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The freedom of quitting

I recently had a come to Jesus moment with someone I respect very much; in fact, it was with a person who happens to be one of the voices in my head.

{ hopefully, you know what that means and it doesn’t sound too weird }

Anyway, I was feeling pressed and stressed and perhaps a wee bit taken advantage of, so I exclaimed,

Why can’t they just make a decision and get it done?

The Voice smiled at me and said, “Because you make everything shinier, and so they want you involved.”

Gads. Well. I don’t recount this to toot my own horn, but rather, to deflate myself. Because, you see, a compliment of that magnitude from a person you trust to the nth degree tends to become a pillar in your decision-making process.

They need me.
I make things shinier.

I better say yes to all the things.

Enter Geri Scazzero’s book about quitting. Enter chapter 6, “Quit Overfunctioning.”

Enter these words:

“Nonetheless, there are things that you can change, cut out, or add in order to focus on your God-given life in a healthier way. The key is to remain focused on your own life’s direction while remaining in open, clear communication with the other significant people in your life.” – The Emotionally Healthy Woman

Listen, we all have essential things that we cannot quit. We have to take care of our kids, and some of us, our parents. We have to pay our bills, which likely means we have to work, and maintain our homes, which requires yet more work. We have to feed ourselves and engage in some sort of care of our health.

But what about all the other things? The optionals? The things that maybe make us feel good because they are important to other people, and when we say yes to those things, those people are happy with us?

Did I strike a chord? If so, Hello Approval Addict. I am one of you –
— but I am recovering. And here is why:

First of all, God is always happy with me. He didn’t call me to work. Remember the garden? He created people to rest and have community with him, to enjoy life and each other. {We are the ones who screwed that up, but that’s another story}. Soooo… if I don’t work in the nursery AND provide meals to the sick AND volunteer at those three big events AND attend 2 different weekly Bible studies AND… It’s alright. In fact, it’s alright if there are seasons when I cannot do any of it. God ain’t mad at me. He’s got nothing but love for me. {link: one of my favorite movie speeches ever}

Secondly, I’ve recently come to observe, when we reach a certain age/season, we have likely participated in a lot of trial and error. By, ahem, early middle-age, we should have a pretty good sense of what works for us and what doesn’t, where we shine or lend ourselves to shinyness, and where we do not. So we can choose, as Lysa TerKeurst coined itThe Best Yes for ourselves and our families. 

Thirdly, there are things that, particularly as women, and even more specifically as Christian women, we automatically put on the back burner because we feel like we are not being pleasing to God.

Let me tell you something. Along with A MILLION OTHER THINGS we learned the wrong way in Sunday school, this is not true.

Jesus gave us two commands: Love the Lord with all your heart, love your neighbor as yourself. Now, look at that second one and tell me:

How well are you going to love your neighbor if you’re not loving yourself?

Or as I recently put to a loved one, “You can’t help anyone if you can’t stand up!”

Coming next:
The freedom of quitting, part 2 AND a chance to win a copy of the book, The Emotionally Healthy Woman.


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