Post by Katie M. Reid
As I dropped off my kids at Vacation Bible School I could hardly stand up. I was depleted. It felt like work to walk up the stairs, to have a conversation and to drive home. In fact, I didn’t go home but went to my husband’s office and crashed on the couch there.
Four months of staying up too late—burning the midnight oil to chase a dream—had taken its toil on my body. I was exhausted and sapped of energy.
I had sacrificed the hallow for the hollow.
I had ignored the warning signs and worn myself out.
I had neglected my post at home in order to type out another post here.
I had left the secure to grasp at the wind.
I had traded the best in pursuit of the good.
Running ragged and on the brink of shut-down, I had to recharge immediately or my battery might die.
I was disappointed in myself for thinking I was invincible. I needed more sleep but had ignored the wise counsel of God, my husband, and others.
I plowed forward, at breakneck speed, right into a heap of exhaustion.
My marriage suffered, my kids felt ignored but it was like I couldn’t stop, even though I knew I was driving in a danger zone.
I had once judged others for being workaholics, but, as I devoted more time to creative things—writing my heart out, recording an album, capturing beauty all around—I saw never-stop-working tendencies rise within me. I was a workaholic but few people knew it because I worked from home.
Yet, a strange thing happened. His grace found me in the unraveling.
When my reckless acceleration caused me to swerve—through days, nights and months of striving—He provided an escape ramp to keep me safe.
God used my weary body to get my attention.
Through feeling lousy He woke me up.
Through past mistakes He showed me a better way.
Through almost losing it He provided another chance.
His kindness, in letting my body suffer, revealed my need for repentance, to go His way, not speeding ahead nor lagging behind.
The enemy likes to mess with us, using whatever strategies he can to keep us off course.
He might try to freeze us with fear so we don’t offer what’s in our hands.
Or, if we do offer, he likes to turn our offering into an idol.
Or if we keep offering anyway, he likes to breed jealousy, insecurity or pride in our hearts as we lift up what God gave us, to reflect His glory.
Be mindful of his schemes (see 2 Corinthians 2:11).
Examine yourself to see if your motives are driving you straight towards destruction (see Proverbs 14:12 and Lamentations 3:40).
Release your grip on trying to make things happen.
Learn to unwind in His Presence and trust His timing.
You can experience that wind-in-your-hair freedom that comes from driving down open roads, and pursuing the places and spaces that He gives you. However, please learn from my mistakes, don’t turn down a path that leads to unnecessary injury to you and those with you.
Pay attention to the signs that He posts along the way.
Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”
Dear God: Oh how we need you. It’s easy to get side-tracked on this earthly journey. Help us to hold fast to Your Word and not wander away. Forgive us for running ahead of You, grieving Your Spirit by thinking we know best. Help us not get hung up on past mistakes but freely accept your grace and walk forward with You. Thank You for protecting us from the enemy. Thank You for shining Your light on our sin. Thank You that as we acknowledge You, You make our ways straight (Proverbs 3:5-8). Amen.
Katie M. Reid is a Tightly Wound Woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in the everyday moments of life. She delights in her hubby and four children and their life in ministry. Some of Katie’s favorite things are writing, singing, speaking and photography. She is a contributing writer for Purposeful Faith, God-sized Dreams and enjoys helping others take the next step in their relationship with Jesus and their God-given purpose. Katie would love to connect with you over on her blog, katiemreid.com.
21 CommentsLeave a comment
Katie, you really struck me with the idea of our offering becoming an idol. I truly want any potential book to be entirely God’s for his glory and for his purposes, but I am finding my mind getting wrapped up in the wait and publishers and all that they may be thinking or doing. The devil is trying to get his hands in there to pervert a pure intention. I am fightin’ back, girl! Thank you for calling out what needs to be called out. Time to rest deep down, knowing that he has me and I have him.
I hear ya Kelly. It’s easy for our pure intentions to get murky, yet His grace is there- helping us sift through and not get stuck there.
Yeah … when we step back in our exhaustion and frustration and pain, so much of the strving seems so very hollow and futile, doesn’t it …
Yes Linda, especially when it’s all in His timing anyway. Our part is to follow and His is to make things happen. When I stop fighting that (and Him) and start testing His Sufficieny (not mine) there is peace.
Katie, thank you for reminding me that His ways are better than anything I could dream up! I struggle with knowing where that line is between faith in my heavenly Father and doing my best! At what point am I striving and not trusting. …. May He grant you peace and quiet rest today!
I am with you lc, I know that can be a hard line to distinguish. I am so thankful for Katie’s words today that really get me thinking.
I understand that struggle. We definitely should do our best but follow His lead too. May He give us clarity and peace as we grow and learn how to do this better. 🙂
Kelly thank you for sharing this space with Katie. Katie I recognize the signs as I’ve been there myself. But I praise God for revealing it to you and pray for your continued sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and the discipline to obey.
It really seems Tyra, the more receptive we are to change, the more the little things show up by the power of the Spirit. Katie’s post is a great example of this, isn’t it?
Thank you Tyra. I am definitely stubborn and slow to learn at times but His grace is indeed beautiful as He provides boundary lines for us because of His great love.
Thank you for this very timely post. It resonates with me and serves as a great reminder to continuously seek God first.
I am so glad it spoke to you Sharon.
Hi Sharon- Glad you were encouraged. These are much harder words to live by than they were to write. Blessings as you seek Him first and His glorious grace when we forget.
So, so beautiful! I have so many friends in their 20s who are working their butt off in their jobs, and their marriages and families seem to fall to the wayside. What a sweet reminder to choose relationships and connection over working and control. I’ll be sharing this with some of those friends!
Katie spoke beautiful words. I completely agree. There is power in this message.
Thanks for sharing Katie, I needed this!! Before I got really sick a couple years ago I was the exact same way, continually running myself into the ground. It’s been during the last few years that I realized what I was doing, funny how getting super sick can make you reevaluate everything. I won’t be doing that again once I’m finally feeling better!
Hoping you feel better soon Abby- it’s been a long road but may you be encouraged that He’s walking with you.
OH! My heart, Katie. I know you wrote these words just for me, for this day. Yesterday I had a Dr. appointment & she basically said the same thing that you have here. I have not been taking care of myself. I have not been listening to the warning signs. My body is starting to suffer. As I read this, I started crying. It was like a breath of fresh air, a beacon of hope & rest. Thank you so much. I’m saving this so I can come back to it. Much love, sweet one. xoxo
Oh Kaylene, praising God someone can learn something from my mistakes- that’s Grace indeed. Rest well.
[…] Then why do I wrestle Him on this—round after round—trying to squeeze in “just one more thing”, until I collapse from exhaustion? […]