Categories : Listening to God

 

Have you ever put off saying something, not because it wasn’t important, but because it was SO important you didn’t want to get it wrong? I avoided writing this for almost two years for that reason.  But I’ve shared this experience with my closest friends and tested it in my own life, and it’s time to share it with you.

Late in my fifth pregnancy, I was literally crying out to God.  In spite of everything we’d invested in our family, we weren’t seeing the fruit we expected.  We had stalled out in many areas of our life, yet I wasn’t aware of anything I hadn’t yielded to God. I felt a  mixture of anger, sadness, and confusion. I can’t remember the exact wording, but I said something to the effect of “I’ve laid down my life for this family.  What more do you want from  me?” I will never forget God’s response,

“If you want to lay down your life, first you need to get a life”.

Disclaimer: If you’re already convinced of your value as a daughter or son of God, this message may not be for you.  But if you find it easier to disappear into serving roles than to take responsibility for your own needs, you may need to hear this.

mother'sdayInstantly I knew it was God’s word to me. It was like a punch to the gut, but I felt more peace than I had in months.  Why would God say that to me?

I wrote about the abundant life in the kingdom of God, but I lived like there wasn’t really enough to go around. I justified all kinds of self denial as being “for the family”.  Without knowing it, I was driven by pride, and a kind of idolatry.

It turns out you can make an idol out of anything, even living sacrificially.

So what’s the solution? Listening. God prefers Listening to and responding to him over making sacrifices.  And they aren’t mutually exclusive.  God asks us to sacrifice, consider others better than ourselves,  and lay down our lives.  But when he prompts us to receive, take a vacation, or invest in ourselves, some of us we need to take those promptings seriously as well.

Before, I hid behind the sacrifices I was making for the family.  Now, I’m responsible for how I reflect God’s image and how I steward the gifts he’s given me.  No excuses. God has challenged me to spend time and money in pursuit of the dreams he planted in me long ago.  To be honest, it’s terrifying…and I’m becoming the woman I always wanted to be.

If this sounds too self-helpy to you, I get that.  But when Yeshua said he gave us his peace, he wasn’t talking about just absence of conflict.  He gave us Shalom (as in wholeness, completeness, total well being, NO EXCUSES).  The good news of the kingdom really is good news, in every sense of the word.

What part of your life still needs to hear the good news?



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  • Angela Dill

    I really enjoy your writing. I really feel that YHVH has led me to your blog. Thank you for writing. I look forward to reading more. I am praying for your family.
    Shalom,
    Angela

    • Hannah Kallio

      Thanks for letting me know, Angela. That’s a tremendous encouragement to me.

  • Rosten Callarman

    Excellent post, Hannah. This reminds me of a book I finished recently, “Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You.” It focuses a lot on growing in maturity, and the different stages of life and what things we need to do to help us grow during each stage, and each stage builds on the previous one. Infancy primarily requires us to learn to receive love. Childhood requires us to receive love and learn to take care of ourselves, to return ourselves to joy and peace whenever we are in a place of joylessness or lack of peace. It isn’t until adulthood, parenthood, and grandparenthood that maturity requires being able to help others return to joy/peace. Another important aspect is that childhood is the primary time when individual identity is built, when the person is coming to understand what makes them unique, their gifts, their passions.
    So all of that combined means that for human development and maturation, taking care of and building up others occurs most healthily AFTER the development of personal identity. Which, I think, is another way of saying a lot of what you just said.
    Interestingly enough, you mentioned that you guys had “stalled out.” According to the book I referenced, stalling out is a symptom of having incomplete maturity tasks from an earlier maturity stage. Sounds like even if that was the case for you guys, you’re definitely working on those!

    • Hannah Kallio

      There’s a lot of truth to what you shared here, Rosten. Thanks for the summary of the book.
      I’m painfully aware of (many of) my incomplete maturity tasks, and as much as I want to skip ahead to the step I “should” be at, I’m also thankful. Even the awareness of my incompleteness is evidence of God’s grace. And he’s given us everything we need to be complete.

      • Rosten Callarman

        Yeah, I’m in a similar place. It’s so hard to be okay with where I’m at rather where I think I should be. I find it comforting (and also somewhat discomforting) that, according to this book, most people never get past the child stage of maturity. That’s a little terrifying, but all the more reason for us to keep growing up!

        • Hannah Kallio

          That reminds me of another thing I sensed God speaking to me. Once, when I asked him what he wanted me to be when I “grow up”, and the response I sensed from him was, “Don’t worry about that. Just make sure you grow up”!
          It sounds harsh , but it was actually very comforting.
          I think the book is right about most people never reaching maturity. That’s part of why I think it’s evidence of God’s favor when he shows us the areas where we need healing.

          • Rosten Callarman

            Ha, I love it when God kicks my butt like that. I have a few of those moments myself…

            That also makes me want to connect all of this to the idea (connected to Bowen Family Systems Theory) that good parenting is less about technique and theory, and more about maturity and the ability to maintain personhood (re: to continue being one’s truest self) in times of upheaval and emotional instability. That’s not to say that we don’t need to be concerned with knowledge of theories and techniques, but without the foundation of knowing and existing as who I am in Christ at the depths of my being, those other things don’t matter nearly as much.

          • Hannah Kallio

            You nailed it! Being one’s truest self is pretty much the key to EVERYTHING. I’ll definitely read more about that.