Susie Larson is a favorite workshop speaker at Hearts at Home conferences. She’s also the author of the wonderful Hearts at Home book, Balance That Works When Life Doesn’t: Simple Steps to a Woman’s Physical and Spiritual Health.
I’m currently reading Susie’s newest book Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy. I’m loving it and I asked her if she’d write a guest post to encourage you!
For years I’ve been encouraging moms to ask the question “I’m capable but am I called?” when considering commitments. Susie’s book confirms that and even more!
Too often we’re stressed out because we have said yes to too much. May you find Susie’s words just what you need today.
(Adapted from Your Sacred Yes, Bethany House Publishers, 2015)
Being a mom is a noble, profound, and sacred calling. And, it can be demanding, relentless, and downright exhausting. My sons are grown and married now. And you know? I marvel at how quickly the days that seemed to blur together back then have come and they’ve gone.
Looking back, I’m so glad I enjoyed lemonade stands, water fights, and bedtime prayers with my boys. I’m glad that amidst my endless pile of laundry, I took time to pray, read my Bible, and rest in God’s presence.
But I also have a few regrets. I regret certain seasons where I rushed and raced through life simply because I committed to more than God asked of me. I regret losing sleep over what others thought of me because I disappointed them. I so wish I would have understood back then what I know now about soul freedom, the preciousness of our days, and how quickly our kids grow up.
If you’re worn out by all of life’s ought-to’s and should-do’s; if you long to feel energized, inspired, and expectant in your faith once again, I have great news for you. God has more for you! First, allow me to ask a few thought-provoking questions.
Are you so bogged down with life-draining commitments that you’ve forgotten how good a belly laugh feels or how rich a time of quiet prayer can be? Do you relegate praise and worship to an hour on Sunday and thereby miss out on singing at the top of your lungs every other day of the week? Has it occurred to you that God longs for you to take more life-giving path than the one you’re on?
Sometimes we over commit for all the wrong reasons (pride, insecurity, fear, hastiness). Other times we have the best of intentions for giving away our time (a good cause, a great need, there’s nobody else). Either way, we need to ask ourselves some probing questions:
- Do the vast majority of your yeses increase your faith and fill you with a greater expectancy of how God is moving in your midst? Or, do they drain you to the point that you find yourself weary, simply rushing from one thing to the next?
- Are you captive to your commitments, or free to respond to God’s invitation to do life with Him?
- Is your current path a catalyst to increasing joy and faith or does all of your rushing make you more prone to worry and fear?
- When you assess honestly the time you give away to your various commitments, do you find behind it all, a divinely inspired soul growing in grace and strength? Or are you a spent and weary soul, losing steam by the day?
Nothing drains us more than signing up for things God never asked us to do. Yet, all too often that’s exactly where we lose our way. When we live shackled to others’ opinions, expectations, and requirements, we give away our yes because of a lie. We commit to things in order to save face, and as a result, we miss out on God’s invitation to fully entrust ourselves to Him.
Days will fly by and sacred moments will continue to elude us until we decide to hit the brakes and take inventory of what’s driving us.
Consider this an invitation to break free from the bondage of others’ opinions, over commitment, and the un-appointed obligations that drain us dry and steal our joy. It’s time to reclaim our days so that our moments matter in the greater scheme of things. Both our nos and our yeses matter to God because He loves us best and He’s the One who can make the most of our days and our moments.
How do we know if we’re driving too hard in a way that God never sanctioned? We pay attention to how our efforts impact us and those we love. Take a look at these life-draining motivations and see if any resonate with you:
- External pressure without internal conviction
- To impress
- To save face (to manage others’ opinions of you)
- To gain acceptance
- Fear of rejection
- To fill a gap or role that God didn’t ask you to fill
- To postpone conflict
- To compensate for shortcoming in another area of life
It’s time to stop our rushing and racing through life so we can better know how for us God is. And the only way to do that is to start today by truly, deeply, profoundly knowing and believing that He is God (and we are not), and that more rests on His shoulders than on ours. May this, for you, be the start of a new and sacred pace, one that’s sustainable and life-giving.
God’s will for you is your best-case-scenario.
What about you? Do you need to take an inventory of your commitments?