Jesus wasn’t calling.
Okay, maybe not. Obviously, Jesus is still in the calling business. Hang with me here and I’ll do my feeble best to try to explain my muddled thoughts.
I have to admit it was quite a shock to realize all those years I spent doing and running, spinning my wheels and frantically trying to be a good, little Christian girl for Jesus weren’t for Him at all. They were for me.
When the truth hit, it slapped me hard.
I’ll never forget that night. Curled in on myself, sobbing on the mat of our bathroom floor into the wee hours of the night. My physical body had reached its limit and my emotions lay in scattered wreckage.
I was so overwhelmed, so undone and so completely exhausted I thought I was drowning. I couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t escape. Every fiber of my being cried out for relief.
I remember curling the long, soft tufts of the burgundy bathmat in my fists and clenching my teeth as salty tears filled my mouth.
God, You lied to me. You said if I served You, You would give me joy. I have no joy. I have no peace. This is not the victorious life You promised.
I was lied to all right, but it wasn’t by God. The enemy had fooled me into believing the best way to feel loved was by doing whatever it took to make people love me and I fell for it…hook, line and sinker.
It took awhile for me to realize all those ‘good’ things I was doing, all the activities pulling me away from my family and draining the peace and joy from my walk with God weren’t “callings from Jesus”. They were the hungry cries of a broken girl who desperately needed the approval of people to feel loved. I blamed “Christian service” for my inability to say no, servant-hood for my perfectionism and worse yet, developed a martyr mentality to mask the ever-growing resentment welling up inside.
Jesus has called us to many things, but living a life where we exchange His rich, vibrant, unconditional love for the weak, oscillating approval of man is not one of them. Excellence is good but trying to sacrificing the rest He’s promised in order to cram in more is not. Serving in church programs and ministries is wonderful, but only if you’re doing it from a heart that yearns to love others instead of a need to be seen by others.
That’s what I meant when I said Jesus wasn’t calling. I had confused my Christian service with people pleasing. And like it always does whenever the moving target of people pleasing and perfectionism can’t be hit, resentment fills in the void. Self-inflicted martyrs make poor servants.
My journey with Jesus is vibrant now. Full of joy and adventure, freedom and rest and yes, serving too. The difference is I’ve learned why I do what I do and I’ve learned where my worth lies…in the nail-pierced hands of Jesus. Now when He calls, I can hear His voice plainly. I don’t confuse His gentle whisper with the screaming shouts and harsh demands of the world around me, or even with the old self-condemnation that creeps in from time to time.
I had to learn the hard way though. You don’t have to. Look inside. Check your motives. Make sure that it’s Jesus calling.