Work, Work, Work
I worked as a maid during my first year in college, and it was a year in which I wasn’t just bone-tired, I was weary. This is what I didn’t know then- Our weariness matters to God.
I am thankful for my time as a maid, because it made me a better person. I have a deep appreciation for those who work in service industries. Decades later, they still feel like part of my tribe.
But being a maid was terrible too, and not because of the treatment I received from others. It was terrible because of how I treated myself.
I didn’t advocate for or defend myself. I drove myself to work harder and harder, even when I was exhausted or sick.
A Tale of Two Worlds
In a world of tall columns and country clubs, luxurious lawns and private schools, I was a bargain-bin, all-purpose servant. I scrubbed bathrooms, polished doorknobs, and vacuumed the carpet in careful, straight lines. (If not, I had to do it over.) I watched the kids, drove carpool, raked leaves, swept porches, and took out the dog.
All for a whopping $5.00 per hour.
By the time I left work each day, it was dark, and the school cafeteria was closed. Dinner was usually a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. On a rare occasion, I splurged on a Burrito Supreme from Taco Bell.
Back in the dorm, I climbed the three flights of stairs to my room, collapsed into the chair behind my desk, and opened my books. It was time to study. I kept a printout of the semester’s bill taped above my desk to remind me that rest was NOT an option.
I graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and a serious need of therapy.
I wasn’t just tired, I was weary.
All. The. Time
Weary vs Tired
I have decided there is an important difference between “tired” and “weary.” Tired is what happens when we have worked hard and need a break. Weary is what happens when we don’t get it.
God doesn’t intend for His kids to live weary.
He has woven rhythms of work and rest into the very fabric of creation. Each day, the sun sets. Growing seasons of spring and summer, inevitably give way to autumn and winter. He even set aside the Sabbath as a day of rest each week.
Lies I Have Believed
It is hard to admit, but I have realized my lifetime of weariness has been a prison of my own making, one built on lies like…
My worth is not in who I am, but what I do.
There isn’t enough to go around.
I am “less than” (my employers, husband, children, friends…)
Boundaries are selfish.
A “godly woman” puts everyone else’s needs before hers all of the time and never asks for anything for herself.
It is very much a “slave mentality.”
But What Does God Say?
God says I am not a slave. He says I am His child.
- My worth is woven into my very being. (Genesis 1:27)
- He is a God of abundance, and my provision is in His hands. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
- I am worth just as much as anyone else. In fact, I am the apple of God’s eye. (Psalm 17:8)
- God values everyone’s boundaries, especially those who are vulnerable. (Proverbs 15:25)
- God wants all of us to serve each other, not just women. Not just moms. Everyone. If I am doing all of the serving, it is up to me to require more of my relationships. (Galatians 3:28)
How Do I Change?
It is hard to change the patterns of a lifetime, but I am trying. I am asking God to heal my thinking, and to show me how He loves me. I am resting when I am tired. I am trying to treat myself more kindly when I run out of time, strength, and courage.
I am stretching myself to ask more of others too.
Basically, I am trying to more deeply understand what I am worth to God, and then honor that.
Have you ever wondered why God encouraged the Jews to recline to eat during the Passover? It is because it was an outward demonstration that they were no longer slaves. In their culture, servants stood to eat. Masters reclined. By reclining to eat, the Jews were honoring God’s great act of deliverance from slavery in Egypt.
God wants us to serve each other, but we don’t honor him by living like slaves. We are His kids, and we should act like it.Tweet
Get the Story!
Jesus celebrated His last Passover with his friends just before he went to the cross. He had a lot to say about godly service. Read about it in, “The Kingdom of God: Washing the Disciples’ Feet, in Arms Open Wide: A Call to Linger in the Savior’s Presence.