Do you drive half the folks around you crazy as you push full-throttle to prove yourself?
Ever been so focused on getting it all together that you lose an important part of yourself in the process? Maybe leave a trail of debris of brokenness behind your race to find your worth and grasp that IT that will make everything OK?
My idea of OK might be a little different than yours, but generally, the IT we seek has a lot to do with meeting our core needs to be loved, valued, accepted, secure, successful, or worthy.
As believers in Christ, it’s easy to bring this get-it-together-mindset into our spiritual lives. In religious talk, we call that walking in the flesh.
Without realizing it, we dress up this make-myself-alright-thinking, with lots of Bible study, church service, good deeds, and PG movies.
Friends, the struggle is real.
For a long time, I tried so hard to become the person I felt like I should be. The person others wanted me to be. And the person I thought God wanted me to be.
This person was a paragon of wisdom who always makes the right call. Organized, efficient, neat, successful at work, kind, knowledgeable, well-liked by all. . .
This got-it-together gal would never do air-headed things like leave the keys in the car door, forget about early dismissals, or purchase a plane ticket for the wrong date. She would get that promotion, and all her kids would earn scholarships to college.
Call it what you want—craziness, perfectionism, flesh, or even rampant professionalism . . .
Have you tripped over a few of the struggles of trying to get it all together?
- discouragement–when effort doesn’t lead to the result we desired
- worry–insecurity of the get-it-together life leads to anxiety or pride
- stress–multiplies when we lose perspective of who we are in Christ
- fear–that we’ll never be enough or get what we need robs us of peace
- comparison–life becomes a competition rather than a celebration
These are just a few of the subtle ways we can trip over our good intentions. The apostle Paul put it this way:
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Galatians 3:3
The shift from dependence on Christ to reliance on self-effort is a consistent temptation.
Learning new ways to think and respond
Renewal of our thinking is the essence of transformation. When sin, flesh, motivation, or attitudes trip us up, it’s encouraging to remember that God has already dealt with our sin.
Friend, today is the day to embrace who God says you are rather than trying to earn the acceptance and value that’s already yours.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.–Philippians 1:6.
Are we trusting God to complete his work in our lives or are we trying to finish the job for him?
God’s after something completely different than our getting it all together.
What if He’s far more interested in our deeply understanding how much we are loved and valued than what we can achieve in our self-effort?
Here’s a glimpse from my journal with a personalized version of Ephesians 3:16-19. Combining translations, definitions, spacing, emphasis, and notes to myself, I process truth on the page as God impresses it on my heart.
This is one of the ways He transforms and renews my thinking, freeing me from the pressure of trying to get it all together.
May he grant me– it’s a gift!
. . .to be strengthened and spiritually energized ( I don’t have to somehow make myself spiritually strong).
with POWER through HIS SPIRIT (not my effort, not my power)
in my inner self [indewelling my innermost being and personality]
Christ may DWELL in my heart THROUGH faith.
And may I
Having been (already done!!)
[deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded IN love,
be fully capable of comprehending
with all the saints
the width, length, height, depth of His love
[FULLY experiencing] that amazing endless love.
And that I come to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that I
MAY BE FILLED [throughout my being] to
ALL the FULNESS of GOD
[so that I may have the richest experience of God’s presence in my life], completely filled and flooded with God HIMSELF.
Beyond all I can ask or think…
GOD CAN DO.
If we choose to believe and live in light of these powerful truths, we will no longer trip over the trying-to-get-it-together life.