I’d love to tell you I’m a recovered performance-oriented Christian, but the truth of it is it feels like I am, at times, far from that description. I’ve been in a little hiatus from my busy life, and in these moments, I’ve come to realize I still have this performance thing driving me like a whip on my back, saying the more I do, the more I’m worth.
Four months ago, I blew out my knee playing in our glorious and ever-so-fierce city league basketball game. (The reason I haven’t blogged in months!) After x-rays and an MRI, I learned I did a number on my knee. Torn ACL, MCL, meniscus, cartilage, tibial fractures, a dented femur and some severe bone bruising. Yep, I know. My world as I knew it pretty much came to a screeching halt.
The next day, I immediately started praying for healing. I have been healed of asthma (among maaaany other things), and have seen AWESOME miracles by the finger of God. I’m a contender by nature—physically, mentally, and spiritually it is no different. So in my fierce contending, when God put His finger on my lips, told me to be quiet and stop striving, and to just lay down and receive His love, that was a new thing for me. I hobbled onto my back, and allowed God’s love to wash over me like the best and warmest of waterfalls. I felt His presence so deeply in me and over me, it was incredible. The next day, I heard the same: “Lay down and receive My love.” So I did just that. And for the next three months, that’s pretty much how my life looked. I worshipped on my back, I prayed on my back, I just received all that God had for me. On my back.
I spent those months in complete surrender. I’ve never done anything like it before. In this place, new things began to emerge. I started to see how BUSY my life had been, rushing from thing to thing, and feeling pride in all that I could accomplish in a day’s time. I am a DOER! But what I realized, is that motion doesn’t always mean progress or momentum. And the problem, that I could so clearly see from my new vantage point, is that I had forgotten, in all the motion, to stop take time for the one. I had forgotten to slow down and listen. I had been too busy for God’s true riches—people!! I had a tight schedule, and God had better fit in it before I moved onto the next thing. Isn’t that bad?? It’s not that I had that conscious thought, it was like the rhythm of life just kept getting faster, and so did my pace! Have you ever noticed when people start clapping, the cadence allllllways gets faster and faster, and then eventually WAY off beat?? THat’s how life is. If we don’t take time to reset, it gets us all tangled up and sweeps us right off our feet.
The biggest thing that I learned from this time was that while I LOVE what I do, the value that fed my soul from what I do had risen to a place in me that was unhealthy. Hence the performance thing I mentioned at the beginning. I had found worth (again) in my doing, my accomplishments, my work. I was validated in all of those things. I felt important in these things. One day, I was crying out to God on my back, feeling so worthless and pathetic, I said, “I have nothing to offer you or anyone!” His response branded me. “It’s because you’ve been finding identity in your fruit. And as long as you have your heart and your lips, you have everything you need to offer up your all to Me. And I’m the One who matters.” I cried. Hard. It was so true. I had found identity in my classes at the gym, at my success in our business, in other things I lead. I even saw that my injury came about from trying to perform and be the best at any cost. I had found identity in my doings. So when God said I had all I needed in my lips and my heart, I was undone. Of course He loves me just as I am, and not as I do!! Of course His value system isn’t on a sliding scale of performance. I told Him I was sorry and that I wanted to stay in the place of being SO secure in who I am in Him alone. No performing for worth, love or validation. YUCK! And so, I started to settle in. (I joked that there was a booty mark on the chair in our living room from me sitting so much!!) I found a rhythm and a deep purpose in the slowness. It was the slowest my life had been in my entire life. There were days I didn’t leave my house. (In the past, I would leave early, pack a cooler with 4-5 meals and pretty much a suitcase for the day, and then get home late. I hustled and even jogged instead of walked from place to place.) I borrowed a keyboard from a friend (I used to play piano as a child), and wrote and played a song. I felt God’s presence so thick when I sang my heart out to Him. It was so simple, yet so deep. I worshipped, prayed, read, and wrote. I worked from home, and felt very peaceful in my new rhythms. God was rearranging everything. He was planting deeper roots in me, and helping me abide. I felt squirrelly many days, but those were just times to abide in God, to settle down and settle in. (That was the theme: settle down and settle in.) I felt so stripped down, nothing to hide behind, but very very safe. It’s hard to even articulate how beautiful it was. Emerging in me, is a stillness, a peace, humility, and a depth of gratitude that I’ve never known.
So, almost one month ago, I had knee surgery. When the doc went in (who was AMAZING by the way—a man doing what God has called him to do!), the torn MCL, meniscus and cartilage had healed! I was praising God for that, because it shaved off MONTHS from my recovery. (Meniscus and cartilage don’t heal on their own—so God did a miracle there!!!!) I had to have my ACL grafted in, so I’m still recovering, but praying for a miraculous one. I’m counting down the days ’til I can SWEAT, sprint and do tuck jumps! (The doc showed me the timeline of recovery, and I told him it was like punching in an address into Google maps, and the time it says it will take is a mere suggestion to me! Let’s GO! Ha!) But I’m not rushed, and am trying to be content as I know I will never have this time again.
The days I would feel antsy, God would tell me, “Don’t run from this place of intimacy.” I could sense His hands around my face, our knees touching, and Him yearning for me to just stay with
Him in the quiet. Simply because He loved the time with me. I cried almost every day, feeling so
filled up and loved. The performance that once drove me felt puny and silly. I could sense such a purpose for this rest, even though I had to force myself to enjoy it most of the time!
I wonder if God feels this often with us? Is He wondering when we’ll pause and just be? Is He waiting patiently for us to fit Him in? I wonder how long He agonized over me finding worth in all these other things, when He alone had the answer to being filled and fulfilled? I wonder how many of us have good priorities that have snuck into primary places, stealing our true worth and destiny? And I wonder who else finds identity in their fruit? Can we simply rest and be satisfied? I know I told my hubby that from here on out, I will schedule times to rest, and just be. It isn’t natural to me, but it is sooooo necessary. My quiet time in the morning just isn’t enough. God wants full surrender—our resources, our time, our schedule, our priorities, our value system, our mind, our soul, our spirit–our everything!
I pray that we can all take time to pause from our busyness and find God in the quiet. He has so much to say, so much to show us. I pray that if we have any areas that are feeding our worth that need pruning, God would show us in His gentleness and love. I pray that for all of us high achievers, that we’d learn to settle down and settle in, and that the pressure to perform would just melt off of us in the warm embrace of Father God. I pray for a deep connection with God, one that abides and stays, and emerges from rest and is free from striving. God loves us when all we have to offer Him is our heart and our lips. He thinks we are the best and most lavish gift we can give Him. He gives us value that will not corrode or fade. He gives us worth that in just BEING (not doing), bankrupts the kingdom. I pray that reality infiltrates our value system, our schedules, and our cadence in life. Open yourself up to this simplicity and profundity of God’s love. No performance or amount of good works can elevate our status in the eyes of God. I pray that we’d know the deep and intimate and far-reaching love of Jesus that is beyond measurement and understanding! You are dearly loved today and always!!
Ephesians 3:17-19 (TPT)
Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life. Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!