Today I would like to introduce you to a new guest blogger! Ellen Castillo is a friend and fellow Biblical Counselor.  Ellen has written and published a Level One Biblical Mentor training course called “Life On Life, Applying the One-Anothers of Scripture”. She teaches this course at various church sites locally, and offers an online format as well. You can find out more about Ellen and her ministry, Word of Hope here. You can access her blog here. I know you will be blessed by Ellen and her ministry.  Consider this a sneak peek…She will be presenting at our Biblical Counseling Conference here in Kansas City, MO in March of 2014! 

I never saw myself as THAT woman. You know the one. 

She is exhausted. Overwhelmed. Spent. Fatigued. Sick. Out of sorts. Lacking self-control. Discouraged. Too busy. Can’t make a decision. Spread too thin. Friendships struggling. Spiritually dry. Lacking joy and peace. 

She’s THAT woman who can’t seem to discern or find insight in to why she is feeling so done. So she keeps putting one foot in front of the other, spinning all the plates in her life, until God says “ENOUGH”.

She didn’t mean to become THAT woman. She knew better. 

Matthew 11:28-30 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus tells all who are weary and burdened to come to Him for rest. He doesn’t mean physical burdens. He means the heavy burden of a system of works that the Pharisees put on the people that Jesus offered to relieve (Matthew 23:4).

The yoke He refers to is the yoke of self-righteousness and legalism.

THAT woman is a grace-believer, not a legalist. Or so she thinks. She is not self-righteous. Or so she thinks. In her heart she believes in grace, and she serves to impart grace to others. Then how did she become THAT woman? 

Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

Her thoughts about herself betrayed her. She believed her motives to be pure, she believed she was doing all the things she was supposed to be doing. If that was true, then how did she become THAT woman? Something was amiss. She felt burdened to the point of dysfunction. Until God said “ENOUGH” and showed her the sin in her own heart was the problem. It wasn’t the spinning plates that caused the problem. It wasn’t about her circumstances. It was about her heart.

She’s a people-helper. People-helpers are prone to neglecting their own needs. Ironic, no?

There are so many legitimate needs in front of her. Kids, husband, counselees, mentees, business colleagues, church people, friends, extended family – they all have deep and serious needs that she is sensitive to. She is capable of helping them because she is gifted for it. What she is not capable of is helping every single one of them at the same time. She knows the word “no”, but finds it hard to say it to needy people. Not because she fears man and does not want to let them down, but because she loves them and thinks that it is her assignment from God to serve them.

As she examines her heart and allows God to search it, she learns a few things. She learns that she indeed does struggle with legalism and self-righteousness, the kind that Jesus wants to bear for her. She has been over-serving. Yes, there is such a thing! She spends her days doing good things, but has been learning that not all good things are best. She learns that one woman cannot possibly be available to every need in front of her. She needs wisdom and discernment to take on only what God has truly assigned to her. She gets so busy serving that she has lost sight of how to have this level of wisdom and discernment.

She knows the importance of practicing what she teaches. Spend plenty of time in study of God’s Word. Read it. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Enjoy it and see Jesus in it. Be sure to have a meaty prayer life, which is too easily neglected. Stay in fellowship with those who will edify and encourage. Be fed by the local church community. Nurture relationships, most of all family. 

She might say “But I do all those things and they just make me more tired!” And then, God speaks to her from His Word. He again says “my yoke is easy…..”.   By His perfect fulfillment of the Law of God, He carried the burden that we were meant to carry. Because of the Gospel, we no longer need to bear the heavy load. She needs to let this Truth sink in, and believe it.

In her heart of self-righteousness, she has thought that she had to be the one to help with all these needs. But the Truth is that the One and Only is the best supplier of those needs, and the load is not too heavy for Him. She needs to turn to Him to lay her burdens down, and encourage those who need help to do the same.

I am less THAT woman now than I was a couple of months ago. But I realize I stand in danger of becoming her again if I do not stay focused on the One who carries the burdens – mine, and yours. The life lived by faith is a much lighter yoke and an easier burden to carry than legalism and self-righteousness. THAT woman forgets this amazing kind of grace. 

Are you THAT woman? Jesus offers to relieve you of the heavy burden, too. Thank you, Lord.