For most of my life, I have struggled with identifying my purpose in God's kingdom. As such I have been a doer and an achiever, always trying to get things done for God because I wanted Him to value me.
This is the same issue that Martha had with Mary. If you remember the story, Jesus basically told Martha that she needed to take a lesson from Mary and chill out. Well, that's my interpretation.
I knew that but I still had this drive to achieve and be identified by what I did. I was a writer, then an editor, and finally a publisher. I thought I had arrived, but then everything went south with the newspaper industry, and who was I?
I Am More Than What I Do
I wallowed in despair from 2008 to 2013. However, the despair led me to finally throw myself into the weight loss journey I knew God had for me. It was 2013 when He tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to write a book about losing 250 pounds.
I should have been elated. Instead, I was scared. Could I do this? I'd been working on my weight and not doing a lot of writing. Now the Lord was calling me back to my purpose.
Then God led me to listen to a podcast interview with Paula Faris, the author of Called Out. Her words hit me right where I was struggling.
"I am more than what I do," she said. "Freedom is knowing who I am outside of what I do." This truth was exactly what I needed to hear back in 2008. It was years later that I heard them, though.
Who Am I?
Paula's words reminded me of the stronghold of "I am not valued" that I thought I had addressed years before. However, God told me I was still living inside a lie. He said, "You are still believing your value is in what you do instead of who you are."
He was telling me I needed to know who I am without my career. I dealt with this exact question in 1994. I do know who I am. I am a whole, healthy, happy woman administering grace and truth in a powerful way energized by the Holy Spirit. I know this as my core truth.
The problem is I regularly feel that if I am not doing something in my chosen vocational field, it doesn't matter who I am. I still believed if I was doing nothing, then I wasn't worth anything to God. Therefore, my value is not in who I am; it is in what I do.
What Is My Value?
On the days I relax and take some time off, I tend to feel like I am worthless. God wants me to see I am just as valuable, if not more valuable to Him then than when I am working.
When I'm working hard it can be like trying to push a huge boulder up a hill. I don't feel God's presence when I'm trying hard to meet a self-imposed deadline.
When I take time to unplug from electronics, relax, empty my mind of my to-do list and am simply available to God, He always speaks to me. I relish those intentional, no-agenda times with God.
I Am Enough Because He Is Enough
It has been hard for me to understand that God believes I am enough just like I am. He's watched me from the day I was born. He created me in His image and knows everything about me (Ps. 139:13-16). He knew what I would do and when I would do it. Nothing about me has taken Him by surprise.
"It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone" (Eph. 1:11-12, MSG).
I was created on purpose for a purpose. I have value because God made me. I don't have to do anything to prove myself to Him. I just have to be who He created me to be. He and He alone has planned my future.
The Stronghold Is Broken
Does God have a destiny and a purpose for me? Yes, He does. Has He given me gifts, talents and abilities? Yes, He has. Do I need to be concerned about how He is going to utilize those? No, I don't. All I have to be concerned about is loving and following Him.
If I am doing that, He will work everything out to fulfill the purpose He has for me. Nothing I can do will hurry it up or change it. I just need to trust Him. I just need to follow Him. I just need to be at peace with His plans for me.
The stronghold of "I have to do more to have value to God" is broken in Jesus' name because I know the truth. I am already enough in Him. I don't have to achieve anything to earn His grace. I already have it.
This article first appeared on teresashieldsparker.com.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her number-one bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds, is live on Amazon. Teresa is a Christian weight loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Please tune in to her podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on the Charisma Podcast Network.
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