You Are Not What You Accomplish

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Sometimes it comes in a whisper and at other moments it’s loud like angry shouting, the voice telling you that you are not accomplishing as much as everyone else is.

You try so hard and you never feel like it’s enough.

You feel ten steps behind everyone else all the time.

You give until you have nothing left to give and then you push yourself to give a little more.

You are not the things that you mark successfully off of your To-Do list.

Your identity is not tied to the many things that you have accomplished and the title you hold.

This constant keeping up business is going to wreck you if it hasn’t already.

You are hardwired to function a certain way, we all are. At one time I thought if I tried hard enough, I could be the girl who got everything done in every area of my life. And the harder I tried, the further I strayed from who God had created me to be. I was trying to master 10 things instead of the scaled down version of what God was asking me to do.

I was moody.

I was unhappy.

I was always frazzled all the time.

I was the girl who tried so hard to be good at everything, even the things that I didn’t like doing. The tug-of-war started in my heart and I became accustom to the anxiety trying to keep up brings.

I wanted to please everyone. Show up for everything that I was invited to and all the events at church. Like a dog jumping through hoops, I went about my overly cluttered life. My identity became entangled with people pleasing; I became insecure and needy of constant affirmation. Something needed to change, so I started with my unrealistic expectations of what I was supposed to do opposed to what I felt pressured to do.

I noticed that there was a HUGE difference between those two and most of the time I was sacrificing what I was supposed to do for the things I felt pressured to do.

Of course, there are things that we need to get done, but we become a slave to our To-Do lists.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28 NIV)

Jesus said to come and He would give us rest, not lists.

Mary and Martha both had the gift of hospitality, but they went about it differently. I’m certain that Martha felt like her identity and worth was tied to her presentation of the meal and hosting abilities. Mary probably had tried her whole life to keep up and do things just like Martha. Don’t we all do that? We think that we must be doing it wrong, or it’s the other extreme, that our way is the only way.

I wonder if Mary in that moment knew that she couldn’t serve as good as Martha, so she sat down at the feet of Jesus and hung on every word He said finding herself full of spiritual food that she desperately needed. And in that very moment, she was enough. The way that she had served was enough.

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 38-42)

The Message says it like this:

41-42 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

Sometimes I get so distracted by serving that I completely miss the main dish and find myself starving spiritually. I miss that one essential thing by rushing to accomplish the meaningless five things that I have attached to my self-worth. I wonder how many of us miss the main dish most of the time by striving and trying to function outside of our gifts and callings.

If you are the girl who needs to be busy, by all means be busy. But don’t miss the main dish. The moment that you begin to feel frazzled is the exact moment when you need to catch your breath and rest so you are not starved spiritually. You are not what you accomplish.

If you are hardwired like Mary, try not to compare yourselves to the busy, always getting-things-done girls. Comparison will always cripple you. Quiet time with Jesus fills you up so that when you serve you can bring your best. The more you try to keep up and accomplish and produce more, the more exhausted you will become.

The sweetest gift we can bring to God is ourselves, not our lists, not what we accomplish or produce, just the heart of the woman inside of us who is craving a main dish moment with God.

Much love,

Jennifer Renee