Friday, December 23, 2011

My Greatest Gift

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Gifts of the Heart". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.

I never realized before how much of a performance based society we live in, where the opinions of others weigh so heavily on what we’ve done, versus who we are, until this past year. 
A string of deaths in my family knocked the wind out of my sails (cliché intended), and I found myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually drained.

As a result, I stopped performing.

The responses I received from others, though, shocked me.

“What about me?”
“You don’t want to get lazy.”
“You have to move on. It happens.”
“I need . . .”
“I want . . .”

To be honest, the way people reacted was my fault. I’ve always been the type of woman to jump in and get the job done, no matter what. The poor folks weren’t used to my peculiar behavior. I hadn’t given them anything but performance. Even though their reactions stung, they ended up enlightening me.
As I sat on my couch one morning, mulling over everything that had happened, my heart grew heavy. Has my viewpoint been skewed because I thought performance is what it takes to receive love? 

Tears filled my eyes. I feel so alone, God. I’m afraid. What do I do now? All I’ve ever known is to do, do, do.

Then my mother’s words, which she spoke the night before she died, came back to my mind. You need to slow down, honey. Take care of yourself.

On the heels of my mother's former admonishment, a Bible verse I’d heard at church a few weeks prior rang in my ears. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 KJV).

Moments later, the following thoughts overshadowed my heart. God accepts you for who you are. His love for you isn’t based on what you do. It’s about what Jesus did. God loves you unconditionally, no matter what. Rest.

Talk about a gift. 

I leaned my head against the couch, closed my eyes, and fell asleep. 

No, my worth isn't measured in how high I’ve jumped, how wonderful I’ve been, or how much I’ve done for others. It's not even based on where I’ve fallen short. God overcame all of these things with the greatest gift of all—Jesus. His unconditional love is all that really matters. Without Him, I’m nothing. None of us are.

May God bless each and every one of you this holiday season. I pray that you see your true worth, that your Christmas be filled with His love, and that you find rest in His arms.


  1. Beautifully said, Deborah. Scripture is filled with God's advice to rest: Be still and know that I am God; work 6 days and rest one. Yet, it's hard for some of us to do.

    I had a year like yours when my mother-in-law, my dad, an uncle and 2 aunts died. It takes an emotional toll. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. We're glad you've joined the blog chain!

  2. That was wonderful. It's simply amazing how God's word can touch our hearts and how when we need Him, He really is there! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  3. Thank you, Carol.

    My deepest sympathy to you. What a rough year you've had also. It helps to know somebody understands.

    Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm glad to be a part of the chain.

  4. He truly is, Suzette. I appreciate your comment.

    Merry (belated) Christmas to you and your family!

  5. Thank you Deborah for that simple reminder of how the Lord speaks to us all the time if we just listen. For what's it worth every Christian struggles with "performance" based issues, but the truth is we are loved unconditionally by God, because we believe and received what Jesus did to give us this rest.
    I've come to understand that the pressure we feel IS the primary weak spot the devil exploits because he came to steal, kill and destroy. I've been focusing my time on loving others and not on what they think. It is still hard staying out of the performance trap, but building the foundation of truth in our hearts, makes it easier to sidestep the snares to perform.

    Blessings to you and your work

  6. Oh, Deborah! Amen! Truth. Every word. Thank you for a gift tonight. Words I needed to read. Words that sank slowly and deep. Wishing you time this beautiful, holy season to simply rest in the One who came to dwell among us that we might live. Time to breathe. Time to be. Time to heal.

  7. Thank you so much, Terrie. Your words brought even more wisdom for me in this area.

  8. I appreciate you stopping by, Cindee. I will try to abide by your wishes, to breathe, be, heal, and most importantly, rest in Him.

  9. I love this post! Thank you for stopping by.

  10. I've been pondering this idea of "returning and resting", and of what it means to be an abiding mother, rather than a "supermom". I find it comforting that He encourages my sisters to lay it down at His feet, too. He is so good to make His burdens light; why do we want them heavier?

    Isaiah 30:15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength...

    Blessings on your new year, and so sorry for your losses.

  11. Amen to that, Keri Mae.

    Speaking of motherhood, your children will have all of you if you do rest, a healthy you.

    Oh, Isaiah is one of my favorite chapters. Methinks God used you to drive it home. :-)

    God bless you, sister. May we both have a blessed (and restful) new year.

  12. Sometimes the greatest gift God gives us is simple rest. We work so hard--sometimes even for His sake--and yet in doing so we lose sight of the fact that grace means we no longer have to labor for it any more.

    And sometimes the greatest thing we can do for Him is simply to accept the gifts he gives us . . . including the gift of rest.

    Great post, Deborah.

  13. That's so true, Dr. I definitely lost sight of that fact. I just need to learn the balance now.

    Thank you so much for stopping by. I truly appreciate your comments.

  14. Deborah,
    Beautiful words. Thanks for sharing.
    Exactly what I needed to hear today...

  15. Thank YOU, Cynthia. Your words blessed me, were exactly something I needed to hear.

    I appreciate you taking the time to stop by.

  16. Thank you so much for stopping by and your kind and thoughtful words.

  17. I went to this post about gifts for a reason.

    I just received the Liebster Blog award and am passing it on to you and 4 others from CW. You can get the award picture off my site and plaster it onto yours. Forward it on to 5 others to encourage them. I hope you feel encouraged by this. I've really been enjoying your blog and wanted you to know!

    I will have my post up Friday morning (tomorrow) with your name and link to your blog for my readers to find you.

    Praying for blessings on your writing.

  18. Thank you so much, Carol. You made my day.

    Just so you know, your blog has done the same for me.

    God bless you!