Are you seemingly sinking under the weight of life?
I have been doing a Kim Avery online-Bible study titled Life Overflowing, it is on the book of Ephesians. It’s an excellent study, with audio lessons and a worksheet for note-taking for each lesson. I was writing about it in my journal and inadvertently wrote “Life Overwhelming” instead of Life Overflowing. Those kind of moments help you to see where you are really at in life. We get so caught up in our lives, sometimes we don’t even realize how it is all affecting us.
Shauna Niequist, in her book Present over Perfect, tells about how she found herself at the point of hating her life. She had pushed and pushed, hustled and hustled. She tried to do everything to live up to expectations, and to fulfill obligations, and she came to the place of being exhausted as well as often sick. The weight of life had become too heavy for her.
Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe you have too many things packed into your days; too much to do, too many people to meet with, too much help to give, and an overload of work to accomplish. What is the bottom line? Shauna came to realize that she was trying to make things perfect, and trying to be the responsible one”” who could handle everything. She also found that her striving stemmed from a “cavernous ache” inside of her heart. It was about her need to be loved, so she tried to earn love that she didn’t feel she could receive apart from doing.
God’s love is unconditional. We are not loved by God because of anything we do or have done. He loves us because He created us. He wants a relationship with us. He loves us even though He knows our limitations.
You would think knowing these truths would help us to recognize that the pressure is off, but that often is not the case. We go on striving to find satisfaction within by doing more and more.
We end up believing the Enemy’s lies and then try to fill the hole inside with personal attempts to get love by doing.
All too often we try to impress others with our busyness, and our self-importance. Shauna explains how she chose to change that in her life. We can also choose to make changes. Like Shauna, we can make an intentional effort in our lives to encourage each other to find rest. We can find special ways to support one another. We can help others to see that they do not need to do more and more in their lives.
Shauna demonstrates the importance of knowing the Father’s love so that you no longer need to prove yourself. When we know God’s love, we learn to love self in healthy ways and then show respect for others.
Reading about this led me to ask myself some questions, questions that I want to share with you for you to also contemplate. It begins by evaluating where you are in the struggle for perfection and also recognizing how weighed down you feel. So consider the following. I found that setting aside some time to journal really helped me.
- Where are you finding your worth? Is your worth found in your accomplishments or in your busyness?
- Is there something you are trying to prove?
- What is the “cavernous ache” within you saying?
- What is the need deep inside?
- Who can you reach out to for help? Who can share the weight of life with you? Who can help you carry the heavy burdens of your life?
- What do your feelings and response to life say about your relationship with the Lord?
- Is His love enough? What do you need to talk with Him about?
These are important and difficult questions, some of which are only answered over much time and contemplation. But the answers can help you make important changes.
We have to decide what really matters. Each decision Shauna needed to make led her to consider two things. She began to base her decisions about how she would answer people’s requests for her to do something by checking to see if the choice at hand fit into her purpose and secondly, if it would bring her love. There was no more settling for an unsatisfying substitute in striving.
She discovered that often the things she pushed herself to do had not been about her purpose, and more often than not, she did not find love in the end. Instead, she found herself exhausted and feeling sick.
The should’s, the have-to’s, the people-pleasing choices do not bring us love. They lead to resentment. They lead us to feel like we are carrying around boulders. There are only 24 hours in a day and we can only accomplish so much. What are the boulders in your life? What is weighing you down? Think about it and take it to the Lord in prayer.
- We can speak honestly about where we are with our Heavenly Father. He knows.
- We can come to Him with our worn-out lives and seek Him for wisdom and help.
- We can find His love to fill the emptiness within to help keep us from striving in life.
And most importantly, we can find refreshment in His presence and in staying present in our lives.
I hope that you will find the refreshment our Heavenly Father longs for you to have in knowing the depths of His love for you.