the woman I no longer need to be . . .

Siix years ago in my dreaming, I didn’t plan on my current reality. The life I’m living today wasn’t the life I was dreaming about in my yesterday. Six years ago . . .

  • I had just written my first book / Bible study about the prophet Nehemiah and was sure it would be an instant best-seller (it’s currently collecting dust on a shelf alongside two other unpublished works);
  • I was knee-deep into Beth Moore Bible studies, both as learner and facilitator;
  • I was enjoying the idea of free time, “me time” (child #4 had entered the world of Kindergarten);
  • I began a speaking ministry beyond the boundaries of my local church;
  • I was strong (physically, mentally, and spiritually);
  • I was deeply and “holy” motivated for the future.

Six years later, here I am . . . less of all of these.

  • Less writing;
  • Less Bible studying, both as learner and facilitator;
  • Less free time, “me time”;
  • Less speaking;
  • Less strong;
  • Less motivated.

And mostly, I’m undisturbed by the transformation of my dreaming. Why? Because I no longer need to be the woman I once dreamed about being. Instead, I’m making peace with the woman I am . . . right now, today, no strings attached to an agenda that stretches me beyond reasonable, God-ordained limits. No lofty expectations that push me much further ahead than these next twenty-four hours.

Six years ago, maybe even six months ago, I was caught up in an uncontrollable current of need—needing to matter; needing to be needed. Today, it seems as if I need my “need” to a lesser degree. I just want to live in and with the truth that all I have ever needed is the “all” that I currently hold in my heart.

Today (not six years ago), I’m living my dream in proportion to my need, and it is enough. At forty-six years old, my need is being tempered by truth, and the truth is: less is more in the economy of God. Less is freedom. Less is faith.

Oh for the wisdom and strength of God to finally be able to release the need that cripples us and keeps us from knowing peace . . . from living free!

Are you there, friend? Are you caught up in a long-standing dream that makes less sense to you today than it did six years ago? Are you fighting the current of your need—needing to matter, needing to be needed? How long have you walked around and within the parameters of your plans, refusing to consider God’s plan for your right now? Has tomorrow’s focus become too broad, too cumbersome, and too consuming so as to overshadow today’s sunshine? What dreams are preventing you from fully and completely living the life in front of you?

Are you willing to let go of what’s in your hands in order to take hold of what’s in God’s?

I’ve spent a lot of years holding on to dreams that have yet to breathe, a lot of time striving to be more—to be that woman who lands a spot on the stage, in the magazines, in the headlines, on the best-sellers’ list. She seems just out of reach for me . . . that woman. Accordingly, I’ve made a decision. I no longer need to be her. Today, I’m letting her go. Today, instead, I’m opening up my hands to the Father and allowing him to fill them with the glorious witness of this moment . . . a moment of less that feels a great deal like more.

Go live your life, friends. Right now. Don’t waste another minute. I’m not asking you to throw away your dreams; I’m simply challenging you to live the dream that is currently on deck. It’s called today, and it won’t last forever. Let it be enough, and let the truth of who you are be enough.

You are God’s. Be at peace.

42 Responses to the woman I no longer need to be . . .

  1. Elaine, wow. I don’t mean this in a condescending or even maternal way at all, but I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!! So honored to be your friend and sister in Christ. I wrestled with all of this long ago (to a lesser degree), and I came to the same conclusion. “Just stay little, Laura. Simple is best right now. If I want to bring an increase, if I want to expand your territory, I’ll let you know, but for now, just let it go.” You were so supportive to me on that journey, and I am here for you too.

    I’m always so thankful when I see a new post pop up with your name on it. I’ve learned so much about my own faith walk through your pen. God is faithful. I look forward to seeing what extraordinary things He will do through you as you depend on Him each tiny step of the way. Love you, my friend.

  2. You hit my life perfectly. This is exactly how I feel now whet I am in my dreams. Less is better. I’m happy just being where I am. These dreams mean so much more.

