This is the third in a series of the Abundant-life Saboteurs. And before I jump into the third saboteur, I want to tell you about something that happened to me not long ago.
I had some time on my hands one day, so I thought I’d trim all the trees in our yard. So I got out my ladder and a long saw thing and pruning shears. I trimmed the low hanging limbs from all the oak trees in the front yard. And let me stop here and tell you, my late husband loved to dig holes and plant trees, so we had lots of them for me to trim. And I did. I trimmed them and cut those branches into 4-foot bundles and tied them up with jute so the trash guys would take them. The trash truck was rounding the corner just when I put the last bundle out. I was so proud of myself. So proud that I decided to also trim the enormous vine that was overtaking our fence and also had wrapped itself up into the big crepe myrtle. I got my ladder and put it next to the tree and started hacking away at the vine choking my crepe myrtle. It was one of those vines that are milky inside, so every cut was a sticky mess. I was getting tired of crawling down off the ladder to move it around the tree, so I decided I’d just climb up into the tree instead and cut the vines that way. It’d be so much easier and faster. So I did. Then I decided to reach to the other side, so I stepped on a branch and heard a snap. And just that fast I was inverted like a V inside that big crepe myrtle tree. I couldn’t move. I was stuck.
Plus I was already worn out and didn’t have the strength to pull myself up to get out. So I sat there a while. I’m not really sure how long, but long enough for my pride to implode.
Literally, all I could wonder was if my neighbors were watching me, or if a kid road by on his bicycle, what would I do? Would I yell out for help or just lay there really still until they passed by. Total embarrassment.
Eventually I was able to regain my strength and kind of roll myself on my side to crawl my way out of that tree and onto the ladder. When my family found out what happened, they said I had to get an iWatch so I could call someone if I was in trouble like that again.
They said it was either that or they threatened to buy me that medical alert device “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
So this leads us to the ABUNDANT-LIFE SABOTEUR #3: STRIVING
The definition of striving is to make great efforts to achieve or obtain something; to struggle or fight vigorously for ambition. Striving.
Striving to be someone
Striving to get somewhere
Striving to do something
Striving to look a certain way
Striving to obtain something
Striving to prove something
Striving to validate the breath that I breathed and the space that I took up on the earth that day.
That was me. Striving.
The reason this sabotages the abundant-life is because it’s usually based on a false identity. And this can happen for several reasons. But usually because we don’t have a strong root of our identity to begin with. Maybe this was, again, based on lie-based assumptions and perceptions as a child that came from our family of origin. That was Saboteur number one - episode 116. And then as we’ve grown up, we just keep striving to be good enough, smart enough, worthy enough for someone to love us.
When I was trimming all the trees and found my humiliation in the crepe myrtle, the Lord graciously showed me that I was trying to prove my worth and value in doing or accomplishing something. See it hadn’t been long since Brian was gone, and I had lost my identity.
One thing that I had discovered about myself was that I was task-oriented and purpose-driven who was more comfortable as a human-doing than a human-being. It was difficult for me to rest, much less to learn to find rest in God.
In episode number 6 - The Faith-Rest Life, I told you a story about meeting with a friend and talking to her about how I felt I was having to learn to rest in God. And told her of my recent discovery of my task-oriented, purpose-driven self who is more comfortable as a human-doing than a human-being. I told her I was learning that finding rest in God means to be relaxed in the “moving forward” with Him.
My friend gave me a visual of what God was asking her to do as she was moving through her grief and learning to rest in God. She said it was like being in a flowing river in an inner tube. “No swimming,” she said, “Just floating wherever He chooses to take me. The speed and the direction are His alone.” Now, I tried to picture myself on that river, in that inner tube. The one distinction that could not be missed was that I had a paddle in my hands. Every time! The paddle insured that I could control the direction and the speed of my journey. I could slow things down or speed up. Turn to the left or to the right. Or even hold up on the bank of the river for a little while. It somehow felt much safer that way. At least it felt familiar. Me, in control.
But God is asking me to throw the paddle onto the bank of the river and just float.
Feet up, no swimming, moving where His grace takes me. Trusting. Waiting. Settled.
In this kind of rest, I will find grace and provision for every task He lays before me.
But here, I also find my true value and worth is not in the doing of the task - not in striving, but in the being. If I never “do” anything significant or special again, it does not change my value on this earth.
It is “floating in a tube on the river…with no paddle!
Rest. Rest and ease of mind. No anxiety. No fear. No concern.
Just putting trust in God and following where grace takes me. Faith-Rest.
And this is one element that creates a strong root of identity.
See our worth, your worth, as human being is wrapped up in the very fact that God loves you, chose you, calls you His treasure and His daughter, and sent His Son to die for you. He alone is your identity. Because, the Bible says in Psalm 139 that God created you – that He knitted you together in your mother’s womb, and He said that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He made you uniquely and individually. You are perfectly and wonderfully whole, valuable, and worthy just as you are today.
Friend, even if you’ve heard that or read that in the Bible before, you will only truly know and receive it as fact if you’ve sat with God and let Him pour His love over you.
Let Him tell you how valuable and lovely He thinks you are. Just as you are. Just being. No striving.
I know this one can be a tough one to overcome. It was for me. It took some time. I’d love to help you bust through this desire to strive that makes you want to prove your worth, too. It would be my privilege to be your Life Coach.
I’ve put a link in the show notes for a free 30-minute call just so we can see if we’re a good fit to work together and show you how Life Coaching would work for you.
Also, don’t forget to get the free, downloadable guide that complements this episode. It has a few prompt questions that will help you personally work through some of the things I’ve talked about today. The link is in the show notes. It’s like a little Life Coaching at home.
Have a wonderful week, friends. See you next Wednesday for the next episode of Another Beautiful Life.