so, I’ve got issues

 In Identity, Loop

We meet over coffee, and I tell her how I can struggle to slow and listen for God. And then I tell her how yesterday wasn’t productive; I hadn’t made a dent in what I hoped I would be able to get done. So I didn’t want to listen. I didn’t want to slow.

I tell her that, as evening turned to night, I kept working, kept trying to achieve and fix and complete. I yearned for that not-so-familiar feeling of accomplishment, that mini-euphoric-mood-lift that comes in the rare moments I believe I have worked enough, that day. And then, and then, I could slow. And then, and then, I would have the peace of mind to listen.

I couldn’t possibly stop and rest and do something I loved . . . I hadn’t earned it yet.

Do you struggle with slowing, at all?

rainy day

I have other issues, too.

I tell my friend another thing–that when my doctor, two weeks ago, told me I should make exercise a priority and work out at least five times a week, if not more, I became less motivated to continue the almost daily exercise I was already doing.  I enjoy exercising, but now it was so much less appealing because the doctor told me I should to do it.

I don’t like being told what to do.

My poor friend. . . . I continued talking . . .

I tell her that my husband (sweet man), suggested–after seeing my angst and frustration and striving–it might be a good thing if I slowed and spent some time with God before we went to bed. Yes, he thought, it would be so good for me to slow and rest and listen.

I told him I didn’t feel like it.

And I told him I wasn’t going to listen to God and I wasn’t going to write Loop and I wish I were better at getting lots of things done in a short amount of time and I wish I were better at juggling lots more things than I am right now. I wish I were more productive with the time I have. Maybe if I were extroverted and more organized and more efficient I would get everything done in a day? Maybe I would have a good day, then? Maybe I would be able to listen to God, then?

What?

What a mess I am sometimes–a mess of pride and willfulness and rebellion.

Something in me was rising up, pushing back,  wanting to ignore the things I love to do, the things I know make me feel wrapped up in God’s love for me. I was my old self throwing a fit, wanting to do things I decide to do, on my own terms.

What’s going on?

in the puddle

It’s difficult to discern the whispers of our heart when we’re running–running to prove, running to get done, running to attain.  Our heart is numbed when we keep ourselves so busy. It’s silenced, pushed down. There is little way, when we are scrambling and striving, to figure out what it needs most.

There is an idol I need to confess.

What we need is not often what we chase down. Rather, we often chase replacements, counterfeits for the real thing we truly crave. At our core, we crave God. We are desperate for Him. But we forget. We forget because we haven’t practiced stopping to look for Him. Rather, we wish we were better versions of ourselves or a different person altogether. When we refuse to slow and believe our worth comes from what we do rather than who we are, we have made an idol of ourselves. We believe we are whom should be worshiped, attended to. We know better than God. . . . We can’t fathom being perfectly made, and we believe that if the day doesn’t go as perfectly as we would have liked it is a reflection of our weaknesses, our failures.

We can easily wish we were different. We can easily believe life would be better if we were someone else.

My friend listens and encourages me on. And I share with her the loving voice mail another friend left on my phone just that day. She felt she needed to call and tell me something:

Lasting change comes when our hearts are focused more on the Healer who does the good work in us and less on the problems in ourselves we pray that God will heal. Freedom exists only in our greater trust, deeper intimacy with God. He does the good work in us; we cannot work and attain any joy and satisfaction in this world, on our own. No matter how hard we try.

Wow.

rainy sky:blue sky

Focusing on God and His goodness is always better than focusing on our inadequacies. We will keep running in circles, on an endless treadmill of trying to attain something we can never attain–rest, peace, joy–if we don’t slow and listen to the truth of our Father.

His voice in us, to us, with us, is always, always, the one we need to heed. Our own noise can only be tuned out through the quieting reality of His presence.

And so, right there, in the coffee shop, I read aloud to my friend the fruit of slowing and listening and believing His truth rather than the made-up one where we are striving and trying to prove our own worth. This, from Loop, is the last bit of what He said:

Throw down this lie you chase that makes you strive towards imaginary perfection. You will not receive my joy, my peace, my life in you that sustains if you continue to chase what is not meant for you to attain. Who are you to decide what it means to be desired, perfected, worthy? Who are you to shun what I’ve made and desire something different?

Let me show you this daughter of mine. Let Me show you the beauty of her, the joy she brings Me, the strength in her to love just the way I’ve made her to love, to work with the passions I’ve given her to use. She is mighty when she knows who and whose she is and abandons all idols that bring distraction to this life I’ve given her, distractions that bring death to her heart.

