I am superwoman, or at least that’s what I think I am. I’m pretty sure I’ve lived with a superwoman complex for quite awhile in my life. If my life looked like someone carrying a load of firewood in their arms, I would be the one with wood stacked up over my face, struggling to hold what I have, yet telling you to go ahead and pile another log on top of my stack. “No” feels like a dirty word to me as it rolls off my lips. If I’m honest, I’ve lived much of my adult life overloaded.
A few years ago, I was involved in a Bible study with some ladies. We were encouraged to write down our pressures of our life so we could pray about them. My list of responsibilities came to twenty-one items. I can remember writing them out and thinking about how I couldn’t fathom letting go of a single one. I was needed by others and I had to serve. However, this list of responsibilities had consumed my time so much so that my time had to run like a well-oiledmachine, lest one little distraction from it would become a stick in my cog in the wheel and cause my machine to grind to a halt. The thought of that happening was frightening to me. I began to realize that something had to give. I needed to let go of my load one task at a time.
It’s pretty easy to forget that the life Jesus died to give us is not a life bound up by slavery and taskmasters, being driven from task to task until we fall down exhausted at the end of the day. Instead He is a shepherd who wants to lead us. Not from task to task, but from field to field of provision given by the gentleness of His hand.
A few years before the infamous “list of responsibilities” was written, I had a practice that has been neglected as of late. Every morning I would grab a cup of coffee, go up on my deck, and watch the sun rise. It was a time of quiet reflection and prayer. I would sit in awe of the artistic beauty God had created as the colors in the sky slowly bounced against the wispy clouds and glistened on the trees and grasses of the fields. It was there that I would take time to write poetry and pray and I felt the closeness of God. As each taskmaster shouted out at me through the years, my time became less and less on the deck enjoying the gift of the sunrise waiting for God to gently lead me through the day. I responded to the demands and believed the lie that yelled that everything was all up to me. Then as I submitted to their demands, my time on the deck slowly dwindled to none.
Since I wrote that list a few years ago, the unloading began. It has been a slow process at times, but here lately it has been fast. Some of the sticks from my load came off with ease. Others were ripped off and pried from my fingers against my desires and with pain. Yet I sit here now with 2/3 less of a load than I had 3 years ago. I’m not sure how to feel about these changes. Some of the things I have given up were things I loved to do, but just needed some time to recoup from carrying such a huge load.
Hosea 2:14- 16 has been rolling around in my thoughts this morning. “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards and I will make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. “in that day,” declares the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’’ you will no longer call me ‘my master.’”
The nation of Israel had a hard time transitioning from slavery to being God’s chosen people. They were so used to being told what to do that freedom to just be loved and taken care of was hard to embrace. Relating to God as their “master” was easier to picture than their “husband”, one who cared for and loved them. Their struggle with this left them chasing after the “Baals” or “lords” of idolatry, sacrificing to their dictates in hopes of winning some kind of favor with dead gods that could never fulfill them.
I’m like that at times. It’s easier to load myself down with a to do list of tasks than to simply be loved by my Creator and enjoy the freedom He died to give me. The times I’ve missed on my deck watching the sunrise with Him, He’s missed too. He intended for me to come to Him and to let the burdens go, not pick up a list of tasks that I cannot achieve nor carry.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” That’s Jesus’ words to us all. Words we would all do good to listen to and simply obey. He beckons us to come. All we have to do is respond.