I hear this and see this all the time, not only in my life, but in the life of so many women. “Sure, I can do that,” or “I can help” or, “Yes, I will do that”. What happens next? I find myself over committed, stressed out and freaking out over everything I have to do! I become exhausted, overworked, and I end up being no good to anyone. Does any of this sound familiar?
We as women were created to be “help-meet’s”, so naturally, we try to “help everyone meet their needs”. But I am learning that it is okay to say “no”. Hard word for many of us women to speak, let alone use when someone asks us for our help! Today, as I was reading the One Year Bible, I came across 2 John 1:6, and it stuck out at me. Lately the Lord has been speaking to my heart about love, and what it looks like in my life.
2 John 1:6 says, “Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.” (NLT) What I think the Lord is speaking to me today about love is that it is in our actions and not our emotions. But He goes a little deeper this morning, and asks me my motives behind the “love” that I show. I show my family I love them by caring for them, praying for them, and all that other stuff. I show love to my brothers and sisters by serving them, praying for them, and all that other stuff that they ask of me.
The biggest problem I have is “loving” too much. You are all reading this thinking, “has she lost her mind? Loving too much?” Bear with me, please, and I will explain. When someone asks me to do something for them, I immediately respond with, “Sure, I can do that.” Not thinking about the other 50 things I have already signed up for. Instead, I run through the list of things that I have committed myself to, and add the new project to the one slot I think I have open!
And then it happens- I become stressed out, upset at everyone in my home because I have too much to do and they are sitting around doing nothing to help! I start complaining to the Lord about all that I have to do and everything that still needs to get done, and then I ask for His help. He is always faithful to help in my times of need and desperation, and somehow it all gets done. But why do I put myself and my family through all that unnecessary stress? And let’s face it ladies, when we are stressed our families are stressed. You may not see it, but the saying, “when momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” is true. We set the tone and the mood for the whole family.
So, how then do I find that balance? Those places where I can still help meet the needs in love of my brothers and sisters in Christ, and still meet the needs of my family? Simple answer, but hard to follow for us “Martha’s” out there- PRAY FIRST! What the Lord showed me this morning was that when someone asks me to do something for them, a simple answer of, “Let me pray about it and get back to you” is better than, “Sure, I can help but you will see me stressed out and freaking out the whole time I am helping!” There are some instances where the Lord is going to give you the answer before you even speak- and that is the answer we need to give the person asking for our help. But there are instances where we need to take a step back, go before Him and ask, “Is this something that You want me to do?”
What an example of Love that we can show to those other women out there who are struggling with this same battle? This battle of- I want to help; I want to serve, and “yes” attitude. What if we slowed down for just one moment and asked our Lord what He wanted us to do? I think we would be surprised at not only how peaceful our lives and our family’s lives will become, but also the witness and the ministry we could have towards other women. The Lord clearly said to me this morning, when I asked Him, “How do we stay in Your love towards others?” His reply- “Not hastily, but patiently, with all manner of prayer and supplication towards Him.” He is not asking us to organize our days according to what we have to do, but instead what He desires for us to do.
Look at the life of Paul. He went where the Holy Spirit led him. He ministered, he taught, he healed, he did all manner of things to “help” people. But he only went and helped if the Lord asked him to. What a lesson we could all learn from Paul. I am learning to accept this way of responding to others. It is not easy, but I believe it is what the Lord is asking of me today. Not to be quick to respond, but to step back for even a minute and ask, “Lord, is this what you would have me to do?” He will never lead you to a place where you become stressed out and freaking out- no, His way is peace, a peace that surpasses understanding. Wouldn’t it be nice to have peace all the time? The answer is, “Yes- you can” but we have to let Him lead and us follow. It may mean you have to tell someone “no”, but there may be another lady in the fellowship who would be so blessed by being able to help. We would not know because we are too busy doing it all!
May we all take a step back this Christmas Season, ask the Lord to search our hearts and see if there is anything we can let go of and let someone else receive the blessing? And may we pray and seek His guidance before we commit to anything else! May the Lord bless you and give you peace in everything that you do. Be blessed and be a blessing!