Last night I went to bed frustrated. I was stewing a bit, squirming in my heart with the attempt to quiet my steaming thoughts.
It’s not often that a conversation with a casual acquaintance sets off such an eruption, but last night, irritation was bubbling over.
As I tossed and turned, the Holy Spirit wafted in quiet waves across my heart. He began to reveal to me the root of the struggle: identity. My identity was being challenged to the core, and I could hardly take the testing.
God had begun speaking to my husband and me months back, challenging us to take steps of faith that, to the natural eye, seemed circumstantially impossible and a bit reckless. In addition, to walk in obedience to those instructions would require that the entire course of my life would be altered in just a few months’ time. Everything that I’ve been for the past eighteen years, the very fabric of who I was, would be re-woven into a new tapestry.
The most difficult part was, we didn’t really have instructions as to the pattern of that new picture. In essence, I was leaving behind the safety of the harbor, oftentimes grey or stormy but nonetheless safe and beloved, for the unmapped open seas. After months of prayer, seeking confirmation and counsel, and listening carefully for the whispers of the Holy Spirit, we had determined to hoist sail and follow The Lord into deeper waters.
Faith-walking is synonymous with challenge. That’s become part of my turf, and it was expected. What I didn’t anticipate was the magnifying glass hovering above my heart, exposing the vulnerable core of me. And when that precious, unsuspecting acquaintance posed her benign question, the throbbing turned into a roar.
The inescapable fact is, God just won’t let me get away with my identity being attached to anything.
Not to ANYTHING.
Not what I do. Not who I am. Not how productive I can be. Not how helpful, kind, understanding, or spiritual I can be. Not how often I can serve. Not how self-sacrificing I can be. Not how much praise I can garnish. Not even how humble I can be. Not how wise, how strong, how hopeful, or how discerning I can be. Not how well I can teach or how well I can love people. Not how well I can stand before hundreds or how well I can contentedly sit in the shadows.
Not to ANYTHING.
He has been so very good to highlight this for my wrestling heart time and again. My identity is in Him. In Him alone. And in the aftermath of last night’s midnight struggle, He gentleness had its way. His words melted the fierce pride in my heart, Your identity is not tied to your productivity, Tiffany. Wow. It took my breath away as I just laid there, trying to embrace the shift.
And here’s the crazy, only-God-can-do-a-thing-like-this connection: God has also been opening my eyes to Sabbath. Jubilee. Rest. It’s the inestimable gift He has for His children, but we blaze right past, flinging excuses to the wind as we shore ourselves up for the next wild race of a day. When God began to speak to my heart about this new season, He told me straight up: it’s about rest. That alone was enough for me to wrestle without adding the identity piece.
And what will happen if I actually take You at Your word and embrace a season of rest? Won’t the world begin to crumble? The sky begin to fall? And the kicker… won’t I lose all my identity markers? Those things I cling to so tightly that to let go of them might just risk me losing myself?
Lying there in bed, God walked me through a slow-motion recap of my conversation, this time allowing me to see what might have happened if my heart had responded with truth.
I am called to a season of rest. It is enough. It is more than enough.
I hit the mental rewind and played the new scene over and over again, relishing the warmth of shalom, God’s perfect peace, wrapping my heart and mind.
And I slept.
Special thanks to Rick Delanty who has granted permission to use his beautiful art in this post.