THE ESCAPING OF ME
For many of us, the escaping of me might look like some faraway exotic place where cascades of water, reddish-orange sunrises, crystallized blue beaches or rainforests are the norm -- outside the normalcy of our everyday routines. Whether it's the passionate hustle of successful entrepreneurship, the flyness of singlehood, the poised posture of a firmly fit wife, a loving disciplinarian to the children, an on or off-campus student, it can appear unreachable at times.
During the childrearing years, it was almost considered the norm as it related to placing others before myself. In reflection upon those years, I realize the determination to balance the overall structure of the home, the side-hustle, theological training, and a nine-to-five sometimes left me feeling invisible and unappreciated towards myself, not others. Now that's real talk right there!
Although we've culturally and ethically have evolved light-years beyond many of the mothers of the faith, there are women in Scripture whose lives are close in proximity to ours. I'm reminded of a woman in Scripture by the name of Dorcas, whose deeds genuinely depicted 1 Timothy 6:18 (NLT) which says "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." She was a beautiful woman, financially savvy, doctrinally sound in her faith and greatly poised in apathy towards the poor (widows and orphans); even to her detriment. But before we judge her efforts, might we glean from and re-evaluate the glaring similarities associated with our lives.
Who is Dorcas? Is she relevant to today's woman? Absolutely! She was a serial entrepreneur who was passionate about her hustle and exceptional in the giving of herself to others. Like many of us, she became passionately obsessed with her passion. What do I mean? Dorcas allowed her giving to others to outweigh the gift of self-giving; the escaping of me. Let me be clear, I'm not talking about another shopping spree or another expensive passé country club luncheon empty of life-sustaining dialogue, but self-imposed soul pampering.
Like Dorcas, we tend to manage the damage or assess the need of others more readily than we do spiritual audits on ourselves. If in the financial world an audit is capable of balancing one's deposits and withdrawals in their accounts, why would it be any different in our lives? If we're purposing "to grow in grace, to bring forth fruit in old age, and be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love and contentment]" according to Psalm 92:14, then self-imposed audits to evaluate the deposits and withdrawals made on our time, energy, creativity, commitment, and resources must become a part of our mental wellness.
In order to embrace the process in my life, it required the intentional execution of self-imposed audits in the following areas: weaknesses, strengths, priorities, the ministry of self and relationships and commitments.
Because we're not natural beings having a spiritual encounter, but rather spiritual beings having a natural encounter, we must learn to audit our weaknesses according to Isaiah 40:29 which says He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. In other words, it's hard to see who we are when we're too busy looking at who we are not - choose to celebrate your weaknesses while gauging your limitations and frailties from a healthy perspective.
Dorcas whose name in Greek means "gazelle" or Tabitha in Aramaic was known for her good works and acts of love for the poor; she was much-loved in Joppa. When she became ill and died, the believers who knew Dorcas heard that the Apostle Peter was in the nearby town of Lydda helping a paralytic named Aeneas when they sent urgently for him. When he arrived at the home where Dorcas’ body had been laid out, he went up to see the body. There were many widows there, weeping. They all showed Peter “the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them”— tangible evidence of Dorcas’ loving service (Acts 9:36-39). Unequivocally, we all are susceptible to becoming weary in our well-doing for others, however, wisdom proves exhaustion can lead to confusion and carelessness and even death (Galatians 6:9). You see there's something on the inside of us the enemy fears. If he can get us to exhaust the measure of grace assigned to us inevitably we'll end up depleting our reservoir while becoming ineffective on many levels. So stop depleting your reservoir and being everything to everybody. Stay focused and learn to pursue what God has strengthened you to pursue.