The Big Win of Losing Who We're Not
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. … And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15, 17 (ESV)
Being all things to all people is a trap, and my friend had tripped into it.
Through tears, she poured out her exhaustion. For years she had worked her hardest to hold it all together for her family, friends and coworkers.
She had done all the laundry, cooked all the meals, juggled all the schedules, taxied all the riders, managed all the projects, said “yes” to every request, dried every tear, calmed every tantrum, listened to every need and completed every chore.
Worn. All. The. Hats.
Why had she done it all? She thought she had to earn love and approval. She worried that she needed to work for her safe spot in her world. She believed it wouldn’t get done if she didn’t do it. She concluded that everyone else’s needs erased her own.
But she couldn’t do it anymore. She had no reserves left. She was depleted, exhausted, and honestly, she was more than a little resentful.
This “friend” isn’t just one woman. It’s a compilation of women’s voices I’ve heard over the years, and I’ve added to that chorus at times too. Women have the gift of nurturing, a beautiful trait of God Himself, and yet sometimes we overstep. We do for others what they should be doing for themselves. We bury our own needs under the pile of expectations leveled at us. We try to hold it all together when that was never our job.
But it is Jesus’ job. Colossians 1 gives us an insider view to who Jesus is and His magnificence beyond comparison. Verses 15 and 17 say, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. … And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” In addition to what our key verse says, Jesus also is:
The Creator. All things were created through Him and for Him. (v. 16)
The Head of the church. (v. 18)
Preeminent. (v. 18)
Reconciling all things back to God. (v. 20)
In Him all things hold together. Not in me. Not in you.
There’s such relief in that truth! Because of who Jesus is, we can release all that we are not.
We each have duties and responsibilities, but we can’t do all the things. When we try to hold it all together, we step into Jesus’ job, and we end up in an unhealthy place.
What does it look like to allow Jesus to hold it all together, embracing His provision and living in His lavish love for us? We prayerfully say “yes” to the tasks He’s given us and leave the rest to Him.
Sometimes it’s simple, practical steps like teaching kids to do laundry so they’ll have the skill and a sense of responsibility when they leave home. Or letting someone else at work coordinate the next project. Or budgeting for a respite caretaker for an elderly parent. Sometimes it’s saying “no” to a volunteer position at church, leaving a space for the person who’s truly called to do it.
We don’t have to hold it all together. Jesus, in His grace and power, fills that job description more perfectly than we ever could, so let’s hand the title back to Him. When we do, He’ll restore our souls, returning us to a healthy place of service combined with rest.
Lord, I’m tired, and I’m ready to give You Your job back. Show me what I need to release to You that I was never meant to do in the first place. Flood me with Your strength to do the tasks You’ve assigned to me, and erase the guilt I feel when I say “no” to everything else. I trust You to fill each need with the one who is called to it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 145:19, “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” (NIV)
Psalm 23:1-3a, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” (ESV)
Losing who you’re not is the first step to living your one life well. Today, pick up a copy of Amy Carroll and Cheri Gregory’s book, Exhale: Lose Who You’re Not. Love Who You Are. Live Your One Life Well.
Visit Amy’s blog today to download a free copy of “The Expectation Evaluation,” a tool that will help you to stop overcommitting.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What is one task that you’ve taken on that you know belongs to someone else? How could releasing that task build your trust in God?
Think through the steps you may need to take to turn over the task and write them out. Do you need to say “no” even though it’s hard? Train someone to take your place? Budget for a replacement? Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2021 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
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