Have you ever felt itchy in your soul? Maybe it’s a sense of restlessness. Perhaps you feel not-quite-good-enough, and you fear that people are judging you. Or it could be a niggling conviction that you must be missing something, because the people around you seem to be succeeding in life while you’re floundering.
Not Good Enough
For me, the biggest itch in my soul over the years has been a sense of insufficiency. I haven’t felt “good enough”. In order to cover that itch, I’ve been an over-achiever, a perfectionist and a workaholic.
Becoming housebound with a chronic illness was a catalyst for me. It forced me to let go of these traits that had dictated my life for so long. God, in his providence, has used my illness for his good purposes: finally releasing me from the chains of achievement addiction.God, in his providence, has used my illness for his good purposes Click To Tweet
Since then, I’ve experienced more contentment and peace than ever before. I’ve rediscovered who I am in Christ and, perhaps for the first time in my life, I’ve felt loved for who I am rather than for what I can do. It’s been a truly precious consolation for all of my losses.
Ambition and Idols
So, on New Year’s Eve, I was very surprised to catch myself gazing at an old idol of mine: ambition. (Eph 5:5) The temptation to run wholeheartedly after personal goals that are alluring but ultimately self-serving. The temptation to allow busyness and over-achievement back into my life, when I know that my immune system won’t handle it.
It’s certainly not wrong to have ambitions and set goals. We need them! Things don’t get done without them! But for me, ambition has always tended to become obsessive. It’s been a vice, not a virtue. For many years it eclipsed God in my heart. I relied heavily on my work for satisfaction and a sense of worth. Work was at the very core of my identity.
Busyness was an excellent Band-Aid for the inner itch of insufficiency that nagged at me whenever I sat still.
When work was taken out of my life, through chronic illness, boy did I feel its absence! It completely crushed me. I felt empty, and restless, and ashamed, and terribly directionless.
There’s a great way to test whether a good gift from God has become an idol in our lives. Ask this question: If I lost ___________ , would the very foundation of my life be shattered? Would it feel like I had no purpose, or identity, or security?
If the answer is “yes”, then we need to run towards Jesus and remember to build our lives on the rock. Because Jesus – who will never leave us – is the only one who can truly fix that itchy feeling in our souls.Jesus is the only one who can truly fix that itchy feeling in our souls. Click To Tweet
To be continued…
Here’s the next installment of my Forgettable New Year’s Eve story.
OVER TO YOU!