Courage to Stop Striving
Updated: Jan 7, 2020
By Jen Roland
God's Brave Women - Jen's Story
I walked out of my employer’s office, tears streaming down my cheeks. I had just given my official resignation and, while I knew it was the right decision for my family, it didn’t make it any easier. My boss’s words still linger in my mind: “I hope it’s only temporary.” At the time, I believed this was true, but God had something much different in store for me. At age thirty, being brave meant setting aside my personal goals to learn the value of serving others. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Galatians 5:13-14 I stacked dozens of boxes as I cleaned out my office, my personal tower of Babel built with my own sweat and blood. To the outside world I was ambitious and successful, but beneath the surface was a girl who struggled with perfectionism and a perceived need to prove her worth through hustle. My unrelenting work ethic did more than negatively impact my health and family – it was an obstacle to my spiritual growth. To reorder my priorities, develop humility, and be made new in the image of Christ, that tower needed to be torn down.
"My unrelenting work ethic did more than negatively impact my health and family – it was an obstacle to my spiritual growth. To reorder my priorities, develop humility, and be made new in the image of Christ, that tower needed to be torn down."
Over the next ten years, God placed me in a series of challenging situations that brought awareness to my brokenness. Without my career, I felt a loss of identity. God revealed that I had anchored my worth in productivity and the opinions of others instead of who He says I am – chosen, valued, and eternally loved. The more I allowed their comments cause me to question my decision making, the more my anxiety level rose. Sandwiched between social norms and spiritual wholeness that could only come through submission to Christ, I felt restless, disconnected, and discontent. My natural response was to try to gain control of my health, the conflicts in my marriage, and even my relationship with the Lord. I thought if I kept showing up and praying, God would speak to me. But for the first few years I cried out to Him, I was met with silence.
Through plastic smiles, I tried to mask the pain, maintaining a façade of peace when my internal world was anything but. This is exactly where Satan wanted me to be – falling prey to the lie that no one else understood or would want to listen. The more I shouldered my burdens alone, the more they weighed on me, until I finally fell to my knees in surrender.