The Pressure's Off

The pressure to perform is off.

I spent many years in a place of brokenness. There was much to be healed in my heart, but it took time for that healing to come, and for me to surrender. I developed some unhealthy views of God in that place of brokenness. I didn’t understand grace so I lived under the law.

I was certain God was calculating my worth based on my actions.

The lies came along on the daily reminding me that if I messed it up, or did it wrong, or wasted time the consequence would be severe because, after all, God was running a country club and only the most achieved made it in.

I’ve come a long way from that frail, broken girl turned woman who worked so hard to earn her worth. Jesus came along like a gentle gardener and asked permission to come inside and tend to the weeds strangling the life out of my heart. My trust in him was fragile at best, but I found the courage to press through the doubt and found him to be good and kind. With every weed he pulled up, I felt the release of fear, worry, and sorrow leave my soul.

Life is nothing if not seasonal.

Nowhere will you find “steady” as a definition for life. Every soul goes through seasons in life. The very way we grow from children to adults proves that life is seasonal. Often, though, we are resistant to change and so we struggle to see God's provision for us in every season.

Jesus is the tool giver.

All of us are given a toolbox at the beginning of this journey with Jesus but unlike the one sitting in the garage, filled with all kinds of unnamed tools, the one Jesus gives us only has the specific tools needed for the specific season we are in.

Can you imagine if he handed you a toolbox full to the brim with tools you had no idea how to use?

The stress and pressure to perform would be so intense that we would run as far away as possible. Instead, Jesus sits down with us and pulls out those few tools in the box, and he shows us how to use them. He never puts tools in there that are to heavy or cumbersome for where we are on this journey. He is more concerned with the state of our hearts than the state of our affairs and so he guides us carefully and gently through each season giving us only what we can handle in that moment.

We are meant to be like children.

Children explore, discover and create. Unless told otherwise, children just assume that the world is their own personal gift and they are meant to uncover the treasures in it. This is how Jesus desires to interact with us. He puts the right tool in our hands for the right season and shows us how to use them to explore, discover and create.

For me, the season of healing led to the season of dreaming. I wasn’t able to see beyond my brokenness until Jesus came and made me whole. Then, the dreams that I believe were there from the beginning began sprouting through the surface and my perspective on life changed completely. As that season shifted, I found the tools in my toolbox changing.

There hasn’t been a season I’ve walked through where Jesus hasn’t given me the exact tools I needed to move through it with grace and freedom.

When I was holding babies and changing diapers, his rest was my tool. When I was allowing my fractured heart to face the light of day, his courage was my tool. When I discovered the dream of writing, he put words in my mouth and a pen in my hand as my tool.

While I’ve learned that there is no pressure to perform, I admit that the temptation is always there to think I must “get it right.” When I begin caving to that pressure, though, is when the gift becomes a burden and the season loses its joy. When I center my heart on Jesus and his goodness, I find myself able to move through every season with peace and I’m able to explore the gifts he’s given, using the tools he places in my hands.

Jesus isn’t looking at you hoping you’ll measure up, friend. He is eager to take you on a journey of exploration. The tools in your toolbox right now are meant to be used for your joy, your creativity…for your pleasure. This season you are in is preparing you for the next season because that is always how Jesus works in us. He moves us from one season to the next and only when we surrender to his leading do we find joy in the journey. Trusting his leading means trusting that he gives us what we need when we need it.

What season are you in right now? What tools are in your toolbox right now?

Don't for a minute believe that your toolbox is empty. God loves you too much not to give you just what you need in this season. He is, right this minute, thinking of you and the good things he has planned for you.

You have a toolbox designed specifically for you and if you will open it you will find Jesus has supplied you with just the right tools for this season in your life. When it's time for a change, you'll find your toolbox looks different because it has a few new tools, meant to help you in the new season. In every season, he will be faithful to give you what you need.

So, what are you waiting for?

Go explore. Go discover. Go create.

Shannon Keys makes her home in Phoenix where she is a pastor’s wife, mom, author, and speaker. She is currently working towards the publication of her first novel, a story of redemption when all hope seems lost. Her greatest desire is to infuse the hope of Jesus into the brokenhearted through sharing her own story of overcoming childhood abuse. To learn more visit: mylittlejourney.com