 For I bring life, my daughter. I bring you life. And this life I bring you is in you. I am in you. You are my delight and the one I sing over and never, ever want to leave.

He is right here. He is not hiding from you and me. He is not waiting for us to be someone different than who He has created us to be so we can be loved and accepted. As Jennifer Lee so beautifully puts it in her book Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes, coming out in April 1, we are Preapproved. There is not a thing we can ever–or need to ever–earn. We are loved because God is love. We are loved because we are what the author of love created. There’s nothing else He can do.

I encourage you to head on over to Jennifer’s as she has a pretty cool invitation for you. . . Because, yes, we are Preapproved. 51SjOKEf-zL._SL160_

And if you want to listen to God’s whispers to us, together, subscribe to Loop. Click right here.

 

 

 

Want to join me, thinking about what idol He might be asking us to lay down?

So grateful you’re here,

Jennifersignaturescript

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Showing 39 comments
  • Carey Bailey
    Reply

    Thanks for the raw and real exposed. This will be going in a file of resources for clients. Love how you acknowledge that it takes effort on our part to connect with God. But, I am thankful He is ever present. With Joy, Carey

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Carey, you are so sweet to visit here. Thank you for your encouragement. I’m so grateful. xo

  • KristinHillTaylor
    Reply

    Oh, yes, I’m a work-before-play girl. God and I have been working through so many similar thoughts. I’m naming my idol Productivity. Looking forward to see what God does with us through this journey. Much love to you, Jennifer.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Kristin, This was a step toward me naming my idol. I love your word. There’s something so powerful in naming it, isn’t there? This is so good–bringing these idols into the light! Bless you!

  • t
    Reply

    I can so relate to this:
    What a mess I am sometimes–a mess of pride and willfulness and rebellion.

    Thank you for sharing so transparently.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Oh, it is so good to join together, encourage each other–in all the tough places and the things where He is inviting us in, to trust Him even more! Thank you so much for your joining me here!

  • Shelly Miller
    Reply

    Why is that we do everything except slow and listen when it makes everything so much easier to that first? It’s a truth I’ve learned with experience and now I hold on to that time like a life raft. Your transparency will touch those who read it. Lovely Jennifer.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Oh, you lead us into His good for us, Shelly–those quiet spaces of time, those gifts to our hearts! Thank you for how you love His daughters the way you do! #sabbathsociety

  • Kathy Schwanke
    Reply

    “Don’t tell me what to do.” {ouch!} My attitude is much better when it is my idea. Oh for grace! There is a reason there are so many pieces of armor and the word STAND is repeated x3. Linking arms here should fortify us quite well. Thank you for this encouragement!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Kathy, oh wow, you bless me. Yes to linking arms! Thank you!

  • Diane Bailey
    Reply

    Slowing down is so difficult. We get more credit for going faster and not for slowing down. This is wonderful encouragement!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Credit, yes. This is making me think . . .Where am I looking for that approval when it is already given? What an energy waster. Thank you for how you bless me, Diane.

  • April
    Reply

    I read Jennifer’s Love Idol movement post yesterday wide eyed and then reading your words here…hitting a deep raw nerve I guess…wow…blessings xo

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Wide-eyes, yes. I understand. So we just take a step. And another. . . I will be trying to stay here, surrendering this more. I love how His invitations are always just the beginning, another beginning . . and always so good! (But, yes, you see how I wrestle!) Bless you, dear sister.

  • Barbie
    Reply

    “Lasting change comes when our hearts are focused more on the Healer who does the good work in us and less on the problems in ourselves we pray that God will heal.” I’ve had a hard time slowing down. I know I need to be still, to listen and yet I so often push Him away. You give me so much to think about. Looking forward to slowing down for a few moments to hug you and have coffee next week!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Oh, how He knows what we need! I am so excited to see you in just a few days! Woohoo! :)

  • Kelly
    Reply

    Aaaaah, dear friend! I am so very grateful God put you in my life. Thank you for slowing down to spend time with me. This is a beautiful post except for the “my poor friend . . . .” I am positive she loved your willingness to spend time with her, to open your heart to her and share your life, to listen carefully to her own heart stories. She is not your poor friend – she is enriched by your friendship!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      You, my darling sister, are precious and such a gift to me. Thank you! Love you!

  • Beth
    Reply

    Thank you for this needed encouragement. Beautiful!

  • June
    Reply

    Oh, girl! “I yearned for that not-so-familiar feeling of accomplishment, that
    mini-euphoric-mood-lift that comes in the rare moments I believe I have
    worked enough, that day.” This resonated with me today! Thank you for the words you’ve expressed in this post. Found you through Simply Beth. Have a blessed week.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi June, I am so thrilled we found each other here. Thank you so much for your encouragement. It is so good to join together, in saying yes to the beauty He has! Bless you!

