I’m His daughter, not His worker

by kerriebutterfield

I Have a Dream by Elvert Barnes Flickr.com_31921789_53cdaa2154_z.jpg_CC BY ND 2.0

I Have a Dream by Elvert Barnes
Flickr.com_31921789_53cdaa2154_z.jpg_CC BY ND 2.0

We had been living in Australia for 6 months when we visited a lawyer to facilitate buying a house. When we arrived, it was slightly unusual for us, because it wasn’t an “office”. We drove up a long, windy driveway to home perched in beautiful wine country. We knocked on the front door and for the next hour got a tour of a beautiful and amazing working ranch that also functioned as a lawyer’s office. He invited us to sit and have a “cuppa” with him and as he did I could feel my anxiety growing as I was distracted by how much time this was taking. All we needed was to sign 3 documents, but this was taking forever.

As I sat, mentally hurrying him along, the Holy Spirit said to me, “What’s your rush? You need to shift gears and slow down because you are missing out on my agenda.” In that moment, I realized He was talking about this specific situation, but He was also talking about the way I was operating daily. I had become so task oriented that I was missing out on His agenda to love people because I was focused on my “to do” list, not His “to love” or “to enjoy” list.

In Luke 15:31, the father in the parable of the prodigal son, responds to the older son, who has become so busy, distracted and focused on work, that He can’t celebrate the return of His brother. He’s so busy, he doesn’t have time to enjoy the father, or the son in the parable.

“Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

I was the older brother working, doing “God stuff” but completely missing out on the Father and enjoying His love. I had become a field worker, when I was actually His daughter. I had believed the lie that busyness increased my value to God. The more I did, the more I had to do. I both resented it and yet was addicted to it. I was heart-sick with “older son syndrome.” I was so busy working for the life I thought I wanted I couldn’t receive the life He was trying to give me.

I spent the next 7 years learning to be a daughter and not a worker and truthfully, I’m still shaking off the performance-driven mentality. But, one of the areas I have seen the greatest growth and fruit is in the realm of worry and anxiety.

In the story of Mary and Martha, Martha confronts Jesus to complain about how busy she is and that nobody is helping her. Jesus doesn’t tell her to prioritize her list from most important to least, doesn’t get Mary to help her, tell her to calm down. Instead, He confronts her heart and mindset. He says:

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Sometimes anxiety and worry can manifest itself in busyness. I’ve learned that when I am stressed and worried I need to shift gears. I need to sit at the feet of Jesus and receive from Him. I need to quiet my own thoughts and listen to what He is saying. I have also learned to celebrate and “make merry” and be glad with the Father. Feelings of stress and worry have become road signs to “pull over” for a rest stop and allow Jesus to be what He longs to be for me. I’m learning to stop striving for the life I think I want to receive and the life He wants to give me.