Graceologie Episode 38: Jen Wise
My guest on episodes #38 of the Graceologie with Gwen Smith podcast is Jen Wise, author of a new book, THE BRIGHT LIFE. In this episode we talk about the exhaustion of giving your ALL and still feeling like it’s NEVER ENOUGH. We discuss how God created us to be healthy, strong and vibrant. To rest in the unforced rhythms of GRACE Jesus so LOVINGLY gave us. So if you feel like you’re giving everything you have and constantly feel depleted, this conversation will show you some practical and powerful ways God can transform your daily walk through GRACE.
THE PROBLEM: We all have this idea of this “amazing life” that we think we should be living. You know… we can get all this stuff done, we can have an impact, we can help people, we can do good things and also carve out a spot for ourselves or have this picturesque life that we see online. And so we really run ourselves into the ground, like chasing this and building it and scraping it together. And the thing is we end up depleted and exhausted. And we’re trying so hard to build this life that we kind of just drain the life right out of ourselves.
It really was a wake up call to turnaround, learn to rest, to find quiet and stillness and to not be always going, always doing, always trying to like squeeze every last drop out of every day. And what it came down to is just learning to trust God… because I think if I don’t get a few more things done, everything is going to fall apart.
I think that we all have this idea that if we work hard, get everything done… and if we look a certain way and our home is clean and our emails are answered, you know, then life is going to work out, right? Like that’s when things will work out the way they should, will solve the problems in the world, will solve the problems in our hearts, and in our homes. And in that sense, we really think that we have controls. We think that if we can just get enough done, that’s when we’ll be okay. The thing is like life doesn’t work out that way. A) because there are other humans involved in our life. But also B) because we don’t have the control that we think that we have and we aren’t meant to have that control.
When we learn to TRUST GOD, we can say, “Okay, I’m done for the day. I’m exhausted, I’ve done what I can do, and God is going to hold me together and God’s going to still hold the world together even if I go to bed.” And we see that with Jesus, like when he’s in the boat and disciples are all freaking out about the storm and he’s just asleep. When I read that story, I’m like, well I am clearly the disciples in that story, you know, I’m always in a panic. I’m like, “Oh my, not everything’s done!” And how could we ever rest, because everything will just fall to pieces? Especially if you have kids, you feel like they need all of our energies, they’re thriving and they’re turning into the best version of themselves.
I’ve had to learn that my greatest act of faith oftentimes is closing my laptop and going to bed or sadly this simple as saying, I’ll fold that laundry tomorrow, the next day because I need to rest or I need to get some sleep. Or maybe because I just need to be available for my kids or a neighbor or someone in my life. And those things are so silly, but they’re really hard because when everything doesn’t look just right and feel just right and we don’t feel like we’re on top of everything. We get frantic. We’re worried like we’re not measuring up. Our life’s going to fall apart. Everything’s going to go wrong. But when we learn to trust God, we’re going to be okay, our kids are going to be okay. He is restoring this world, and it’s not dependent on our constant striving, than it’s okay to go to bed. It’s okay to let the laundry sit for a couple of days. It’s okay if you end up serving pizza for dinner. So everyone’s going to be okay, like God is still in control whether we do those things or not. And actually, I think that’s when we actually get to see how in control he is and how beautiful that is.
I like things that are neat and organized and makes sense. And I think that that is a hard thing for me and I think probably for a lot of people is that God doesn’t necessarily always make sense to us and the way he acts and the way that things work in the world, it’s not a straightforward equation. And just last Sunday, our pastor is preaching on Sabbath and one of the questions he asked at the end was, “Why can’t you stop? Like, why can’t you stop running and striving and working and going?”
And my first initial thought was like, well, because I have things to do and you know, I’ve got bills to pay and work to get done and stuff around the house, and then immediately that was like followed up in my heart with like this scarier thought of like, no, like it’s because I think that if I’m not working my butt off and I’m not doing my very, very best and hardest work all the time, that I am not worthy of God’s help. Like I feel like I have to do if I’m not killing it, and you know, basically if I’m not killing it, it’s killing myself, running myself ragged, then why should God help me? Why should God be faithful? Why should God provide that projects that I need or have someone show up when I need them to show up? And that’s not how God works.