Life seemed easy when I joined the church. After all, how hard could the Christian walk be? I kept the Sabbath, read my Bible, and paid my tithe. Oh, did I mention I ate healthily? What else was there to do?
God must’ve smiled at Jill Morikone, sitting in church and teaching Sabbath School, my heart full of undiscovered sins. One day I encountered Jesus, and that’s when my journey began. I was horrified to learn the depth of my selfishness and to grasp the impatience, jealousy, and bitterness that existed inside. Daily, as God revealed my heart, I discovered I had choices to make: to hang on to bitterness or learn forgiveness, stroke my ego or walk in humility, do it my way or surrender to Jesus.
Later I encountered motive. What drives me? Who is Jill? Is my purpose defined by what I do or who I am? Does the approbation of others matter more to me than the approval of God? As much as I hate to admit it, my self-worth has been somehow tied to what I do, how much I can accomplish, and how well I perform.
Just recently my husband, Greg, and I sponsored a couple of kids from overseas. Their little faces broke my heart. We can’t have children, so I was so excited at the thought of “adopting” them, writing them letters, and praying for them, even though we’d never met. That was the intention, but once I paid for a year’s sponsorship, I got sucked into the whirlwind of work again. You know, the pressing deadlines, the meetings and recording, the work to be accomplished—and our little adoptees were somehow squeezed to the side. I even forgot about them for a couple of weeks.
During one particularly hard day I broke down and cried. I couldn’t seem to do it all. I didn’t have it all together. Satan whispered in my ear, “You’re a failure. Maybe that’s why you didn’t have kids. Don’t you see? You can’t even take care of the ones you sponsored.”
That was the day my friend stepped into my office and said, “Let me help you. I can help with the letters; you don’t have to do it all yourself. You’re seeking to carry this ministry; let me carry something for you.” She was right. That was the day I learned I could let someone else behind my wall, that being authentic is not weak, and that I don’t need to prove myself to others.
I am not enough. I’m learning that. But my God is enough, and when I need extra help, it’s OK to let someone else help me too. That’s not weakness. God places us in a community for a purpose. Never forget the ones who saw you in your time of need, and, instead of offering judgment and distance, they extended presence and grace. Those are God’s people in your life. My friend is one such gift. Who are God’s people in your life?