When I try like the dickens to do everything perfectly and on time, when I produce more than most people, when I rush dangerously toward burnout, it is worth I’m circling back to. I’m like the toddler jumping up and down, wearing myself out at a party of adults where I perceive I’m unwanted. “Look at me! Look at what I can do! Notice me! See me!”
The problem is we seldom live our lives with the energy of a toddler.
Eventually, we grow weary of doing so much, and we either settle our worth or believe the lie that if we cannot produce as much as we used to, we deserve to feel unworthy.
We are starved for validation, seeking completed tasks as a rubber stamp of our existence. But as with the proverbial carrot at the end of a stick, a completed to-do list will never be attained. It’s like the myth of finishing your laundry. unless your entire family lives naked, and every scrap of clothing stands clean in neat piles, you will never finish that chore.
Before me on my desk is a list of my day’s obligations inked in blue. Four things are crossed off (truth be told, they’re the easiest tasks, not the hardest). Writing this chapter is one of them. And I fear I’ll reach the end of the day without having completed my arbitrarily assigned work. Not completely my jobs will negatively affect my mood this evening. Sometimes I’ll work late to make sure I cross off everything. Every. Single. Line. And then I’ll wake up the next morning dreading another list. The tyranny is not lost on me.
Why do we work so hard to ensure our sense of failure?
Why do we treadmill our way through life?
Why do we feel that sinking loss when we fail or drop the ball?
Why do we do things?
Of course there are simple answers. We have to make money to live. We feel God has given us things to do. We find a modicum of joy in our work. We have responsibilities to people, projects. We have to pay off debt.
But peel back the layers just a bit and ask yourself, “Why must I do all these things? What will happen if I don’t? And how does that change my worth either way?”
Here are my painfully honest answers. I’m embarrassed to admit them so stark on the page:
I don’t think God will love me if I stop.
God will be disappointed in me if I don’t do all the things on my list.
But what I really mean is this:
I won’t love me if I stop.
I will be disappointed in me if I don’t do all the things on my list.
When we are enslaved to doing tasks, like I have been, we tend to worship the wrong god. And that god is an angry taskmaster who walks around this earth wearing our clothes and shoes and coats and gloves. That god is us. We have decided along the way that to be worthy, we must earn our way. We have failed to consult the Almighty on this meritocracy. We live our frenetic lives as if Jesus never came, never bore the weight of our shame and misdeeds and apathy on his sacred shoulders. We live as if everything is up to our stellar performance, not his ability to do amazing things through us. And when we fail ourselves, we project that disappointment onto God. . .
We are more than what we do. Our worth is dependent on our daughterhood to an Almighty, merciful God. We do not have to jump up and down, hoping to garner his gaze. No. We are loved simply because we exist.
I couldn’t find the words to review Mary DeMuth’s new Worth Living. So I just shared one of the many heavily-highlighted passages in my copy. I hope you’ll grab this book for yourself. Read it, pray over it, then read it again next time you start to listen to the lies that your life doesn’t count.
Every Thursday at 3:30 central (4:30 eastern) I’ll be chatting with you over the last cup of coffee of the day and this book. Join me at facebook.com/lagarfias. Want me to send you a copy for free? Keep reading!
WIN Worth Living!
Giveaway is ended! Congratulations, Emily F., for winning Worth Living!
This week, Mary DeMuth said she’ll send one of my friends a paperback copy of Worth Living, too! Do you want this book? You know you do! Winner will be chosen Monday, May 9.
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