It recently occurred to me that fear dictates much of what I do and don’t do. When I feel God has placed something on my heart, I dismiss it because I’m not good enough and surely He didn’t mean for me to do that? I think that I have to achieve some level of discipline or spiritual maturity before I’m qualified for the job, so I simply never move.
It’s pure defeat, allowing my mind to go there. I’ll never have mastery here, and I’ll never have discipline there. When will I just do what I know I’m supposed to do? I’m convicted of the ways in which I fall short , or I read through the passages in Matthew that shine a piercing spotlight into the areas of my life that are lacking tremendously. I wonder when I’ll ever be different than I used to be? When will it click, and when will I finally be that faithful and fearless woman I desire to be?
I chew on it long enough until it finally hits me: this sanctification process is just that — a process. Until the day of Christ’s return I will not be perfected (Phil. 1:6). I’ll struggle and fail and fall short and there’s no way around it. That’s the thing about being human.
A thought flickers for a moment that maybe, just maybe this is part of the plan. Maybe I’m not supposed to be qualified for the task? Maybe I’m supposed to be desperate and humbled and in need of Him every hour?
Because here’s the thing: if I was completely self-sufficient and consistently self-controlled and had it all together on my own, I wouldn’t be actively and fervently pursuing His strength and His grace every single day. If I could do it on my own, I certainly wouldn’t need Him.
Over the years I’ve come to learn that God is all about relationship with us. He wants to be known and He wants to involve us in what He’s doing. He desires intimacy with us. So my need, my weakness, my inability? It simply means I have to rely on Him, it means He gets to be my hero, and it means that our relationship is strengthened and deepened, as painful or awkward or scary as it may be. I just wonder if I’m missing out on sweet fellowship with Him as I try to pull it together on my own?
One of the wildest truths is that God sees my humanity and He wants to fill it. Not with a better version of me, but with Himself. If I could do it all on my own, is that really where I want to be anyway? What am I trying to prove to the God who spoke the stars into place and has numbered the very hairs on my head? His power is made perfect in my weakness, not in my ability (2 Corinthians 12:9). His grace is sufficient for my shortcomings, not my successes.
Don’t I want more of Him and less of me?
Maybe I have it backwards and maybe that’s the paradox of it all: as I set out to pursue some kind of spiritual excellency, it ends up that I come to know Him more, and He becomes that much bigger and that much more mysterious and that much more necessary for my very survival. And in the end, I’m not much further along than I ever was except that I know Him more deeply and I rely on Him more desperately than I did before. And then I simply act, trusting that where my qualification ends, He will make up the rest (and then some).
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What do you think? Have you set arbitrary standards for yourself that you fail to meet? Do you feel that disqualifies you for what God’s calling you to do? Maybe it’s time to give up a self-sufficiency or a need for control that you never really had? Maybe it’s time to simply pursue Him alone.
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