    • God has moved you back to a wonderful place, Terri. I sense the shift in your soul, even as I shift one in mine. Blessings, sister, as you travel on in peace . . . with Peace.

  3. When we are young and strong and pretty much in charge of our lives, we dream, and we want to be used by God, but when life changes, and He takes us deeper, the lessons and the shifting in our hearts is at a different level. Our desires, wills and hopes change in the process. Until we’ve been through some of that, we don’t always recognize it as the purifying process of a loving God who knows exactly what we should look like, and how we can best reflect Him. It’s a process no one really wants, but what results is the real fruit we dreamed about. Sometimes it seems too long and too much and too hard, and all the while, He is being formed in us in ways we could never have done on our own. I loved this post Elaine…

  4. I cannot help but think about the illusion of control that permeated my yesterlife. Plans. Goals. Objectives. Watches & calendars. All good stuff, but little of it under my control for more than 13 seconds.

    This is a wisdom post, Elaine. Some never “get it”. Sometimes I still don’t.

    Your less is more. And all that “more” is far less than God has planned. What a trade!

  5. Elaine, bless you as you’ve let go of what you thought you needed and opened instead to what God has for you. So wise to submit our dreams continually to what the Father has for us and trust that it is just right. After all, it is. Also love how you encouraged us to live the dream that is currently on deck — the life we have today. I need that reminder regularly. Blessings to you!

  6. This is a subject that sometimes really bothers me as I can’t say as I was ever a big dreamer…and WHY not? I knew I wanted to be a wife and a mother and a woman who loved God and lived her life in such a way that others might want to love and know Him too, but that was about the extent of it. Well I became a mother at such a young age (no not planned or deliberate, but just was) and had 4 more children and was blessed to be a stay at home mom and did all I could to live those days to fullest. I did dream big for them! I made a home, took care of my family, learned to craft and sew and bake, and that was it. I never thought of much else. When my children were raised and my nest was empty was when I finally began thinking and dreaming of what now? I prayed about it for at least a couple of years it seemed with not many answers. I kept thinking surely the Lord will put a desire in my heart or a need in my way. Instead I just seemed to enjoy my adult children and grandkids, and life in general. I kept praying. I guess I feel now beyond a shadow of a doubt my answer has come in the need of caring for my mother. While I don’t think I would have picked this as my purpose, I am willing and able. I will do it as long as He gives me strength to do so. (though today was a REALLY hard day). So I guess I wonder, did I live my dream? Or did I never really challenge myself to do so? I am so inspired by women like you who influence soo many for the Kingdom, who have actually written books that have inspired so many. I am happy for you that you have settled into a good place. That the Lord uses you in ways you may not even know. But I agree, your less is soo much more! HUGS

    • I’m thinking on this very thing, Debbie, and will probably write some more on the topic in coming days. Don’t underestimate the worthiness of your life, Debbie. In many ways, we’ve done a great disservice to our Christian calling by talking about it so much. What’s your calling? What’s your dream? In doing so, we undercut the witness of what’s going on in our lives right now!!! I’m tired of the push to do more, be more, here’s the measuring line so keep it, kind of mentality. Instead, I want to just breathe in what’s here and not be swayed by the dangling maybes in front of me. Might they (in a way) be enemy-driven rather than God-driven? Something to think about. Love you.

  7. Wow! I have no comment because you have given me some serious fodder to chew here. Questions that you have placed in my heart. Things I know I need to meditate on. Things I need to assess.

  8. You, my friend, have put into words what has been ruminating in my mind and heart. Whatever our now is, if we are in the center of God’s will, is what is best for us. It is a hard thing to learn when your dreams have been so big, so vivid, and you have thought you had them in reach. I want to be joyous in the now…in the journey of today…not always looking for what MIGHT be tomorrow, but content in the today. Bless you, dear one.

    • God is leading so many us into a clearer understanding about these things, Leah. Praying his tender leading for you and for others this day.

    • Thank you for being here, Kristi! I haven’t “seen” you here before, but please know I welcome your presence. I’ll be over later today to get a “look” at you. Shalom!

