is full of promises about God's provision, and of commands to refrain from worry. Seek Him first and all else will be added unto you. Be anxious for nothing. Bring ALL things to Him in prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy.

The Sabbath isn't just a day off each week. It's an ongoing state of believing and trusting that God is in control, that He cares for us and wants to take care of us, and He wants us to relax and let Him do so.

Growing up, my dad never let us rest. We were always expected to work to earn our keep, to prove our worth. Now that I'm a married adult, my husband does his best to contribute and provide as much as his disability allows him to do so, but as the only totally able-bodied adult in our household, I feel tremendous pressure, mostly from myself, to be the primary breadwinner, and when my efforts fall short, as they so often do, I feel a deep sense of failure.

But I feel like my Heavenly Father is trying to get me to see that He's there, taking care of me, providing for me and my family, and that I don't have to constantly work to earn His care. He gives it freely, simply because He loves me. And he wants me to learn how to rest in that knowledge.

So this is what I'm working on for the moment. I'm going to slow down and enjoy my free time. I'm going to make time for God each day, and for my husband, and to pay some badly needed attention to my house and my poor, raggedy yard. I'm going to make time to take proper care of myself and prepare my body, as well as my heart and mind, for another pregnancy. And I'm going to allow myself to spend time on things I enjoy instead of making work for myself that nobody's paying me for.

And instead of worrying about what will happen when my husband's financial aid for this semester runs out, I'm going to work on trusting that God will open doors for us and that clients, customers and readers will show up when we need them.

Not by my might, Lord, nor by my power, but by YOUR spirit. Here I am, letting go and depending on You. Amen.


Ann said...

I went to a conference today called Inspiring Women - it was incredibly motivational and inspirational (obviously). Perhaps you can find something like that in OK?

Jean Bauhaus said...

I haven't heard of that, but I'll have to watch for it, or something like it, to come through here. I'm glad it inspired you!

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