This year I said no to several great things: giving money to a cause, serving in a ministry, and making a meal for someone on a Facebook meal train because I felt burdened for them...to name a few examples.
In the past I would not have declined.
I would have kept doing the thing or said yes because I didn't want to disappoint the other person.
Being a doer/action taker, if I knew there was a need, I often felt I needed to be the one to do something.
So in an effort not to feel burdened and overextended, I realized over the years I started putting a buffer/blinders around myself with people, not because I didn't care, but because I did. I just didn't want to feel responsible for anything more than what I was already handling. So I avoided knowing. (yes, I even dodged the Facebook prayer support groups).
And yet God spoke to me that I was not responsible for everyone and every need. That sort of thinking seemed loving, but was super ego eccentric. And if he wanted me to do something it must come from love and from knowing he would supply. It was not about my own reserve. It was about His. Knowing I didn't HAVE to say yes to everyone or meet every need was a load off.
I could love better, wider and deeper when I asked God to show me what He wanted to do rather than jumping in compulsively to every visible need and direct request.
In one instance, I kept doing a thing I had compulsively said yes to because I felt guilty and didn't want to let anyone down. I definitely didn't want anyone to think bad of me.
But I kept praying about it and I knew my heart was not there. I wondered if God really wanted me to do this thing. I felt like it was taking away from other things I knew for sure He had called me to.
I knew I would never want someone else to do something kind for me if they felt like I was feeling. I wouldn't want them to serve from compulsion, guilt or fear. I wouldn't want them to feel exhausted and spent from all their giving.
The thing is, over and over again I see so much fruit in my life from saying no when that truly is not what God is asking me to do. It can sound like such a good thing, but if God has not called me to it, then it is not the place for me.
We don't have to be everything to everyone. We don't have to give money to every cause. We make ourselves too important when we think that. And we deplete ourselves thinking that Love says yes to every request.
The alternative is not living selfishly just for me. No way! We are called to love and serve others. We are part of a bigger whole. Its not just about us. We are called to do EVERYTHING unto the Lord and not to please man.
This year my energy and time is now spent doing what God has called me to do. I have been able to give and serve and love from places that come from love.
It feels free.
What about you? Are you serving others from a place of confidence or guilt? Are you trying to please people or are you pleasing the Lord?
When you are motivated to do something so you won't disappoint someone else and step into people pleasing, you over extend yourself. You become a manipulator as you try to make them like you by saying yes. You end up exhausted and disappointed in yourself.
When we live from the belief that we belong to the Lord and all we do is unto Him (Romans 14:7), plus we know that he ALREADY loves and accepts us, then we feel confident. We pray about how we spend our time and if we should say yes or no. There are not strings attached to our giving and doing. We serve in love.
And when we love and do unto Jesus, the One who is LOVE, we feel energized and at peace.
Many clients tell me, "I just want to be happy."
If I sold peace and joy in a bottle, I would sell out immediately.
We blame our unhappiness on other people and circumstances.
If this person or situation were different THEN I would be content.
We focus on what other's have (or appear to have) that we don't. We covet. We feel unfortunate.
And yet, this is life. There will always be another person or a situation to blame.
The upside of blame is immediate relief. It is uncomfortable to stay in our lane and take responsibility for our own thoughts and behaviors. (Take it from Eve, folks).
Yet, beyond the immediate moment, ownership reaps a great reward (Psalms 126:5, Proverbs 11:18, Proverbs 22:8, Matthew 13:24).
It is not circumstances and people that cause our pain. It is our thoughts about them that give rise to emotion and action. The evidence is two individuals in the same difficult situation, yet one is singing songs of praise and the other is fearing, complaining and blaming.
What if you zoomed out of your situation and relationship and examined what you REALLY believe? The proof is in the pudding, or the results you are experiencing in your life. Your results will show what beliefs you are fueling.
Consider these 3 beliefs:
1. God is good.
2. God has ultimate power over all things.
3. God loves me unconditionally.
If you REALLY believed this you would feel 100% secure and loveable. And those feelings would drive your actions.
When I operate from a place of security and worthiness, I:
When I show up in this way, peace and joy are mine.
To be human does not mean we will feel good and be happy all the time. There will always be this contrast of The Spirit Woman and The Flesh Woman---our redeemed self (the already) and the part of us that still groans inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies (the not yet). (Romans 8:23).
Ask God to show you your heart and mind (Psalms 139:23). This part is the "abiding in Him".
He has you. You already are 100% lovable and secure. You just have to choose to believe and keep practicing receiving.
Where we are in life proves what we are thinking. When we change our perspective, we can change our lives and our relationships.
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