  • Jen Ferguson
    Reply

    This is me, too, right here: “I couldn’t possibly stop and rest and do something I loved . . . I hadn’t earned it yet.” And this is why my One Word is FUN! because God has tried to show me so many different ways all the things you say here and I have called Him a liar. Not to His face, but with my actions. And I don’t like to slow and I don’t like things to be imperfect, but I am realizing I also don’t like to feel dead inside. And so I have to trade…imperfection for life. And I’m beginning to see…it’s a good trade.

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Oh, Jen. You are beautiful! Thank you! Thank you! I am so grateful! Liar, wow–you know, I don’t think I’ve ever used that word about God before . . and I needed to hear that word. I needed to see it written out like that–the fact that that is what we are calling God when our actions reveal we don’t believe a thing He says! Thank you for how you pull me deeper in to His arms. And I love how you pursue Him, so wholeheartedly . . and remind us how what He whispers to our hearts is always, always, good. Bless you! XO

  • mkholmberg
    Reply

    I had a full-blown “I don’t want to” tantrum last night! This is timely for me. So, today I’ll start my day with what I need instead of what I want (or “should”) do. Thanks!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Kirsten, oh gosh, you too? ;) What I need versus what I want . . . Yes. Wish I could give you a hug right now, sister.

  • Sheri Stewart
    Reply

    Jennifer- when I got to this part, I giggled out loud-
    “And I told him I wasn’t going to listen to God and I wasn’t going to write Loop and I wish I were better at getting lots of things done in a short amount of time and I wish I were better at juggling lots more things than I am right now. I wish I were more productive with the time I have. Maybe if I were extroverted and more organized and more efficient I would get everything done in a day? Maybe I would have a good day, then? Maybe I would be able to listen to God, then?

    What?

    What a mess I am sometimes–a mess of pride and willfulness and rebellion.”

    it reminded me of my 8 year old grandson when he was being asked to do something he did not wish to do. and boy did i giggle.

    inside i say this all the time. i whisper it so people can’t hear it and do it anyway, but being still my friend
    is so so simple

    stop
    breathe
    breathe
    breathe
    stop
    listen

    He is always there and He is probably giggling at your tantrum too.
    I tell my grown daughters to put on their big girl panties and deal with it…:)
    i love that you share with us your life, your struggles your triumphs and always you deep Faith.
    have an amazing day!!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Sheri, you are slowing me, sister. You are slowing me and showing me a way to be present–because you share and are open and so giving of yourself. . . Oh, how you bless. I am so grateful. Thank you.

  • LLH
    Reply

    God has done it again. He has exposed my heart and written it out for me to read through your writing. If I were able to unpack my heart more fully today, this is so much of what I’d write. In fact, I love it so much that I think I’m going to post today just so I can share your blog. Happy Friday, kindred spirit!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      You encourage me and bless me so much this morning. I am going to be digging in more about this. I want to name it now–put a word to this idol I worship more than God. There are so many words, right? I wonder what He’ll call it and how I’ll be choosing Him . . .It has to be good, right? :) I am praying for us, as we surrender and look to Him and trust Him. Bless you! I would love to read your post! Could you send me the link when you have it up? xo

  • Holly Arledge
    Reply

    Beautiful and true. Thanks for being a part of my morning:)

  • Judy A
    Reply

    Jen, I don’t comment much, but I hope you know your words are always an encouragement, even if you don’t always hear from me!

    • Jennifer Camp
      Reply

      Hi Judy! Oh, you are sweet and kind. Thank you! Bless you!

  • Michele
    Reply

    thank you. Your post is an answer to prayers and is encouraging to me to know that I am not alone. I am struggling with this long Winter here in the Northeast!!! I feel like your spoke directly from my heart. Thank you for your words and honest sharing. Michele

  • Laurie Wallin
    Reply

    “I couldn’t possibly stop and rest and do something I loved . . . I hadn’t earned it yet.” Oh, girl. I’m so glad another of your readers pointed me in your direction. That is one of my daily goober-head thoughts. What a relief that we’re preapproved. What I would love is to have God point me in the direction of joy where my driven personality (sometimes good) meets my need for being enough already. Lord, have mercy on your striving girls!

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  • […] continue to write and do the things He has created me to do, I am going to lay down the idol of proving my worth through productivity. And I’m going to pick up His invitation to rest and enjoy Him in the way He’s made me […]

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