Written by: Amy Dalke
Last week, I had two weekday lunches with friends and met another for coffee on a random afternoon. I also had a meeting in the smack-dab middle of the day at a friend’s kitchen table.
Big deal, right?
Considering that I have met a friend for lunch approximately six times in the last four years…yes…it was kind of a big deal.
I am officially on a work hiatus. (Which I wish meant that I was an actress, just taking a break while my show is on hiatus. But it doesn’t, because I am not.) (As if anyone thought this in the first place.)
It does mean that my life has taken a one hundred and eighty degree turn in the last two weeks. This change is the result of a lengthy, prayerful, it’s-taking-forever-hurry-up-I’m-losing-patience process, but the reality has now been set into full swing.
My days have been…peculiar, and startlingly different.
For instance, I spent last week researching things like, “How to Get Published”; reading blogs titled, “Top Ten Things Every Writer Needs to Know”; and I spent lots of time simply trying to adjust to all this
S P A C E
on my daily calendar.
Much to Larry’s chagrin, he has yet to be greeted with a home-cooked meal at the end of his day’s work. Forgive me, I have not advanced that far on the list of “Things a Perfect Stay-at-Home-Mom Should Do“.
But don’t hold your breath, Husband. I am certain we are FAR from this:
Although I did make a batch of cookies and watched a movie on Lifetime on Saturday afternoon.
Larry’s anxiety level spiked when he walked into the bedroom, and I explained that my new way to multitask is watching television and playing Candy Crush at the same time.
He quickly set his radar to scope out bonbons, and determined that at the first sighting of which, this dream world of mine will be over.
It’s been all fun, games, and homemade cookies so far, but the culture shock is prevalent. A week ago Sunday night, I didn’t know what to do with myself. The Sunday Afternoon Stress did not have an object of affection. There were no client emails to answer, or follow-up calls to plan for the next day. I went to Luke’s baseball practice, because the suffocating workaholism was not breathing down my neck. Before you refer me to your sister’s therapist, I am quite aware that the tendency to overwork is merely a symptom of some inner issue. (Believe me. If there is anyone who knows ISSUES, it’s yours truly. I have a drawer full of them. Plus, I have my own therapist…but thanks.)
Speaking of issues, this transition has brought me face to face with the question:
“Who am I…really?”
In a previous post, I talked about how my career has long been a mirror of worth. It does not take a philosopher to realize that without the title and responsibilities of a business leader, my soul is forced to dig deep for real answers.
Performance, Accomplishments, and Success are deeply worn notches on the self-made measuring stick of my worth. I know intellectually that these things will not (cannot) save me, yet I still pursue them as though my life depends on achievement.
By the grace of God, I am slowly learning (again) that no title, no position, and no amount of income defines me.
My worth, your worth, is not determined by what we do.
This is a difficult truth to swallow when our culture and society measures our value by the roles we play, the size of our bank accounts, and the things we accumulate to prove we’ve made it.
God’s value system is turned upside down from the worldview. He runs on a current that flows in the opposite direction of our world’s belief system.
Ephesians 2: 8-9 (ESV) says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
It’s only by grace that my life…or your life…is worth a darn thing. As human beings born into a corrupt world, we can never measure up to the great value God placed on our lives. We cannot work hard enough to earn salvation, or perform well enough to earn grace.
The gospel says I don’t have to strive to define my worth through my own accomplishments.
The gospel says I could not, even if I tried.
The gospel says that my life is measured only by the saving love of Christ.
It would be profoundly misleading to say this remarkable truth is so deeply rooted in my mind, that my daily life (thoughts, feelings, actions) automatically falls in line.
(If God were to consult me, I would opine that life would be much easier if He blinked us into completeness, at the moment of our salvation. Then, we could skip the character/faith building trials, and the painful transformation process.)
Since it does not work that way, this learning…this renewal process is gut wrenching.
The Truth of who I am…and where my value comes from…is not yet fully locked into the patchwork of my soul. My head believes…and my soul is working on it.
“I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you [and me] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 ESV
I expect some battles in my head in these upcoming days. I will struggle with questions about my worth, but those times will prompt me to look more deeply into the mirror of His Word.
Whatever you do, whether you work outside or inside the house…whether you trade stocks, or recipes, or none of these — your value is not defined by your own awesomeness.
The gospel says that your life is measured only by the saving love of Christ.
p.s. This hiatus does not qualify me for PTA. There. I said it. And I’m not sorry.