I took a year off from speaking.
Did I say that lightly? As if it was no big deal?
It was one of those decisions that you wrestle with. That you count all the reasons it’s not a great idea. Even though you know it’s where the Holy Spirit is leading you.
I finally laid it down, and then mourned as I stepped away from a beautiful speaker team I loved doing life and faith with. Over the next year I took every message I had ever taught, even the ones that I loved and had watched God work through, and tossed them. I removed them from my files, because if they there were there I’d be tempted to share them one more time.
Have you ever felt God asking you to put something down?
Are you still holding on to it?
I held on because it was tried and true.
Speaking and ministering to women is something I love, but it was also something that had become familiar. Not like in the beginning, when my knees were all wobbly and my heart raced like it was on fire.
When I realized how amazing it was to share the Gospel, and watch God work. When I finally found my rhythm. When I finally discovered how to pray and prepare and let God do the rest.
I held on because it was a good thing.
Speaking was a “good thing.” I did it for Him. So I held on.
How many times do we pile up “good things” and burn up because we are juggling all of them?
Sometimes you do that good thing for a season. Other times you put it down so you can fill back up (which is what I knew God was asking me to do).
I held on because, well. . . because it made no sense to put it down.
I was on a speaking team that a lot of women would love to be a part of. I say that with humility. Hear me. And yet the whisper I heard when I sensed the Holy Spirit asking me to step away was another voice — one that tempted me to hold on tight.
Do you realize what you are giving up?
If what I do is for Him, then putting it down isn’t a big thing — especially when He’s the one asking.
I held it up that day, because what I do is for Him. I opened my hands in surrender.
If God is asking you to put something down, put.it.down.
For a season.
Forever, if that’s where He is leading.
He knows you better than anyone else. He understands you are doing it because there’s a need, or you are afraid that if you don’t do it, no one will. He sees that it’s become familiar — and there’s nothing wrong with that — but follow where He’s leading.
Why did He ask me to put speaking down for a year?
Because I was flat out of words. I had blogged, written, authored, and spoke myself into an empty well. There’s nothing quite so unappealing as someone showing up to minister, who is as dry as a bone.
Putting it down for a year meant I could fill back up. Be inspired. Spend time with Him.
The reason I tossed every message is that I longed for a new word. The old words were good, but there was more God needed to speak to this girl’s heart.
Instead of climbing on a plane or in my car every few weekends, I was going to the Farmer’s Market with my sweet guy, moving my shoulders in rhythm to the street musician’s music, and loading up with local produce that I could pour into a new recipe.
One day I woke up refreshed. I didn’t realize how tired I was, how empty I felt, until I slowed down long enough to fill back up.
I was still writing books. I was still studying, but my sabbatical from speaking meant I wasn’t creating messages. I wasn’t working with women’s ministries directors over details. I wasn’t sitting in airports for hours on end. I wasn’t managing the list of items you have to take care of before leaving for an event.
The year ended. I wasn’t sure what God had for me, but I felt ready.
[bctt tweet=”If God asks you to put something down, perhaps it’s because He wants you to pick up something new. #ComeWithMe #livingfreetogether” username=”suzanneeller”]
Last night I stood in front of a crowd of beautiful women, an open Bible before me. I shared the message God had placed on my heart. At the end of the night, I couldn’t hold back the tears. I treasured the moment I prayed with a woman who ran back into the arms of Jesus. I delighted as I worshiped with women.
Yet I’m holding it loosely. All of it. Every part of this thing called ministry. It’s not mine to hold tightly; it never was.
Maybe God has been drawing you away from something for a season. You’ve been gripping it with all your might because you’re invested in it. It identifies you. It’s what makes sense.
He can’t give you what He longs to give you, until you put it down. Surrender. Give Him every bit of it. Hold those hands open so He can fill it with something new.
Then watch as God works in you.
Q: Why do we hold on to what God is asking us to put down, even if for a season?
Take a moment and put everything you are doing before Him. Do you sense Him asking you to let go of something? Surrender it.
Friends, it’s the last few days of the Buy One Give One preorder launch for Come With Me Devotional: A Yearlong Adventure in Following Jesus.
This devotional is an intimate walk with Jesus. You soak in a short devo and invitation each morning, and then live out that invitation each day.
If you buy a copy of the book for your personal walk with Jesus, I’ll match it. Instead of putting funds behind marketing a book, my heart is to invest in people. I’ll place that matching book in the hands of a woman in prison, a refugee woman living in the U.S., a woman rescued from sex slave trade, or a woman seeking hope or truth, but doesn’t realize it’s found in Jesus.
