I’m not sure when I started down the lonely slope of striving to be enough. But once I was on it, it was almost impossible to get off.
It became an addiction. Although I didn’t see it at the time, I was constantly trying to do more or work more to be seen and loved. Whether my chosen method was writing, ministry, the home, or helping others, I needed to be needed.
If others didn’t need me, I would disappear. My sense of security would be lost.
The funny thing is, I’m not sure whom I was trying to be “enough” for. Sometimes I thought it was my kids. Other days it was my husband or my church. And of course, I had to be enough for Jesus too. Although I’d read those words he cried during his dying breaths a hundred times, somehow I believed “It is finished,” meant, “try harder.”
I forgot who I was.
God’s grace became an elusive prize he offered only after I’d worked myself bone dry instead of a gift he lavished on me. I went from “beloved” to “belabored.”
Several years ago a church sister saw me stacking chairs after a MOPS meeting and doing all the tasks others usually avoid. While others grabbed their last cup of coffee and chatted, putting off the preschooler pickup as long as they could, I stayed busy working. And thus, I was dubbed the worker bee. The truth is, when I was still I felt lazy. I saw work that needed to be done, and if I wasn’t doing it, I wasn’t fulfilling my role.
Resting resulted in guilt.
Because I have a good Father who recklessly pursues his tired, burnt-out daughters, he eventually sent me a gift who wouldn’t just invite me to rest. She would force me to. Her name is Elise. She was my first daughter, and she’s twenty months old today. (Although these days she invites me to chase her more than rest)
God showed me what being a daughter meant as I rocked my own daughter to sleep during her first months of life.
He showed me his love wasn’t based on my performance.
He reminded me his love was irrevocable.
But every now and then, I still need a reminder that my position in Christ is secure. Although I’ve never described myself as a workaholic or an overachiever, I crave results. I love to see items checked off a to-do list, so when I first saw the cover of my dear friend Katie Reid’s debut book, Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done, I was instantly in love. A great big check box right on front with “completed” check through it? This results-driven girl felt connected.
Then I began reading the book, and I liked it even more. Whether you describe yourself as a modern-day Martha, type A woman or not, Katie’s book is for those who long to find rest in the grace God freely gives to each of us, but often have trouble doing it. It’s an invitation for women with doer personalities to know it’s okay to work hard, but to also remember doing so doesn’t make us any more or less loved by God.
In one of my favorite chapters, Katie talks about this elusive thing called balance, and how it more or less doesn’t exist.
As a mom and a writer, can I tell you how liberating it was to read these words? Katie goes on to explain,
“My definition of balance has been to walk a straight line, not tip the scales too much in one direction or the other, and avoid disapproval by keeping everyone happy. Yet this is unattainable as it is unrealistic.” page 113
She illustrates that to keep our priorities in order, we need to rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and focus on the task he has for us at hand. Instead of looking to our own self-sufficiency, we look to him for help. In an awesome tool called the “Streetlight Strategy,” she further explains how to navigate this.
Made Like Martha is a welcome breath of fresh air to goal-oriented women. It’s an invitation to live in the freedom God gave us without trying to be someone else. If you to need to remember who you are as a beloved daughter, make sure to add it to your summer reading list. I promise you will be glad you did.
Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Get Things Done is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
I am giving away one copy of Made Like Martha to one of my lovely readers! To enter the giveaway, comment on this post below. You may be entered multiple times by sharing on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter! I will announce the winner on Thursday, August 2nd.
About the Author:
Katie M. Reid is a modern-day Martha who provides encouraging resources to try-hard women. She has been published on HuffPost, Focus on the Family, MOPS, For Every Mom, Crosswalk and many other websites. Through her writing, speaking, and singing, she inspires others to receive the good news of grace, with no strings attached. Katie delights in her husband and five loud children. She is learning to let her soul rest, even while her hands are busy.