Can I be honest with you?
I am a people-pleaser. And a peace-maker. They sound like a good combination, right? I don’t like to disappoint or hurt the people in my life and when I do, I have no pride in apologizing to make it right and restore the relationship. But I also often speak without thinking, which means I apologize a lot. And I over-analyze conversations and blame myself for saying things that did not really cause strife, so I often apologize without a real reason to do so. Which leaves me feeling like all I do is apologize.
And I’m a pastor’s wife so I feel the burden, real or imagined, of the implications of the role, impossible as they may be to meet and yet impossible to ignore. And because I want to be helpful and make people happy, I tend to volunteer to do things I really don’t want/have time/feel called/desire to do.
And I worry. I worry that I am not a good wife. I worry that I’m not a good mother. I worry that I am not a good friend/daughter/Christian/person/name-the-role, I worry. And I worry not only for my sake but for the sake of anyone who may possibly be looking at me for advice, example, or leadership.
Do you ever feel this way? Please say I’m not the only one…
Lately God has bombarded me with a theme…a thought that keeps creeping into my readings of Scripture, blogs, and devotionals…a driving force that threatens to shape my year and direct my path for the next twelve months. And as I wrestle with Sharon Jaynes’ challenge to stop asking God “What do you want from me?” and begin asking Him “What do you want for me?” the fuzziness begins to lift and the word begins to take shape. He has given me a WORD.
Would you be surprised that my word for this year is FREEDOM?
Freedom from impossible expectations.
Freedom to accept that I am doing the best I can every day. I am prayerfully, carefully, thoughtfully, analytically the best mother/wife/friend/daughter/person/Christian that I know how to be. Freedom to seek to grow, and to learn, and to change but only as He guides, believing that who I am is enough for today and letting go of the worry and the guilt.
Freedom from trying to please everyone.
I have a big heart, a big mouth, and a lot of flaws. I am deeply loyal and deeply selfish all at once. But I was fearfully and wonderfully created as were you. You may like me or love me or not be able to stand me but Christ is giving me the freedom to live to please the only One whose approval matters, believing wholeheartedly that as I do, I will love you, treat you, and commune with you in the ways that He intended.
Freedom from over-extending myself.
Freedom to prayerfully consider opportunities to take on ministries, volunteer for causes, and accept invitations. Freedom to say no without feeling like I’m letting you down, or damaging our relationship.
Freedom from my need to control my world.
Freedom from my own self, from my need to plan, to organize, to make sure everything is in place, to control my environment. Freedom to let go of the fears that affect my relationships and rob me of joy. Freedom to find the beauty in flexibility and the trust that it implies not to always know what will happen next but to know the One who holds my tomorrows.
Freedom to explore my relationship with Christ on his terms.
It is not a checklist, it is not a set of dos and don’ts. It is a relationship. An intimate, loving, peace-full relationship. Freedom to find out what He has in store for me this year without worrying about doing it “right” or getting it “right.” Freedom to let Him define what "right" means for us.
Freedom to fully explore the question that started it all:
Lord, what do you want FOR me this year?
Has God given you a word this year? If you want to read more about 2012 WORDS read what these four amazing women have to say.
Heather at Every Day Evans has chosen to serve.
Natalie at Mommy on Fire is seeking self-control.
Sarah at The Best Days of My Life is also praying for freedom.
Michelle at Graceful is learning about surrender.