It’s been a hectic week. I’d been burning the candle at both ends for a few days straight, trying to accomplish all my obligations. It culminated in a supremely stressful day yesterday, by the end of which I started exhibiting physical symptoms, which was very unusual.
Last night, after the last Thing was done, I pretty much hoisted the white flag and quit Life. I arranged for my husband to pick up cheeseburgers for dinner, took a bath and went to bed 5 hours early. When I woke up this morning, I still had residual effects, a “stress hangover,” if you will – headache, groggy, forgetful, and kinda disoriented. I’m super surprised I got the kids to school with lunches and everything. I relied a lot on Caleb’s help.
I got back home, feeling thankful that it’s my morning “off.” Thursdays are the only morning both kids are in school and I don’t have plans, so they have become bless-ed mornings to me. Usually, I try to take advantage of the quiet by doing something creatively focused. But I realized pretty quickly today that I was in no condition to expect anything from myself that looked remotely creative or focused.
So, channeling this feeling of existence akin to a bump on a log, and knowing I was no good to anybody in this condition, I texted my husband at work, jokingly starting with the sentence, “I’m worthless today,” and then explaining my plan to be vertical as little as possible.
You already know where I’m going with this, don’t you?
Not five minutes later, I was buttering my pancakes in the kitchen and I distinctly felt the Lord say, “You’re not worthless.”
“Oh Lord,” she laughed politely. “I know THAT. I just meant I’m worthless today, because I’m not getting anything done.”
And then He recalled to my mind the truth He’s been bringing to me over and over, but I seem so slow to latch onto: Your value as a person has absolutely nothing to do with what you accomplish. Your worth is not found in what you Do.
He brought to mind all of the examples He’s been using to teach me: Babies. Elderly. Disabled. Many of whom have zero point zero zero things on their To Do list. And all of whom are cherished, loved, and VALUED by God and by those around them.
Wait wait wait.
You mean I don’t need excuses?
I don’t need to call it a “day off,” it can just be a “day?”
Are you telling me that, theoretically, I could quit everything, drop it all right now and decide to live a life of luxury and I would still be loved and cherished and valued? Just for being… myself???
God is not looking for slaves to do His bidding.
He wants a loving relationship with His children, for us to spend time with Him and for Him and us to ENJOY each other.
In our study of Romans this year, we’re in chapter 4 and Paul has been trying to teach us about what righteousness really looks like. My righteous deeds are NOTHING compared to the righteousness of Jesus. And when I realize that all my good deeds are for naught on the tally board, my only option then is to lean into my faith in Christ. FAITH is what the Father counts to us as righteousness. Not deeds, but faith in Jesus!!
I really did grow up believing that the sacrifices in the Old Testament were what made a person righteous in God’s eyes. Our study took a little detour to Genesis, and read in 15:6 where Abraham “believed God” and THAT was credited to him as righteousness. God declared Abraham was righteous DECADES before any law or covenant was even given for him to fulfill. And even at that later point, his obedience was an outward sign of the faith that had already been living inside. But his obedience is not what made him a righteous man.
When we obey or do good or seek to spread light into the world, it should come out of a loving response to Jesus and everything He Is for us, and everything He’s done to show His love. Right obedience is a Love Response. It doesn’t say “I do this because I should or because it’s right or so I can feel better about myself or so God will like me.” God already likes you. In fact, He’s crazy about you! He loved you way before anyone else did. He loved us first! And our obedience should say “I love You too and I’m so thankful for what You’ve been to me. My life is yours, and it’s easy to want to obey You because your law is Love.”
Our good deeds are fruit of our love for God.
But any righteousness that’s tallied on my account is a GIFT from Jesus.
But, like Abraham, I can believe that somehow out of all this deadness around me, God can bring life.
Not done, did, doing work.
But LOVE, life, living in Him.