  9. What a beautiful post my sweet friend. It is one that I needed to read and I’m sure it will speak to the hearts of many of us who come here. I love that God uses us to convict and thereby edify and grow each other. The kingdom of God and the fellowship of sisters in Christ is just the most amazing thing.

    Thank you for TRUTH and thank you for letting Him speak through your pen!

  10. God is good and He is a loving Father. God is also a God of completion. Apostle Paul assures me, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Ph. 1:6

    At the time of being diagnosed with cancer, I was confessing my “unhappinesses” and ready to make changes where needed. However, cancer put all of that good, deep work on hold. Recently, (four years later) I submitted myself again to God’s good, deep work in creating a whole, unified woman.

    Because of some stresses in my life prior to cancer, without my knowing, I compartmentalized my unhappiness from my every day life. My unhappiness was secret and I was able to successfully live a life of pretense, no one knew how desperate I was.

    After 20 years and with the help of a counselor, the other week I finally came to the top of Despair Mountain. God gently and lovingly showed me how I had grown to deny myself and how I learned to cope with and hide my lostness. I believe I am just starting the downhill descent.

    It is my hope and prayer that my wall that separated my unhappiness from every day life will fall and I will be one person, whole and fulfilled; whole and fulfilled in Christ first and who I am as a woman second. I look forward to becoming a unified woman and living my last decades in peace.

    My story is a little different than yours, Elaine, but peace is the underlying factor and all of God’s children desire the “peace that surpasses” our understanding.

    Cyndi
    http://advocateofhope.wordpress.com

    • Oswald Chambers writes:
      “Thank God for being able to see all that you have not yet been. You have had the vision, but you are not yet to the reality of it by any means. It is when we are in the valley, where we prove whether we will be the choice ones, that most of us turn back. We are not quite prepared for the bumps and bruises that must come if we are going to be turned into the shape of the vision. We have seen what we are not, and what God wants us to be, but are we willing to be battered into the shape of the vision to be used by God? The beatings will always come in the most common, everyday ways and through common, everyday people.

      There are times when we do know what God’s purpose is; whether we will let the vision be turned into actual character depends on us, no on God.” (“My Utmost for His Highest”, October 4th entry)

  11. “less is more in the economy of God. Less is freedom. Less is faith.” So true my friend, so true. Walking that path with you in so many ways!!

    Love ya! Pamela

  12. Once again, my friend, you have so beautifully captured in words where I too reside these days. Amazing and profound. I realized as I read your post — the peace I now find in my soul has everything to do with a willingness to ACCEPT (and be grateful for) where God has me. Though the pain of the last couple of years was justified, it was compounded so much by my insistence to fight the changing landscape of my life. I really thought I needed to be that woman. Praise God for his patience with me. He waited until I finally relinquished her (out of exhaustion as much as faithfulness). It was only then that the long-pursued peace (and a gentler strength) returned. Like you, in so many ways, I’m a different person now and yes, finally, FINALLY coming now to accept and appreciate the woman I now am. Thanks and love…Tracy

    • You’ve been through a lot, Tracy, and in some ways, I’ve stood where you are standing. God is moving you into a new place, a spacious, gracious place of rest. To date, you’ve seen some growth in your heart, soul, and spirit. But sister-warrior, it ain’t nothing compared to what’s coming! Keep the faith. Love you.

  13. Seconds. Seconds mind you before opening this post I was wondering to ABBA, “what do I have to do to become the woman I think I should be but so far I’m not?”

    “Instead, I’m making peace with the woman I am . . . right now, today,”

    This must surely be HIS answer! Thank you, Elaine!! You are a treasured sister-friend!

    • You are far more loved, accepted, and celebrated by the Father than you currently can understand, Kathie. With Jesus in your heart and the Holy Spirit’s daily refinement, you are exactly where you need to be. It is enough. He is enough. Be at rest.

