Learning to Be

James Parnell

This is where I wrestle. I have long dealt with the belief that the only way to earn God's favor is by doing enough. If I can be seen as capable or knowledgeable, I will also be seen as worthy. If I can check off all the to-do list items, I can somehow have the right to be called a child of the King.  If I can just do enough, I am being enough. When I am good, I am protected and loved and taken care of by God. When I am bad, I no longer deserve that protection, love or gentle care of God. This lie and distortion of the Truth of God is a stronghold I continually struggle with. 

I picked this lie up when I was young, younger than ten. As I grew up in the church, I took that lie and planted it at the center of my faith. I was, and still am, so good at checking off boxes to make sure that I was good enough for my Jesus. I wanted nothing more than His approval for me. For the RIGHT to be called His daughter. 

This need for Christ's approval spills over into other relationships as well. I want my husband, parents, kids, friends and even sometimes strangers to like me so much that I know I am worthy of their time. Because if I am worthy of them, I am worthy. 

All this searching for my own worthiness left me tired. Worn out from the roller coaster of my own performance. It led to, years of striving and missing the mark which led to a doubling down of my own effort. Until I eventually had no more effort left because I had reached the limit of my own self. Here is where I confronted the lie. 

When you and I are unable to DO anymore. When you and I are physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually unable to make whatever situation we are in tolerable or end victoriously, that is where we find Jesus. He is not at the bottom of our to-do list. He is not in the corner office waiting to give us a performance review. Christ is waiting at the moment of our surrender. 

Second Corinthians 12:9-10 says, "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me." Paul is talking to the Corinthian church about letting go of their own selves. The believers in that church needed to stop trying to do things in their own power or abilities. We do too! 

When you and I stop striving to be good enough, there is Jesus, when we put down our list of rules to follow and embrace mercy, that's when we find Jesus. When you and I lay down what we should do, what we could do, or what we ought to do, that where we find Jesus telling us what HE will do. We need only to surrender to find that Christ's burden is light, and His yoke is easy.