Here’s why you don’t have to do all the things
Several years ago, I was kindergarten room-mom, mother to a preschooler, employee, host and leader of a small group, exercise fanatic, participant in a second bible study, wife, friend, daughter, continuous house cleaner, and baker of scratch-made birthday cakes. I was trying to do all the things I thought I should be doing.
Now these are good things, but my problem was that I had replaced my calling with busywork. I believed the enemy’s lie that if I did more, I would be more. But here’s our reality as Christ-followers:
God has a specific invitation for us to do His work in the world, and we have permission to release all the things He hasn’t invited us to do.
We all have the same purpose but a different calling.
Every believer has one purpose: to glorify and love God, and to love others. However, each of us has a unique calling, a specific way that we carry out that universal purpose.
Our calling specifically applies to service to Christ, but may be different from our day job. Our calling will bring joy, utilize our gifts and desires, and draw out the way God created us. (Louie Giglio’s sermon He Guides Me) It will look different in different seasons and stages, and it will most likely be different from the calling of our friends. But our calling always, always glorifies God.
So why are we, even though we have a unique calling, still trying to do all the things?
1. We’ve placed our worth in our productivity.
We think that the more we’re doing, the more valuable, worthy, and fulfilled we are. This belief causes us to add more to our calendars just so that we can measure up.
We’re convinced that if we can just do more, we can be more, so we climb ladders that promise fulfillment, value, and worth when we reach the top. But when we climb the ladder that we thought would help us feel like we’re enough, it’s just the bottom of another ladder promising more of the same. And we just keep climbing.
2. We listen to the lies of our enemy and stay busy, distracted, and preoccupied.
He whispers into our ears about how altogether un-together we are, how everyone else has figured it out except us, or how we’d feel better if we said “yes” even with an overloaded schedule. He’s got us so twisted and turned around, caught up in activities, that we don’t even know which way is up.
But as Emily P. Freeman writes in A Million Little Ways, “I can’t imagine anything more dangerous to the enemy of our hearts than people who know who they are.” The enemy doesn’t want you serving out of your giftings, talents or time. He wants you hurried and hassled.
3. We equate capacity with calling.
Are the activities we’re doing what God has invited us to do to glorify and love Him and others, OR are they just things that we’ve told ourselves we should do because we have the capacity?
We know that the nursery needs volunteers, the PTA needs a fundraising director, and the ASPCA needs foster families, and we really want to help. We know that if we shift some things around, we can handle the logistics to make it all happen.
But Achiever-Friends, capacity does not equal calling. As I see the needs around me and ponder my place, I remember what Shauna Niequist wrote in Present Over Perfect, “Just because you have capacity, doesn’t mean you have to do it.”
We’re only responsible for what God has asked us to do.
God isn’t asking you to do all the things. He knows that you’re a finite creature with limited capacity, skill, talent, and time. As much as we want to believe we can be, have, and do it all, that’s a lie we no longer have to believe. God is asking you to accept His invitation to partner with Him in doing His work: the work of glorifying and loving Him, and loving others.
My work by day is to care for our kids and house, but my calling is to use words to tell people about Jesus: my family, you – my gentle reader, and the children at our church. You may be an accountant, but your calling is marriage small group leader. You may be a teacher by trade and a mentor by calling. You may be a C-level exec, but your calling is to share Jesus with single moms.
Let’s be free to know that we don’t have to do all the things: only what God has asked of us. And we know what God has called us to when we ask Him, read His word, feel the tug of His Holy Spirit, and talk to our God-fearing friends. You know deep down what stirs your heart, makes you cry, ignites a passion. Now go do it. Right where you are, as you are.
I refuse to go back to my busywork lifestyle of doing all the things, and I hope you do too. I’m training myself to remember that a busy life, doing all the things, doesn’t mean a meaningful life. A meaningful, freedom-filled, joy-sparked life is found when we do what God has called us to do. The world is waiting for each of us to accept God’s invitation to uniquely glorify and love Him, and to love others. What are we waiting for?