For reasons that we can’t explain (other than that we are the first-time parents of a toddler who sticks everything in her mouth and then happily shares the germs despite our most diligent attempts at cleanliness and nutrition) we have been sicker this year than any year in my recent memory.
Time in bed is definitely not my favorite pastime, but all that forced slow-down time is helpful for me to process some things that I’ve been hearing not just from my own heart but from others as well.
There are a lot of things in life that make us feel fragile.
We feel challenged by sickness, strife in relationships, other peoples’ opinions of what we should or shouldn’t do, hard decisions, unexplained criticism, loneliness, or just plain tiredness. We get overwhelmed by all the ‘shoulds’ or ‘coulds’ and feel like if we go one more minute without our ducks in a row we might just scream because by George we’ve been trying and should it really be this hard?
Feeling fragile is human, but I think we women are especially prone to feeling that way. And I think there is a huge reason why.
Anyone relate? It’s sort of a survival mechanism. We compare because frankly, it seems safer to conform. Less risky. Just give us three easy steps to a guaranteed solution and we’ll grab on and hope with everything we are that one size fits all. After all, it seems to be working for so-and-so…and the truth is that different can be so scary. And when Someone enters the scene and whispers to your astonished heart that you are indeed intended to be different in your make-up, gifting, and calling than every other person on the planet, it’s slightly overwhelming.
But if it is true that “No man can serve two masters…” then certainly no one (especially us women!) can serve the demanding internal voices of five or ten or fifteen comparisons to ourselves. It is a sure recipe for emotional implosion. Ask me how I know.
In His kindness, God has had me focus on some very simple truths these past months. And one of them is this:
I need to hear His voice.
I need Him.
I don’t need to hear (to focus on, to meditate on, to obsess over, to worry about, to make decisions by) any other voices. I don’t need to see life through their filters, their opinions, their conclusions. I need to hear One Voice. He has directly promised me that His Spirit will lead me into all truth, and you know what, friend? He is an expert on everything. He’s the best counselor there is. He’s the most experienced relationship expert. He’s awesome when it comes to money matters, nutrition, decision-making, kids, church, friendships. He’s so unspeakably amazing about speaking to any kind of need for wisdom. He loves to speak life and beauty and wholeness over us!
Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t at all mean to say that we should be an island unto ourselves and refuse to receive from each other. We need each other, and God made us that way. And we should absolutely be listening to our husband’s voice and wisdom if we are married. Your husband is meant to be a protection for you. What I do mean to say is that every voice that speaks into our lives should be brought through the filter of One Voice. (And our husbands can help us with that, especially on our tired, emotional days.) Everything must distill down through the wisdom of the Wonderful Counselor who knows exactly what we need, and when, and how much. The voices that we are aching to hear—voices of resolution, acceptance, wisdom, peace, solutions, comfort—all come ultimately through One Voice. He is the only One Who knows the right timing, the right season, the right answer, the right method, the right decision, the right words…for you.
The beauty and freedom of this really came home to me when I considered that the root motivation of comparison is to be the same as.
But sameness is not wholeness.
Just as in the classic example of marriage, wholeness means difference. And differences are healthy, beautiful, and needed.
I was talking/complaining to God one day about feeling inadequate, and He, in His wonderfully straightforward way, said,
“I have made you the way that I have made you.”
Insert a huge breath of fresh air right there. I love it! I can be exactly who He made me to be, and revel in it. I don’t need to feel burdened, overwhelmed, frazzled, or inadequate when I am perfectly confident in knowing that His design in giving me my giftings and passions is part of creating wholeness in the Body of Christ. Suddenly, the absence of pressure to conform, and the presence of His voice guiding me into the uniqueness of His plan for me is not at all overwhelming. It’s totally freeing.
We are most whole when we are rested and confident in what He speaks to us and for us.
We are most whole when we know that the differences He has made in us are perfect.
We are most whole when we are free to celebrate who God made others to be.
We are most whole when we silence the mental cacophony of voices, and
Just. Hear. His.
“I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people…”