“You’re really hard on yourself,” she said to me from her office chair. “I know. My husband tells me the same thing,” I say. We talk about it a little further. I carry some sort of ritualistic gotta prove my worth thing that no one else on earth has asked me to carry. We don’t speak those words, but I know it. “Grace instead, Emily,” my husband, my counselor, and the Holy Spirit gently remind me. It’s what I need to accept more and more of, both from Jesus and myself. God has already spoken my worth to me.
There in the office to my counselor, I list off all the things that are tricky for me to figure out how to juggle… Being a mom, a wife, a friend, the family member I am to all my extended family with great big varying needs, a discipler, a writer… “Not to mention, a person,” she adds.
Yes, that. A person. That’s what I forget about and neglect the most. I’ve got all my roles. They’re all important. But what’s also important is that I am a person. I am a person with needs that I need met. I can make it a point to tend to some of the things with intentionality. Things like spending time with Jesus daily, taking care of my body, refueling my mind, pursuing activities that bring fresh inspiration to fuel my creative heart, reaching out to people to be sure I am walking in community, etc. But there are some needs as a person that I cannot meet in myself.
Those needs left unmet will bring burnout to my soul. I’m a person. That grounds me and liberates me in the same token. It causes me to realize my limits and my needs. Plainly spoken, it humanizes me.
I think that the roles we all carry, the titles we all wear… sometimes those mask our humanity and give us the idea that we are created only for responsibility after responsibility.
Don’t get me wrong, responsibility is an important quality for people to carry through life, one that is lacking in many lives. Yet, when we are moving only from responsibility to responsibility, that’s where burnout and internalized pressure breeds.
We were created to work, yes. But we were also created to walk: walk with God in the gardens He called us to tend and to name the wondrous things He created for us to live around.
The fall of man has caused us to miss a lot of what we were created for and I think in a lot of us, it’s caused us to feel the need to prove our worth. Genuinely, God still calls us out of those gotta-prove-our-own worth moments by His grace.
Even after the fall, God gave Adam the opportunity to name his wife. The name he chose for her? “Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living,” Genesis 3:20 says. A footnote in my Bible comments on this, “As a sign of grace in the midst of judgement, the human race would continue…”
And there’s that word again: human. I am a human. You are a human. And for now, we continue. We continue to need life to be poured into us, spoken into us… breathed by God, tailored specifically to the needs of the hearts He designed for each of our souls.
So today, I’m practicing this reality in my heart: I’m a wife, a mom, a discipler, a family member, a writer, yes… but also, I’m a human. I’m a human with needs that only God can fill by His truth and the unique design He has constructed into my life.
As Spurgeon put it: “I have a great need for Christ. I have a great Christ for my need.”
In your heart today, my friend, practice admitting that you’re a human, who has great needs and greatly needs Christ. There’s grace to be found in that, from Him and from you.