I’m so excited to get to introduce you all to my sweet blogging friend, Joanna Mayes! Joanna and I met in a Facebook group for bloggers, and it was one of those “God things”. We could both instantly sense that we were on the same page and had similar things in our hearts to share with others.
She ALSO happens to be my March new subscriber giveaway winner, and her personalized wooden sign is being customized for her as we speak! Congratulations, Joanna! 🙂
Before we get into her message, I’d love for you to get to know her a bit!
Joanna is a disciple of Christ, child of God, and writer who is passionate about carrying the message of freedom that God has commissioned her to carry. She resides on the Gulf Coast of Alabama with her husband, children, dog, three cats and many chickens. More than a writer, she considers herself to be a messenger for the Kingdom of Heaven. She shares God’s message and her life at www.christianfreedom.life. (Go check it out and love on her over there!) 🙂
Abandoned twice by her earthly father Joanna was raised in a broken home. As a child of abandonment and divorce, the roots of rejection ran deep. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and savior at age 18 but didn’t come to the place of true understanding of all of the grace and freedom in Christ God had for her until she reached her 40’s. As God has healed and delivered her from spiritual blindness and deafness and healed deep wounds of rejection long pushed down and denied, Joanna boldly and vulnerably chronicles her journey of healing and freedom through Christ Jesus!
Joanna’s greatest desire is that the lies and tactics of the enemy of our souls, will be exposed and that countless others will be set free in their lives as these lies and tactics of satan are shattered!
When Joanna posted this message on her blog about struggling with guilt and a false sense of responsibility, I knew I had to share it here. I know many of you have people-pleasing tendencies like I do. That can be a blessing, but the dark side of being a people pleaser can be a lack of boundaries, an overloaded schedule, and a chronic, ill-defined, draining sense of guilt.
Joanna’s message is not to never do anything for God’s Kingdom and live a carefree, Club Med existence; but to joyfully embrace what GOD is leading us to do, and be okay with saying “no” to the rest. So here it is, and I pray God uses this message to set many free to fully and joyfully live the life HE has called them to!
The Opportunity and Struggle with Saying No
False responsibility is a spiritual bondage that robs us of time, energy, peace and joy. I know I cannot be all things to all people, yet so many times I have fallen prey to this trap of the enemy. False responsibility causes us to put too many things on our plate and to carry burdens that are not ours to carry. We are called to be good stewards of our time, energy, and finances. To do this, we have to pick and choose carefully what we are responsible for or we and those we care about will pay the price.
Do you find yourself struggling with saying no because you don’t want to let others down? Do you do things out of obligation and feel trapped in a cycle that you don’t know how to get out of? Do you find yourself carrying emotional burdens of those around you?
In the times that we live in people all around us are burned out and exhausted due to the trap of false responsibility. We don’t have to feel guilty for saying no. In fact, we need to say no a lot and be very strategic about what we say yes to.
I recently had to come face to face with my struggle with false responsibility again. I was presented with a request to serve my community. As soon as it was presented to me I knew that I wanted to say no. It would have involved putting more on my plate and I felt overwhelmed at the mere thought of adding anything else to my schedule. Yet I was struggling with a couple of things about saying no.
- I didn’t want to let others down. On paper, I was the perfect person for the task and I really didn’t know who would fulfill the request outside of me.
- I was feeling selfish for saying no.
After praying about the opportunity and talking to my husband, I did say no. While I knew I had done the right thing, I still felt guilty.
I just still hated feeling like I was letting others down.
The Dream of the Green Satin Blouse
Within two days of making this decision, I had a dream which God gave me to confirm I had made the right choice. In my dream, I was in a dressing room of a boutique in a very fine hotel. A salesperson was helping me change into a blouse she was trying to sell me. It was a green satin blouse and I could see her trying to work the blouse over my shoulders. It was actually taking two salespeople to force it on. At the same time, the salesperson was doing this, she was telling me the blouse was perfect for me. It was a beautiful blouse, emerald green in color. It was a great color for me and was a flattering style.
As I stepped back to admire myself in the blouse I realized that I was very pregnant…probably giving birth very soon. I was smiling and excited because I was buying the blouse to go to a romantic dinner with my husband. I wore the blouse out of the store and rode the elevator up and stepped out into a beautiful hotel lobby to meet my husband.
As we walked together to the car I was surprised to see that I was wearing the dressy blouse with jean shorts and seemed oblivious to the contradiction between the comfy jean shorts and the dressy but tight in the shoulders blouse.
Clearly, this was a mismatched outfit.
The thing that also stood out in the dream is that my husband didn’t seem to pay any attention to what I was wearing. He seemed very happy to see me and focused solely on me. We walked straight to each other, smiling and happy to be reunited, and went on our way to the romantic dinner.
It appeared that what had felt like a big deal to me really hadn’t mattered to him.
I awoke knowing that God was speaking to me through the dream but didn’t immediately make a connection between it and my present circumstances. Yet over the course of the day, I couldn’t shake the question,
“Why would I buy that blouse? It didn’t fit. What is God trying to tell me through this dream?”
As I prayed I felt prompted to call a sister in the Lord to help me interpret the dream. We talked and prayed and this is what the Lord showed us.
Meaning of the Dream
God was confirming that I should be careful about what I allow others to put on me. The blouse was beautiful but didn’t fit for the season I was in. When we are about to birth things for the Kingdom of God we must “wear” or “put on” what is appropriate for that season. Don’t ignore the smothering, too tight feeling we have in our spirits. Don’t allow the enthusiasm of those approaching us to sell us into wearing something we are not supposed to wear.
The hotel represented intimacy and getting away with God. My husband represented God. Also, remember, my husband in the dream didn’t even care about what I was wearing. He only had eyes for me.
I think that it’s also so important to remember that God cares not about what you do so much as who you are, and you are His bride. His desire is for our company and true intimacy. This is important because we should never allow the things we are doing for the Kingdom or others to take away from what is most important…our relationship with Him and our families.
The blouse itself was beautiful, but the comfy jean shorts were more appropriate for someone about to give birth. When we are in the last stages of pregnancy we do not need to be constricted. Be very careful of putting anything on that does not fit with the vision God is giving you for yourself and your family. If He is dealing with you about spending more time with your family and an opportunity comes your way that will cut into that time, you may be about to fall prey to false responsibility.
The Trap of False Responsibility
False responsibility is a beautiful green satin blouse that in every way looks perfect on the hanger but isn’t right for us. And while that blouse looks beautiful, it is binding. We can’t move freely while wearing that green satin blouse of false responsibility.
We each only get a total of twenty-four hours per day to steward. How will we spend that time? What cost will we pay when we allow false responsibilities to eat into our time, energy and resources. Can you think of some areas where you feel trapped with your time and resources, perhaps feeling robbed of energy, peace, and joy?
If you have struggled like I have with false responsibility, let us pray together.
Prayer for Release from Bondage of False Responsibility
Lord, help me to recognize false responsibility when it tries to force itself upon me. I will no longer buy into the enemy’s plan to distract me from what you truly want me to be doing. Help me to “wear” the things that you want me to wear, so that I may be unencumbered as I birth new things for your kingdom. Help me to tell the difference between your plans and the enemy’s trap of false responsibility. Help me to recognize what is pulling me from intimacy with you. Help me to also recognize what is having a harmful effect on myself or my family. Show me what my true priorities should be. Thank you for releasing me from any false responsibility in the name of Jesus.
Verse for Meditation
~ Hebrews 12:1