As I lifted the rear door of our SUV, my mother’s decorative table tumbled out and fell to the driveway before I could catch it. I turned it back onto its (now) wobbly legs and ran my hands over the fresh scratches and dents. I had promised Mom that I would bring her prized table to the new apartment, and feeling heavy-laden with dozens of other boxes and possessions to transport, I had become careless and hurried. My friend, who watched me load the car, cautioned me to secure the little table, but I brushed off her advice and went on my rushed way.
And so I stood, feeling foolish and failed, over the damage. For a second, I wondered if the neighbor – seen from the corner of my eye – was watching. Then all the feelings of fatigue and frustration came over me, and I didn’t care who knew that I messed up again. I whimpered aloud a familiar & exasperated question – one that I’ve asked myself as a student, a wife, daughter, mom, Christ-follower ….
WHY do I try so hard?
All my life I’ve been a try-hard girl. I used to blame it on my dad, as if his work ethic had been transmitted into my genes. But no, the truth is that my identity has most often been found in my ability to achieve and to please and to satisfy my own ego and other people. And so I push and strive, and my life is pulled along by compulsion instead of joy and fulfillment.
I know there’s a better way, and I can choose it, if only I would.
Ironically, I guess, I close my eyes and imagine a table. And Jesus has made a place for me. A table is an invitation to pause, to sit, to have conversation, and to receive. When I meet Jesus here, I leave behind my identity of an achiever. With Jesus, there is never obligation. Simply invitation.
Jesus invites me to say yes to His offer of freedom from other’s opinions, from my own striving. I gave my Savior my most significant “yes” many years ago, as a child. And since then, He’s invited me to countless sacred “yeses” – to agree with Him that abundant life isn’t found in obligation but in opportunity. And the opportunities that He offers are never burdensome. Instead, they are life-giving, grace-filled, and ripple into eternity.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” ~ Jesus’ invitation, Matthew 11:28 – 29 (The Message).
** Lord Jesus, You invite me to grace and You compel me with love. I never have to fear Your displeasure, and my life doesn’t have to be motivated by “should-to” and “ought-to.” Instead, I get to say Yes to who I am in Christ and to participate in Your sacred, life-giving, eternal purposes. Please help me to discern the difference between obligation and invitation and to freely offer You my best yes **
“Five Minute Friday” is a weekly opportunity for writers to write for five minutes on the same topic. Stop by Kate’s place @ katemotaung.com to read what other bloggers are writing about the word “yes.”
Photo credits –
Boss Fight – Completely Free (do whatever you want) High Resolution Stock Images & Photos, Daily
Loving this book, Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson, and highly recommend it –