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Stressing Over the Blessing

Nicole Smithee blog

Lately, I have been running hard.

  • Preaching has taken me to many cities and churches, camps and conferences. I’ve seen the move of the Holy Spirit and the miraculous power of Jesus. I’ve also sacrificed sleep and poured out my heart, many times in between early flights and late night hotel check-ins.
  • IRIDESCENT, a company for young women I launched earlier this year, is quickly growing with limitless potential that also demands my attentive leadership.
  • Serving in church is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and increasingly more difficult to juggle with back to back meetings and demanding deadlines.
  • My husband and I are 3 weeks away from celebrating our first anniversary. I’ve loved every moment while also feeling the growing pains of two becoming one.
  • Family relationships and friendships are ever evolving, and a great deal of my emotional and mental energy has been devoted to maturing at a pace that ensures my relationships grow in health and depth.
  • And to top it all off, there are still dreams and desires within me demanding they be moved from the back burner to a place of more prominence in my life.

I’m sure you can relate. The more we desire to live life with meaning, the more we say, “yes” to divinely placed opportunities, the more we dare to put legs to our dreams, the more we prioritize making a difference, the more we open our hearts to love and hope, well, the more responsibility we inherit.

Responsibility comes with the territory of living big lives.

Or as Jesus put it best in Matthew 25:21 NLT, Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![a

Those desiring God’s will should not only expect responsibilities to grow, but should view it as a cause for celebration!

I will admit I haven’t always wanted to throw a party this year. I’ve stressed out. I’ve complained to my husband. I’ve whined to God. I’ve entertained the voice of fear in my heart at the expense of my own faith.

Then two weeks ago, I had two back-to-back “aha” moments. First, I realized I asked for all of this. And second, by the grace of God, I realized I am up for the challenge.

I asked for all this.

  • I prayed and labored in faith for the birth of IRIDESCENT, believing it would be a place of ministry, refreshing, and hope for young women in our world today.
  • Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of preaching the Gospel all over the world and seeing miracles take place in the presence of God.
  • At 12-years-old, I vowed to love the Church through thick and thin, thanking God that I got to be a part of something much bigger than my individual faith.
  • I waited 35 years to marry the man of my dreams, and Heaven exceeded my greatest hopes by bringing Ben into my life.
  • I struggled with loneliness for a long time, and now I have friends and family who know me, love me, and support me.

Like I said, I asked for this. These are extraordinary blessings, not burdens. Heaven intended these to be sources of thanksgiving, not anxiety. I can choose to carry them as weights or treasure them as gifts. Ultimately, I choose.

Not only can I celebrate my current state of responsibilities, but I can savor each responsibility knowing God has given me all I need to succeed. Because of His grace, power, wisdom, and favor on my life, I can diligently work free from feelings of panic and episodic anxiety. His grace (not life’s frenzy) is why I hustle. I don’t need to work long hours driven by fear; I can give my best motivated by love.

By the grace of God, my hustle gets to be of the hopeful kind.

Okay, reader, you have probably picked up on the fact that I am growing up. I’m learning new things. I’m stretching, but not breaking. I’m embracing more responsibility, and ironically, saying goodbye to more stress. I’m becoming more comfortable with the uncomfortable. I’m treasuring the everyday while not losing sight of tomorrow.

There’s more to this post though. I don’t expect you to serve as my Dear Diary, where I simply divulge my progress at the expense of your precious time. In truth, every word leading up to this moment had been written in the hopes that I will have earned the right to speak a few words of truth to you:

You are capable of more than you think you are. You don’t need to run from responsibility, and you certainly don’t need to resent it. The stretch you are feeling is your life expanding. You weren’t made for small thinking, but abundant living. Perhaps, just perhaps, the responsibilities you are currently stressing over are the very blessings from Heaven to begin thanking God for. I pray that you not only embrace the responsibilities on your plate, but you hustle fueled by hope and filled with joy.

May the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 speak directly to your heart, reminding you that your growing responsibilities are reason to celebrate!

21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![a]

-Matthew 25:21 NLT

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