Have you ever heard Father tell you to “Step Back”? I have heard Him say that to me quite a bit over the past few years. For those of you who know me, you know that I tend to be extremely busy and the word “no” never seems to enter my vocabulary. About two years ago, Father started telling me to step back in some areas of my life. I would love to say that I immediately stepped back and never questioned this or fought back, alas, I did not. I was very involved in a leadership role at my school through attending training meetings and being involved with various committees. It came to a point where I had to make a decision about deepening that involvement. I felt like I should take the plunge, but something within me was struggling. Then, the voice of reason from my husband gave me a reality check on the time commitment that it would involve. This was the first of many step backs. I remember at the time being disgruntled and upset about it, yet now as I look at my life, I see the wisdom in that decision.
So while I was attending all these leadership meetings for my school, I had people suggest that maybe I should go into administration. I began to pursue that thought and looked into various ways to get my certification. I was about to start an online program when again I heard, “Step Back,” and my husband confirmed it, along with another special friend. That next year ended up being the beginning of some crazy personal struggles going on in my life. I would not have been able to be a mom and wife, go to work, and take classes. Again, I saw the wisdom in this decision as I look back at the season my life was about to enter.
One of the benefits of stepping back was being able to spend more time on the SHINE Club at Bonne Ecole. All of the hugs and smiles I receive from all of those kids was and is one of the best gifts I receive at school. Father was intentionally removing things from my life to make room for better things. Years ago when Father called me into teaching, He whispered in my ear, “Love the children.” Through being involved with SHINE, I have been able to love many children. I am honored to be able to work with all of them. This year I was able to have an even bigger team for SHINE. There really are no words to describe how amazing all of these ladies are and what a blessing they are to me and the students at Bonne Ecole. SHINE is something that I let consume me at times as well, yet this past year, I had to step back more and allow these ladies to step in. There was a day when I could not come to school at the last minute due to a medical emergency in my family. These ladies stepped in and took over the SHINE meeting for the day. Their ideas and talents have made this year wonderful for the SHINE Club. If I had not stepped back, they would not have been able to step in and SHINE!!
The next step back was a very personal one. I tend to get really involved in the lives of others when they are hurting and struggling. I jump right in many times without thinking of what this will cost me personally (especially in the area of time with my family), spiritually, and emotionally. I got to the point of utter exhaustion. I was so busy helping others and worrying about their problems that I did not realize I was about to be overcome by an avalanche of my own issues. For me, it is easier to step in and help others and ignore my own issues. Father loves me too much to keep me from healing and growing more in my knowledge of who I am in in Christ. That was why He said to step back and take care of myself. That is a REALLY hard thing for me to do, yet it has been one of the best decisions of my life. You see when you finally stop helping everyone around you, it opens the door for others to actually step in and help you. I am so used to being in the role of helping others that it felt very weird to start asking people to help me.
I began to really need to ask for help when I had some family members go through some major health battles, and I had to ask MANY friends to help me and to help them. I have never been so overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of others until I went through all of this. I had friends from school and church bringing food to my family members, come and sit with them and pray with them in the hospital, come and sit with me and bring food to me, and I even had some who went and decorated my door at school. I needed to learn how to receive from others. Let me tell you … it was a struggle for me. I felt like I caught myself constantly apologizing to people. I remember having some friends stop me as I was apologizing and tell me what a blessing it was to give to me. I knew that I needed to receive these gifts of love from all of them. I have grown so much in this area, and I am learning to say, "I cannot do this on my own; can you help me?"
Father wants me to live in a state of dependence on him, not in a state of independence. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
Stepping back does not mean disengaging from life and becoming a hermit. It means I am in a place where I am learning to say no and knowing that it will be alright. I was not made to do everything and be in the middle of everything. My prayer for all of you is that you are able to discern areas where you need to step back and reevaluate. My pray is that Father will whisper into your ear and speak words of truth as to who you are and whose you are. Below I have included Dennis Jernigan’s interpretation of Zephaniah 3:17. As you read these words, imagine Father speaking them over you.
The Eternal, self-existent God
The God who is three in one
He who dwells in the center of your being
Is a powerful, valiant warrior
He is come to set you free
To keep you safe
And to bring you victory.
He is cheered
And He beams with exceeding joy
And takes pleasure in your presence
He has engraved a place
For Himself in you
And there He quietly rests
In His love and affection for you.
He cannot contain Himself at the thought of you
And with the greatest of joy
Spins around wildly
In anticipation over you
And has placed you above all other creations
And in the highest place in His priorities
In fact, he shouts and sings in triumph
Joyfully proclaiming the gladness of His heart
In a song of rejoicing...
All because of YOU!!
Resting in His Love,
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