How do you participate?
- Buy the book (here’s a list of places where you can preorder it)
- Send a pic of the receipt to email@example.com
- Share a message you want me to handwrite to her
- Pray for the woman who will receive the devotional. You may not know her name, but God does.
Want to know why I wrote this?
[inlinkz_linkup id=737845 mode=1]
I love your example of obedience to God. I think sometimes we hold obto things because they’re good, but if we let go God has something better.
Suzie, God is surely speaking to me through your words here today. Just this morning as I walked around the track, I prayed up a list of names, people God is calling me to give back to Him. He wants me to let go of some of them entirely, others He wants me to hold a bit more loosely. But the attitude He wants from me is the same: surrender. 🙂
Betsy, Lifting you up in prayer this morning as you follow the lead of the Holy Spirit! Have a blessed day!!
Thank you Suzie God speaks to us through people and your beautiful devotions everyday are his words to our ears! I need to stop worrying all the time
I think it takes an incredible amount of faith to step away like you did. God always has a better plan for us than we do. Such a great example of that in your words today.
Thank you for sharing this, Suzie. I needed to hear/read this as I stepped away from almost everything a couple of years ago and God has not led me back to the same place. Instead He has taken me to places that I didn’t know I needed to be to get to where He wants me to go. Sounds vague, but I feel confident you know exactly what I’m saying. I want to be obedient before I go further in ministry for Him. God doesn’t need me to further His ministries, He can do it without me. I am privileged that He chooses to use me so I definitely want to be obedient as I wait for His leading!
Suzie, one year the Lord asked me to put something down I enjoyed. I didn’t understand, but I obeyed, and He brought me something better, richer, sweeter.
Deeply pondering this post — your example and the message spoken into my full life. The words I’m hearing from God -> your plate is so full, there is no room on it for anything new. Trust Me.
Put it all before Him. Ask Him to show you what is there for a season, what is there because you put it there, what is there that should remain. Take His lead.
I recently put down not a ministry calling but a very heavy burden. I’ve truly been set free and my prayer now is “Lord, what would you have me do with this new freedom I have in you?” Patiently seeking his will and waiting on His voice.
Praying for you as you wait, Nancy!
Suzie, I sit here with tears trickling down my face. There are relationships and ministry that God has asked me to put down over the last 2 years. He has asked me to learn to be still before Him. I was burnt to a crisp inside and I needed to fill. I am realizing that some things are a forever putting down and He is doing something new. It is as though my heart grieves. I was asking him this month about why I am having a hard time doing this sometimes. For me some became my identity and in other ways I love deep and My commitments are heartfelt amd sincere. I want to serve well and for my Heavenly Father to be pleased. So I hear God speaking clearly through you this morning. I love you Suzie. Thank you for your example and for sharing with us.
I know how you feel, Desiree. Talking about this is hard, because there is a legitimate need in every ministry, in relationships, in things that we do because we love them, and yet God cares more about that ministry, that person, that situation than we ever could. Taking His lead doesn’t mean that we are giving up or don’t care, but that we are partnering with Him.
Suzie, this is one of my favorite messages you’ve ever written. SO thankful for your testimony to God’s faithfulness and wisdom when He leads us to put things down. What He entrusts to us to steward was never meant to become an idol, and it easily does when we think we can’t also let go and entrust it to Him too! Thank you for this!
Yes! Oh Suzie, how true. He cannot fill our hands with good things when our hands are tightly clenched – hanging onto the past.
Two years ago, I heard “step off the grid” and I did. Wowowowow what a difference. In pace in this race He has set before me.
Yet He is right here with me in the middle of rural North Louisiana on a beautiful lake. (And He even sent me a momma kitty that gave me 6 kittens a couple of weeks ago! She started nesting on August 27 – my “forever 20 year old” Kyle’s 30th birthday and delivered them the next day.
Oh by the way, I’d gotten 2 male kittens in the spring. Their birthday? March 20. Same day as my older son Matt.
Isn’t God good?!
This went straight to the heart: “If what I do is for Him, then putting it down isn’t a big thing — especially when He’s the one asking.”
Yes. Yes. And yes. Nine months ago I began to hear Him whisper it was time to re-evaluate my blogging and time online. My family was in a season where we needed to “circle the wagons”. Regroup, reconnect…heal. I doubted Him a hundred times over. “Did I hear you right?” “Am I being negligent, or lazy with what the opportunities you’ve given me?” But I kept sensing “Cindy, this is just for a season. Put. It. Down.” I don’t know how you do it Suzie Eller but your words always have a way of ministering to the deepest parts of my heart. I thank you and I thank Him. Have a great day sister.
