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My desire to be good enough grew bigger than my desire for God

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In grace, He leads you where you didn’t plan to go in order to produce in you what you couldn’t achieve on your own. In these moments, He works to alter the values of your heart so that you let go of your little kingdom of one and give yourself to His kingdom of glory and grace. Paul David Tripp

It’s difficult to pinpoint when it began — the uprooting of self and replanting of God’s fullness.

We are all made up of unique upbringings, personalities, and passions, with an implanted desire for Someone Greater. Personally, it’s fascinating to encounter humans of all kinds, their stories, and how God helps them work out their salvationIf you asked me today what has colored my life most often, in various hues at different times, I would say fear of man.

Ed Welch helps clarify what fear of man entails:

“Fear” in the Biblical sense is a much broader word. It includes being afraid of someone, but it extends to holding someone in awe, being controlled or mastered by people, worshipping other people, putting your trust in people, or needing people… We exalt them and their perceived power above God. We worship them as ones who have God-like exposing gazes (shame-fear) or God-like ability to “fill” us with esteem, love, admiration, acceptance, respect, and other psychological desires (rejection-fear).

In my experience, living this [false] belief of ‘people are bigger than God’ bears fruit of anxiety and pride. Growing up in church weekly and attending a Christian school, it surfaced in the pressure of prioritizing appearances and managing perceptions. I was happy when feeling like I was doing great for God, but when I wasn’t, I felt terrible. So I strived to always be ‘good.’ By my teenage years, the belief system had grown deep roots: I knew what I should do, and as long as I continued, I would be good enough. Good enough for God, good enough for other people, good enough to believe I was strong, beautiful, or capable.

 

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Gradually, my desire to be good enough grew bigger than my desire for God.

I just didn’t know it at the time.

Life became shoulds and shouldn’ts, and believing myself worthy became the foundation of my identity and my joy.

Maintaining approval, from God and others, became my measuring stick for godliness. 

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longer, slower, simpler in 2018

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These are disciplines I feel God directing me.

I have spent the past few years devouring many books, articles, podcasts and sermons. While stimulating and inspiring, I found myself mentally and emotionally bloated by all the information.

I wasn’t experiencing a great deal of intimacy with my Heavenly Father, and came to a place of real homesickness.

When I had a question or felt a weakness or struggle within, I would pull up desiringGod.org and type it in the search bar.

While I was active in ongoing conversation with God, there wasn’t a lot of “God, I’m sensing this thing, what do you think? where should I go in your Word to learn about it?”

And there definitely wasn’t any sitting in silence for more than 2 minutes.

I was getting flustered too easily. I was feeling overwhelmed almost 24/7. My mind felt cloudy. I felt I had to climb over a bunch of unnecessary stuff (think junkyard piles) to be inspired by God or feel at peace.

Mental and soul rest were not even on my radar.

But eventually, I became desperate.

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releasing more of me to receive more of God

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I need a daily intervention for this reality: choosing Jesus means you live entirely for Someone else.

Choosing Jesus changes the game from “you’re the best, you can do this!” to “God is the best. You can’t, but He can.”

Choosing Jesus replaces self-promoting tendencies with God-exalting habits.

Choosing Jesus fills you with durable hope, compassion, and generosity that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

Choosing Jesus gives a posture of upward and outward affections, in contrast to the life-imploding desires we have without His rescuing.

Choosing Jesus challenges you not to settle for immediate gratification and worldly successes, but aim for the smile of Heaven.

Choosing Jesus means that your passion, beauty, confidence, and purpose in this life is grounded in Someone else.

Have you experienced these fruits of choosing Jesus?

I certainly have, but they didn’t start blooming until I honestly found, and decided, that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are better than every single joy, ability, decision, achievement, relationship, skill, and activity.

Having an active relationship with God deepens everything, but what it has done for me most is shift my heart, soul, and mind’s energy from myself to an open-handed, joyful, adventurous journey towards Him.

And something incredible, He knew I would be terminally imperfect at living this way, but He loved so dearly He sent Jesus to die in my place, bearing all of my sin, my lack, my imperfection. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, because of Almighty God’s perfect plan, nothing separates us. Not my weak ways of loving Him, not the sinful choices I willfully and unintentionally make, not my inescapable humanness.

Choosing this Jesus in our daily life — this Creator, Sustainer, and King — is what gives eternal color to everything we do.

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