I so readily fall prey to the all-too-human compulsion to be indispensable. I want to be needed, to have my contribution be valued, to be someone people look up to as a leader, a wise person, a good friend. My primary leadership mantra has always been to raise up leaders to come after you who can do the job better – but it is oh so hard when I want to be the savior, the one who figured it out and made things happen, the one who is indispensable. It’s so much safer to be the one who can do it all, to whom people come to fill all sorts of needs.
But I have failed on all fronts. And that massive, horrendous failure has left me feeling feeling worthless and hopeless, All I want to do is crawl into a cave, lick my wounds, and growl at anyone who tries to poke their head in to check on me. And this is what I have been doing.
But the funny thing is – I found Jesus sitting in that cave, waiting for me. I found Him waiting to wipe my tears, to embrace me in his love and grace, to listen to my tantrums. And once we made it through that process, He is there to reassure me that my worth has nothing to do with my work. I am indispensable because of who He created me to be, not what I can do.
This year is my Sabbath from doing. I am taking a rest from “ministry,” from leadership, from DOING STUFF. I am focusing on the now, resting in God’s promises, and attempting to experience this year-long sabbath with “rhythms, intentionality, and expectation” (Sabbath Keeping, Lynne Baab, page 102).
Seeing this time as a time to let my field lie fallow has been energizing for me. Instead of feeling guilty because I am not using the gifts that God has given to me, I am enjoying the process of resting. Is it because there is still that part inside of me that wants to be useful, and knowing that this time of silence is temporary makes it bearable? Perhaps there is some of that – but I am truly enjoying the peacefulness of being that field, used to exhaustion and now sitting, allowing the Spirit to shower it (me!!) with love, grace, and encouragement in preparation for the next season of growing.
And I notice – I’m not cowering in my cave any more. I am indispensable – to God. Is it enough? In the depth of my heart, I know it is enough. I will likely still go through times when I feel like I need to DO STUFF, but I hope I will do it with a spirit of ministry – love and grace – and not from trying to be in control of what people think of me.
“…on the Sabbath [year] we deliberately remember that we have ceased trying to be God and instead have put our lives back into his control.” (Keeping the Sabbath Wholly, Marva Dawn, page 76, brackets mine)