We are getting our Turn the Mic Tuesday going again and I am so excited to introduce you to Gretchen Flemming. She has a beautiful heart and I know her words will speak to you as they have to me.
I remember the days so well, when I would awake with lofty goals; to be a patient parent and loving wife…….gentle, kind and attentive. I had such high hopes that I would be my “best” for those I loved the most. I read books for knowledge and practical help. I prayed for power and ability from the Holy Spirit. I strived with all my planning and efforts. But the fulfillment of these goals were so elusive. It seemed the more I tried, the further I was from achievement.
It was like chasing after the wind.
I would get so frustrated!! What was the problem for goodness sakes?!
I saw other women who seemed able to be what I was not. They seemed to never lose their temper, even while making homemade organic snacks for their children. They delighted in making crafts with their little ones and yet kept the house immaculate as well. They never seemed to need a break from their children either. Why couldn’t I be better? Wasn’t I trying hard enough? I was a perfectionist, so I was definitely motivated and determined.
Why did I keep failing to be satisfied with how I was doing as a wife and mother?
As I read through Ecclesiastes, I recognize myself. Chasing, running, striving . . . as I put my hands to the work in front of me, the plans in my heart and mind. But the satisfaction of reaching the level I had in mind was always just beyond my reach. I could always be better, happier, kinder . . .
The frustration and futility drove me to examine; what was I doing and was I supposed to be doing it?
When I read about King Solomon’s perspective in Ecclesiastes 1-2,6, hearing the depth of his frustration as he concludes all is meaningless, it saddens me. He sought to be the best for his country, in the role God had assigned him. He put his hand to work hard for the Lord and his people, his mind to learn what was needed. Who put forth more effort as king of Israel to do the job right!? I understand why he felt that way because I too felt hopeless when I kept coming up short of satisfaction.
Isn’t that what we were both after? Satisfaction. That moment when you feel ultimate achievement and fulfillment, when you feel like “Finally! I got this!”.
What did King Solomon and I have in common? We were both seeking satisfaction in our roles, the achievement of being “the best” in what we were supposed to do. We recognized the value and responsibility of our God-given roles, him as the king of Israel and me as a wife and mother. Doing the job in excellence was a priority.
Then why wasn’t it working? Maybe because we had the wrong priorities?
Had I ever stopped to think the guilt of not measuring up as a woman was never from God in the first place?
So what was His priority for me then? What was King Solomon supposed to be focusing on if not being his best for the kingdom?
Turns out life and success did not have to be that complicated. I learned from Matthew 6:33 that all He required of me, and King Solomon for that matter, was to focus less on our roles and more on our relationship. By seeking Him, rather than the fruit and gifts of a relationship with Him, the “success” would be given as well. Isn’t that the way it worked for his father King David?
The good thing about this purpose and plan is that it is always profitable. There is always a positive exchange rate. As I pursue Jesus, I become more like Him, which helps me in ALL my roles in life. When I strive to understand Him more and love Him deeper, it happens. He does not deny any of us when we seek Him with all our heart ( Jeremiah 29:13).
And this is what I found. When I stopped working so hard at improving in my roles as a woman, and instead worked on knowing Him greater, the transformation still took place! I was by far, more successful, when I let go of my “roles” and grabbed hold of Him. With Him, I gained it all!! And with so much less effort!
I am not saying I am perfect as a wife and mother, but I am so much more satisfied than before. Not until I see Him face to face will I be fully transformed. But I must say life is so much less complicated and stressful, I just keep pursuing my favorite thing, Jesus, and He does the rest.
No longer am I chasing after the wind, in futility and frustration.
This is the way it was always supposed to be. This is where satisfaction is finally found……in Him! Just like King David knew all along.
As a wife (28 years) and mother (24 years), Gretchen’s life has taught her many lessons. Through personal and family challenges, she has experienced breaking points and had to ﬁght hard to stand ﬁrm in her faith through God’s sustaining grace.
Her passion is to follow hard after Jesus, knowing He is the treasure of a lifetime and worth every minute she commits to Him. God’s Word has been life-giving through the most trying times for her—a great source of strength, wisdom, and truth. It is her heartfelt desire to encourage women in their faith with the hope she has found in His Word.
Gretchen is a Bible study writer, teacher, blogger, and speaker who loves to see Jesus change lives as He’s changed hers. It’s a joy for her to share with others the Truth that can give perspective and perseverance, no matter what we face.
Join her community at gretchenﬂeming.com for her blog and Bible study.
Facebook- Gretchen Branstetter Fleming