Cindy, thank you. Talking about this can be hard, because it feels like we aren’t “doing what God tells us to do,” but it’s the opposite. It’s doing exactly what He tells us, even when that is to put something down that looks or feels good. I appreciate you!
<3 <3 <3 love you, Cindy!
I am now in the “picking it back up season”. I laid my artwork down for about the last 20 years, and only painted in little bursts..it never did gel. God wanted me to focus on my family..to homeschool and lead my kids into their own creativity. Now, I pick it back up, and I see all the pieces falling elegantly into place. Because it’s God’s timing, not mine. I am praying that I keep listening, stay humble, and always bring glory to His name and His kingdom.
Amen! Such a good word, Suzie. I felt God calling me to lay my blog and podcast down for four months earlier this year, and it was the best decision I have ever made. God’s way is FREEDOM and any time we hold on to something He is calling us to let go we aren’t living free. Thank you for this reminder!! XO
Gosh, I’m grieving. There’s an area of ministry that we’ve felt we needed to put down for years now. But we simply don’t know how. We’ve tried, with no direction otherwise. We’re confused. There’s got to be SOMETHING to take its place, because this is our livelihood, but what now? So we wait. We sit in the waiting place, knowing that He has something for us here. I think my biggest regret is that I know that we aren’t putting 100% into this ministry, because we’re tired and burnt, but the ministry NEEDS and DESERVES 1000%. I know He has a plan. I know He will reveal it in His timing. My trust is in HIM!
Thank you for your vulnerability, Suzie. I adore you.
Praying for clarity for you, sweet friend. As I read your words I kept hearing the word “we,” which is so important, but what is God asking you to do? That’s a question Richard and I also wrestle with often. We believe that God has called us to share some things, but He also speaks and leads us individually. Praying for you. Believing with you.
Wow… you’re so in tune, Suzie. I love that. Thank you for those words… I needed them.
Your example is profound. In that rat race that we call “publication” and “platform,” the lie that’s whispered into the aspiring speaker/author is, “If you’re not ‘on’ and ‘available’ every minute of the day, you’re out. Irrelevant.” I struggle with this notion. In fact, I don’t just struggle, I want to rally and raise a fist. I want to retreat into my private God-place and let the words just dance off the keyboard instead of “doing business.” You are wise, Suzie, and you’re an inspiration to me. I don’t want my life to end up a pile of dry bones. “Watch this: I’m bringing the breath of life to you and you’ll come to life…” Thank you.
I love getting your devotionals and messges in my email. They are always so timely…God knows just what we need when we need it doesn’t he? I could picutre you at the market, in your kitchen, rested, whole, full, renewed….I long so deeply for that… I feel as if I have been in the same, long, endless battle for years. 13 to be exact. Since my Daughter was born and her father and I divorced. Legally, in court, out of court, child support, attorneys fees, wrestling with why his mother continues to fuel a fight with no end or solution. Why she continues to enable him and ignore her only grandchildren. All the while overcompensting for his lack and abscence and my guilt and shame. Worrying incessantly about Brooklyn and Claire and if they are ok and how all this will affect them and where and how they will end up. Trying to control and manage it all with a new blended family and a new mortgage and bills and work and a side business all while trying to turn it over and beginning each day with “Not my will, but THY WILL be done.” I am so tired Suzanne. Ive extended several olive branches with no success. Not even a glimmer of hope. I want to put it down and I know God wants me to put it down and trust him so desperately and maybe I am letting my fear of not being in control and not winning and not showing them and not getting what I think the girls and I deserve financially stand in the way of what God is about to do and shift and abundatly bless us with…please pray for us to have the faith and trust to finally PUT. THIS. DOWN.
Thank you, Melisa
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)
Melisa, I am sorry for what you have been dealing with for so many years. That is hard stuff. I pray for the faith, trust, and to step forward towards God and know He is with you. Jesus has His hand stretch out to you. I pray you will find rest in Him. Michele
Suzie, I’m in a period of transition right now and I needed this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I am fighting putting things down and confused by what I hear. I heard God say to put something down for a year and I did. But I was assuming it was just for a season, not forever. Now I find myself trying to squeeze it in or shorten the season of rest from it. It is something good and helpful yet something he asked me to put down for this year. Thank you for your wise words. I know exactly where I need to go back to prayer on this topic.