Each of us is faced with thousands of choices every day that define our thoughts, our behavior, and who we are to the world. This fall’s Thrive Conference explores the idea that the choices we make hold power and provide opportunities that influence ourselves, others, and how we see God. Each Tuesday from now until October, we’ll feature one story of someone whose life was changed by the conference or who was faced with a choice and held firmly to the belief that “I Choose.” Today’s story is courtesy of Susie Larson, one of the speakers at this fall’s Thrive, who writes about choosing a more sacred pace (*adapted from “Your Sacred Yes,” Bethany House Publishers, 2015 and used with permission*).
Being a mom is a noble, profound, and sacred calling. And it can be demanding, relentless, and downright exhausting. Two of my three sons are grown and married now. And you know? I marvel at how the days that seemed to blur together back then have quickly 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! 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:
- 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.
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.
Reflect and Respond
- 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?
- Have you signed up for something God never asked you to do?
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (NIV)
Susie Larson is a talk-radio host, national speaker, an author of twelve books. She’s been married to her honey since 1985 and together they have three grown sons, two beautiful daughters-in-law, and one adorable pit bull.
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