An Identity I Didn’t Expect

by Edie Melson

“So Miriam was shut up outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was received again.”  Numbers 12:15 NASB

Miriam’s sin brought the entire nation of Israel to a screeching halt for seven days while God dealt with her and brought her back in line with His will. It must have been devastating for Miriam to realize she was the cause of an unscheduled stop.

How do I know presume to know what she was feeling? Because it wasn’t too long ago that I discovered I’m a Miriam.

Have you ever said yes to something because you thought you should, or continued serving even though God was leading you in a different direction? In my zeal to serve God, I’d become prideful and thought I knew better than Him. I once again ran ahead of His will. I’d said yes to too many things and become a stumbling block to a ministry I love.

For years I’ve known that trying to do too many things at once meant I wouldn’t be able to do them well. But I seem to be a slow learner, or at least someone with a poor memory. When I pay attention to the Holy Spirit, this misguided urge stays in check, but when I stray, life gets stressful . . . for everyone.

My desire to serve overcame my desire to be obedient. When that happened, everyone around me suffered. My family had to take up the slack because I was doing things I hadn’t been called to do. I was grumpy, tired, and frustrated—emotions that affected all who came in contact with me. What started off with the best of intentions, ended up causing stress and grief.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity make things right by turning over some of my responsibilities to those God had called to serve. And as I sat, listening to them express their joy at that opportunity, it hit me how selfish I’d been. Not only was I disobedient (bad enough) but I stood in the way of others who wanted to serve. In effect, I brought the whole ministry to a screeching halt while God dealt with my disobedience.

It felt good to apologize and let go of the duties I’d disobediently taken up as mine. As I once again aligned myself with God’s will and let Him be the only one in charge peace began to take over. It was a difficult lesson to relearn, but when I heeded God’s discipline the stress receded and the joy is returned.

“Cease striving and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NASB

Edie-MelsonAbout the author: Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, whether she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction or writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker, she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her latest book, While My Child is Away; Prayers for While Were Apart is available at local retailers and online. Connect with her further at www.EdieMelson.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

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Join the conversation: Have you ever struggled to turn a responsibility over to others?

5 thoughts on “An Identity I Didn’t Expect

  1. Yes, I recently stepped away from a ministry that I had been doing for a couple. I had lost the passion for it, but kept serving because I thought that is what I supposed to do, and the ministry had a need. Yes, I stepped away to be more available to my family and give others the opportunity.

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  2. How easy it is to get caught up in the “I’ll do it myself” mode, but important to step back and learn to say no. Others have the opportunity to step up and serve. Hard lesson to learn.

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  3. I have this tendency as well, Edie. And I’m sad to say I allowed my zeal for service to get in the way at times in my parenting. Then a wise person I know told me, “Your kids only have one mother.” It gave me pause–an opportunity to reevaluate where I was putting my time. Just because something is a good thing doesn’t mean is is a good thing for us, especially in light of the season I was in. I knew her words were God leading me to get my priorities in order. Because I didn’t want our children to think God was the kind of God who was constantly calling me away from them, and making them constantly sacrifice their only mother for ministry.

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