Expected To Do What You Can’t

When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Genesis 30:1-2

Jacob was in a tough spot. Rachel, the one wife he loved most was barren while the other bore him three sons to win his favor. There was no part of this story that worked well for anyone, except for Laban who benefitted two decades from Jacob’s work.

Rachel pleaded with him to do something about her barrenness. “Give me children, or I shall die!” Is there anything more tormenting than to be expected to provide something when you it’s not in your power to do so? People often look to others to give what is only supernaturally possible. It happens every day. The one who feels the pressure to play God is the one who feels the most desperate.

For three decades, I was unaware that I had the freedom to say no to what was asked of me. As a performer, I agreed to do all that was expected.  A good bit of what was asked was voiced with no regard for what was appropriate for a teenager or young adult. Feeling like I had to say yes to prove myself, my self-talk sounded like this. “I have to do this ~ but I can’t! But I have to!” The torment escalated as the performance time approached. When my name was announced, I flipped a switch, went out, and just did it. In my thirties, I assessed the damage. If I had it to do over again, I would have learned my limits and then expressed them but that wasn’t modeled for me to have learned it organically. 

Are others looking to you to do what is humanly impossible? Oh, the freedom of setting limits.  Here’s what I’m learning.  Freedom from another’s demands requires a willingness to abdicate from playing the part of God.  Pride resists it.  Humility relinquishes it.

I have nothing to prove.  I am complete in You.  Amen

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