When you read this title did you picture yourself lying by the pool with a Strawberry Daiquiri in your hands? That would be nice too, but the kind of listlessness I’m talking about is days without making a list. God has called me to fast from list making for the next two months – through the holiday season no less – and I am both excited and terrified.
What began as a release from a spiritual stronghold in my life has become a challenge from the Lord. One that I anticipate will bring me to a new place of freedom and growth. But, as is true with all freedom, it will take a battle to get there.
God has recently revealed to me that Satan had a stronghold on my life through the avenue of fear: fear of real or perceived rejection. I had to ask for God's forgiveness for allowing this to have a hold on me. Then I began arming myself with scripture to combat future attacks in this area. That’s when God surprised me.
“I want you to fast from making a daily to do list,” He spoke to my heart.
Having just spent two “listless” days in the aftermath of completing a book, I knew that this might be a good thing to do for another day or so. “Okay God, how long?” I asked.
“For the rest of this month and through November and December.”
I blinked. I had already made my list for the day and I was willing to let it go. But two months? “Lord, you realize that’s through the holidays, don’t you? What if I forget something vital? How will I get everything done?”
I could feel His benevolent smile, “Do you trust me to lead you? Will you look to me instead of your list?” The only concession He made was that I could jot down appointment reminders and a list of what I am purchasing for Christmas and birthdays (perhaps so I don’t have to go on a two month fast from overspending in the New Year).
God showed me the connection between my daily list and the stronghold of fear of rejection. From my teenage days on I have planned every detail of my days in order to prove that I am worthy. I believed what I accomplished was evidence that I had value, because I was doing things and crossing them off. I realized I was trying to earn the approval of God, others, and myself. When I was rejected by the one I loved more than anyone, the need for a list became even more pronounced in my life. I even wrote things down after doing them so I could cross them off my list and feel good about myself.
At first the idea of going for two months without a list filled me with raw fear. In fact, I first coined this article “The Terrifying Days of Listlessness” until God reminded me that in Him there is no fear. Now, I am beginning to look forward to the incredible things He is going to do in my life during these next two months.
No longer will I make my list for the day and show it to God asking for His stamp of approval. Instead of constantly referring to it throughout the day to tell me what to do, I will be looking to my Father and asking Him. My self worth will not come from what I do and how many items I have crossed off, but from God’s Word and His assurance of unfailing love for me. Neither will there be the circled items to testify against me at the end of the day that I didn't "earn my keep." No piece of paper saying that I have failed and must do more to be worthy of love. And when someone calls I won’t hurry through our conversation like it is an “interruption” to my day. I can relax and go with the flow, knowing that people are always first in God’s agenda.
God is calling me to be free of the tyranny of the ought’s and should’s, the if-only’s and what-if’s. He is inviting me to rest in His presence and simply be. This is not to say I won’t be doing all the things I normally do. The difference is, I hope to be doing them at my Lord’s direction, simply for the joy of serving Him and others, and not to impress or “buy” approval from anyone.
This will definitely be an adventure. I’ll try to keep you posted and if I forget, ask me how it’s going. I would love to hear from you too. Where do you get your sense of self-worth? What is your weak area and how do you combat the lies of the enemy when he comes to steal, kill, and destroy the truth of God’s love for you?
~ (c) Beth Vice, January 2010