One of the things I struggle with daily, is giving God the credit for all the good things in my life. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17.
If I do well at work, if I’m a good wife, if I write a best-selling novel, if my friends and family love and honor me . . . it’s all thanks to God. None of it is under my own power. But, you see, I like being petted, praised and admired for my accomplishments. Because they’re mine–right?
Well, they aren’t. And I just have to get over it. Recently, I was taking this thinking to the next step. If my accomplishments aren’t mine and I can’t take credit for them, then it’s also not up to me to make wonderful things happen. I spend way too much time trying to live up to my gifts and abilities.
God has given me the gift of writing, so I’d better write a best-seller, netting the top agent and #1 publishing house on my way. God has placed me in a job as a fundraiser, so I’d better raise even more than the goal. God has given me a wonderful church family, so I’d better impress them with my amazing Bible knowledge and overwhelming spirituality. Right?
Ah-ha. Wrong. I am God’s tool. I can only do what he uses me to do. So often I strive to do more under my own power instead of just doing what God asks of me. How could I possibly go wrong doing what God asks? But no, I’m an overachiever. I’ll do my version of what He asks and then anticipate what would be even better.
During a recent Bible study, the speaker got up one evening and said God had given her a message for us. She said He wanted us to know He is pleased with us. That really hit me. Already? He’s already pleased with me? But I haven’t done the really good stuff yet. One day He’ll be pleased–you know, when I really step it up . . . when I finally get it together . . . when I live up to my potential . . .
But that’s just it. The potential of the pencil isn’t in the pencil, it’s in the hand guiding the lead, keeping it sharp and using it to write good words. My potential is in what God chooses to accomplish through me. And you know what? That takes a lot of pressure off. All I have to do is let God guide me. All I have to do is be willing and listen to His guiding.
We’re in Lent now. A time of soul-searching, repentance and fasting. My goal is to fast from trying to impress God. Isn’t that, after all, what I’ve been doing? Trying to show God how well I can anticipate Him? I’ve been trying to finish his sentences for Him, when I should be sitting at His feet, waiting to hear exactly what He has to say–from beginning to Amen.