  14. This should be required reading for women everywhere…what a difference it would make if we made a commitment from the start to “let go of what’s in your hands in order to take hold of what’s in God’s”

    But therein is a mighty lesson of life…

    • You know what, Karen? I’ve probably read something like this a thousand different times on a thousand different days. I’ve certainly heard it again and again throughout the course of my earthly tenure. But as our friend, Sonja, writes above . . . sometimes we don’t receive it as personal treasure until we’ve grunted it out in the trenches. Thanks for being here, friend. I pray my experience will encourage others to rest in God and let go!

  15. “Instead, I’m making peace with the woman I am . . . right now, today, no strings attached to an agenda that stretches me beyond reasonable, God-ordained limits.”

    Elaine, you wrote almost word-for-word what I wrote in my journal book a few days ago. I am in that place; differently from you but similar in some ways so I understand.

    Love you!

  16. I think you’ve “surrendered,” girlfriend. You and I have talked about this, and it sounds as if you’ve either done that, or like many of us do, are trying it on for size. You already have a stage, this one at PeacefortheJourney, and you deliver truthful and needed material to your audience. You are needed, here. You matter to us. Think of all the people who can’t claim that.

    You are loved,
    Brenda

  17. I really enjoyed your post. I am now sixty-seven and I have had many of those moments.
    God is so good. He doesn’t make all the changes at one time but keeps it a little at a time. God bless you.

    Glenda Parker

  18. Your post so resonated with me. It was words that I deeply needed to hear. I would say that you must be so much more a remarkable and gifted woman than you were six years ago. Your writing is beyond beautiful and comes out of a deep place in you that God has carved out.

  19. wifeforthejourney:

    Seeing the number of comments today it seems that you have, in a very positive way, “struck a nerve” in us all. Just a short 24 hours ago I was lamenting my frustrations with the long and ever-changing list of things I cannot control in life. Though I have found, time and again, that the shortest path to unhappiness is comparing myself and my circumstances to others – I still find myself daydreaming about things that put me no farther down the path of contentment in Christ.

    Even as we have watched our children strain against the limitations of all the things they “aren’t old enough to do” yet, I am all to familiar with wanting to break free from life as it is. And while I am convinced that God has things for me to learn in the middle of my frustrations, learning patience seems a very unsatisfying “pay-off” when my selfish nature would rather have a good whine.

    What you have written, THIS is the stuff of Christ. May I find self-denial’s reward anew, because I wonder (at least today) if I am tired of carrying my cross.

    Thanks for being who God has made you to be! Love,
    Billy

  20. I had to read this, go away for a few days, and then come back tonight and read it again. It was that deep. Took a lot of digesting. Friend, this spoke to my heart so deeply! I am so prone to dream dreams and not live life! It’s easier to dream. I don’t have to actually put out any energy for that! But to live life…that’s another thing altogether and requires that I roll up my sleeves and work a little. Maybe even sweat a little! Or even get a few bumps and scrapes! But dreams are dreams and life…well, life is the real thing! Thank you for the encouragement to “Go live your life!”

    Thank you for always ”stretching” me Elaine! In mind and in spirit!

    Love you my faithful friend!

    Marilyn

  21. I see I’m late to the party but I’m so glad I stopped by to read your post. I know exactly what you mean. For years, I dreamed of being a motivational speaker. I took Dale Carnegie classes. I began to teach heart patients about making healthier choices for their heart. Then I thought I might be a Christian speaker and writer. I attended Christian Leaders and Authors Conference with Florence Littauer.

    Many years later …I’m blogging and writing my book. However, I pray that even if only one person reads what I write, that’s OK. Maybe that’s the person that needed to read it. Heart Choices has become a ministry for me. I work full time but I love to write and share with others.

    Sending you hugs Elaine,
    Debbie

  22. Yes. Me too. I’m at a turn in the road in my life with different circumstances and reasons than you have but a change just the same. It isn’t so much a crossroads or fork in the road where I have to choose one way or the other but rather a gradual merging off of the direction I was taking. I’ve too given myself permission to embrace the change and let go of what I expected or thought should be.

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