While listening to someone recently, I was distracted by a smidge of resentment flickering in the shadows of my soul. Later, as I examined my reaction with trusted friends, I wondered what the Holy Spirit might uncover. I had my doubts that it would be anything other than my own selfishness and lack of grace.
My reactions were unlovely to recount. It is humbling to confess dark thoughts and feelings, but God used my friends to expose an unhealthy belief under which I operate. Sometime in my growing, I had accepted responsibility for other person’s agendas for me. As I let this simmer in my soul, an inner knowing expanded with life: I am not responsible for another person’s agenda for me!
I am not responsible to carry out culture’s agenda for me as a woman, a consumer, or a citizen. I am not responsible for the church’s agenda for me. I am not responsible for my family’s agenda for me. I am not responsible for the agenda of my ego. The only agenda to be attentive to is God’s agenda for me!
I’ve tried to carry other folks’ agendas for me most of my life and they are demanding. Under their burden, I am not enough. I have to work harder and harder. Meeting those agendas is just out of reach, always a day, a month, or a year away. The rules for success keep changing. It tires me to keep up with the myriad of expectations. At times, I feel I’ve lost touch with me.
I’ve adapted, blended in, submitted, and charmed. I’ve dieted, exercised, colored, shopped and decorated. I’ve created goals, made lists and planned my hours. I’ve joined up, attended and led groups. I’ve managed, occasionally, to get on board with a current trend only to find it changing a few months later.
Fueling my responsibility for another’s plans for me is my attachment to approval, control, and success. As I release my grip on these ego soothers, I can claim me, who I am and God’s purpose for me. In that grace-filled expanse of awareness, the whispers of God’s invitations are more clearly discerned.
When my heart is open to God’s work in my life, I don’t need to protect, defend or explain me. When God’s approval and love are enough, I am enough. I can trust wisdom for my “Yes” and “No” which produces freedom to listen to, love and serve the precious people God places in my life.
Photo Credit: Deb Turnow
Melanie Horning is a brand-new Grammy looking at life with fresh lenses through a baby’s eyes. She enjoys books, a good laugh, running with her husband and soft-serve ice cream. God is redeeming her perfectionism and control issues. She counts it a privilege to be a companion to people through spiritual direction and friendship.