I was shocked. Not as much about what she told me, but because she was the second woman who had come to me with such a brave and raw confession that weekend, during a women’s conference where I was speaking.
” I feel completely numb, ” she said. ”I don’t want to be a mom or a wife anymore. I could walk out on my family today and not feel anything….. but it would devastate them. And I can’t do that because I care about them. I just don’t have anything left in me to give or feel. And I don’t know what to do….”
I had shared my own similar struggles and story that morning during my keynote message. Shared how ten years earlier i asked God, WHY? why after being a christian for over a decade was i so miserable?
Hadn’t Jesus said he came to give us life to the full? i needed to know how and when was he going to keep that promise to me. Because the only things that filled my life were obligations, stress and hurry.
Kids activities and church commitments play dates and Bible studies, family devotions and service projects, neighborhood ministry and me trying to leave a legacy. All good ”Christian” things, so I assumed my commitments reflected Christ and hopefully pleased him.
Surely it’s just a phase, I told myself.
Things will slow down and I ‘ll start enjoing my life eventually.
But life wasn’t slowing down ; and i wasn’t enjoying anything.
Drained by all my doing, I was numb, exhausted and depleted. I couldn’t keep going. My heart was checking out and it scared me. I needed to get honest with myself and God about where i was and how i got there.
And when i started asking hard questions and listening to God’s heart and mine, he showed me something i needed to see: most of my (undoing) was of (my own) doing.
My doing and doing and doing…..
My brave new friend stood in front of me waiting to see what i would say now that she had spilled her guts. So i looked into her eyes and told her; i understand. I’ve been there….’
I shared with her more details about what God had shown me ten years earlier during my own ” i can’t do this anymore” meltdown.
Yet in my mixed-up understanding, I thought serving him was seeking him. I thought extreme busyness was the Christian norm: the life of God expected of me.
I didn’t want to tell anyone i was struggling because they all seemed to be handling their crazy-busy lives fine. It was just me who couldn’t keep up.
But that day when i asked God if and how he was going to keep his promises of giving me ”life to the full” (john 10:10), He reminded me of something i’d forgotten. In the book of John chapter 10, Jesus describes His heart and his intentions as our Good shepherd who came to give us the good life: Life to full with him.
But Jesus also clearly warns that there is a thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy.
The thief will take Jesus’ ”life to the full” promised and disguise our ”full life” (with an overloaded schedule) as the good life.
But it is a lie and scam! It is the thief’s way of stealing, killing and destroy our relationship with God and those closet to us. That way our minds and our calendars become so full we won’t have time to really live or draw close to the one who came to give us life.
Seeking. And when serving.
Receiving. And when giving.
Resting. And when doing.
And maybe even tempted to check-out, if it gets bad enough.
As our conversation continued, we processed and prayed through all that was going on in her heart and in her world. And we both walked away determined to make room in our lives for more of times Jesus. For more space in our lives, for the fullness of his life in us, the good life he came to give us. The Good woman life.