An Invitation to Be Yourself
by Joanne Ellison

Good morning and welcome to Making Space for God Mondays! The purpose of this blog is to help you declutter your life so that you can make room for God. So many of us are so intensely busy that to think of putting one more thing on our “to do” list freaks us out. My goal is to help you take things off of your plates so that you can have more room for God. When we are running around on our hamster wheel of life, we miss the central purpose of our lives– and that is to draw near to God. Jesus came to earth and showed us the way….

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me– watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’l learn to live freely and lightly (Matthew 11:28- The Message translation). 

Do you feel as though you are chained to the perpetual hamster wheel? We look at our lives, broken, tired and wonder what is the purpose of all this running around? We wonder if there is more to life.  We wonder who we are and where we are going. In short, we long to uncover our real self. Because the busier we are, the more layers we take on that separate us from drawing near to God. We make excuses that we don’t have time to nurture a relationship with God. But the truth is our hearts yearn for just this. Our hearts yearn for the simpler days (were there really any?) and we long for something…. that something is and always will be God.

An Invitation to be Yourself

So today I am offering you a proposal. If you will consider writing down all of the things that you are doing on one piece of paper and then on another write down all of the things that are absolutely necessary (like going to work, parenting, etc. ) Write down the things that bring you life and the things that suck the life out of you. Ask the Lord to merge the two lists into HIS list. This exercise will not only help you shed the unnecessary world of the “should’s and oughts” it will also help you to enter into the world of divine appointments and discover your true self. Layers will be peeled back and you may see that some of what you are doing is to please others, or to show that you are able, or perhaps because you have always done it. And once you come to terms with following HIS list, you will find a new internal rest; you will be in your “sweet spot” serving the Lord and others. And the best part is that you are at rest because….

You have found your true self, serving in the way in which God has both fitted you and called you. Now some of you are wondering how I can speak so directly about these things. I spent years on the hamster wheel trying to please others, and prove myself with my “can do” attitude. Burned out and stressed out, I turned to God and He took me to the verses above.

Are you tired? CHECK

Are you burned out? CHECK

Get away with me and you will recover your life…. 

This verse pierced my heart. So I made space for God and came into a relationship with His Son Jesus Christ, yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit and I found rest and I found myself. The real self that God had created me to be. And now I get asked all the time. How do you do all that you do? My answer?

I work from a place of rest having found the secret of the unforced rhythms of grace. 

How about you? Are you tired? Burned out? Wondering who you have become? Draw near to the One who loves you unconditionally. Complete the exercise above and release the “should’s and oughts” and you will learn to live freely and lightly. Jesus is issuing you an invitation today to discover your real self.

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  1. Martha Bouknight

    U r a living , breathing example of who we can and should become when we drop all the “things” in our lives to having a real and loving personal relationship with God. He so wants desires that. Your devotional book is my favorite. May God continue to Bless u and your ministry how could we get u to come to our church ? Mt. Horeb UMC in Lexington SC?
    Sincerely, martha Bouknight. Lynn Land is a dear friend. We went to High schools together

    • joanneellison

      Dear Martha- thank you so much for your kind words. Delighted you are using my devotional and that this blog spoke to your heart. I would love to come to Mt. Horeb. All you need to do is submit a request on our website. There is a request for speaker form. If you have trouble with this please call my director of operations- Tori Hennis at 843-284-4333.
      God bless you! Joanne

  2. Laura Steiner

    Love this photo of you full of joy and freedom???? Inspiring! Thank you for your faithful, loving heart and thoughts. God’s continued blessings on you, your family and ministry????????

    • joanneellison

      Thank you Laura! As I wrote this I was reminded of the Scripture: ” It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”. (Galatians 5:1). Blessings to you!

  3. Doris Zapata

    Loved reading this blog! Thank you! Will keep on reading. 🙂


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