Friday, July 27, 2012

When Striving Isn't Good Enough

Today I finished Emily Freeman's Grace for the Good Girl.  I'm taking big deep breaths because those last two chapters I really needed. Really.  Needed...

"I can work hard all day and still get nothing done."- Freeman. As I'm writing this, I'm looking around at my living room, where shoes are fanned out all over the floor.  Glance to the left and the clothes are folded, but piled so high in the laundry basket that they just may spill over.  My mind is racing with all the things I  have to do by next week.... classes start in two weeks and I still have to complete my syllabus, calendar, get stuff uploaded on blackboard, and redo lecture notes because we have a new book to use. My heart gets palpitations easily, and even though I try not to get overwhelmed... well, I just can't help it. 

And this is before anything has ever had the chance to go wrong... and before any of those unexpected things get in the way.  I'm one of those gals who loves her to do list.  I try to plan when I'm going to tackle certain things... but then the phone rings.  Or I get an email that I have to answer.  Or I spill a pop and I have to stop to clean it up.  Or someone stops by my office and just wants to chat... you get the picture.  But what Freeman wrote in chapter 17 is this... "The tempo of a God-breathed life" is to "cherish the unexpected."

A God-breathed life... because really, that's all we've got.  We can strive and try to make it go our way all we want to.  Head down, battle stance ready, and before we know it we are emotionally and physically exhausted because we're fighting a battle that we don't even have to.  God-breathed... He literally breathed life into us and He is doing it every day, but I don't stop to appreciate that. 

Instead, I get all caught up in how things are going wrong and in how I feel.  Freeman addresses that, too, in Chapter 18. "I can't count on feelings because they aren't always right."  Feelings change... we all know that.  One minute we are up, happy as can be, and in an instant we can be knocked on the ground. This is especially true for good-girl doers like me who become so overwhelmed by that to do list, and stressed by the unexpected.  Feelings like, "I can't handle this.  I'm incompetent. What am I even doing here?" enclose me and choke out the truth.  The truth that says, "He's enough.  I can do all things through Him.  He has a plan for me.  He knows me.  He is with me." 

Freeman says we must CHOOSE to embrace the truth rather than our feelings.  "Jesus is the radical, absolutely completed living answer to all our if-onlys and if-I-could-justs.  His unwavering, unchanging, unconditional love and acceptance of us is what we are really looking for."  That's the truth... despite feeling like we need so much more sometimes.  As a striver, it is hard to recognize that for me to finally get what I need, I just need to be.  To live in the moment.  To appreciate what He did for me on the cross.  To accept it, freely, no strings attached.  Because nothing I can do can ever make it better.  I can never do anything to make Him love me anymore than He already does, right now. 

So striving isn't good enough... it never is, never was.  Striving is unnecessary.  Instead, conforming, and allowing Him to reshape... Him doing the work, me being a conduit for His grace to shine through. 

" A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance."- John 10:10, HCSB

1 comment:

  1. I love, love, love this thought: "The tempo of a God-breathed life" is to "cherish the unexpected." Thanks for sharing!