The Goal Setting Mini-Series ends with this post! Part #4 is here in case you missed it.
Does your health allow for busyness, or is regular resting necessary? Do you ever miss being busy?
I really miss being busy. I find busyness intoxicating, and I find resting very boring. For me, one of the hardest things about being housebound with debilitating fatigue is the lack of busyness. I yearn to feel accomplished and self-sufficient.
Ah… Isn’t that at the heart of it? Self-sufficiency.
Don’t get me wrong: self-sufficiency is not a bad thing. If we are able to work, we should. It’s good and right to work hard and not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thess 4:11-12) Even though I’m very limited in my own ability to work, I still hold fast to the value of hard work. I’ll certainly be teaching my kids to have a strong work ethic, once they’re old enough; and I’ve encouraged them to be independent since infancy.
But when it comes to our relationship with God, self-sufficiency is not a desirable goal. It’s not a mark of spiritual maturity. In fact, self-sufficiency is possibly the best summary of what sin means! “I’ll do it my way” is at the heart of sin, after all, isn’t it? The attitude of self-sufficiency says, “I am enough” (self + sufficient). But we are not enough, and that’s precisely why Jesus had to die on the Cross!
It’s amazing how easily we can slip into self-focused ways of thinking without even realising it, don’t you think? And it’s not just us in our modern, technology-saturated, individualistic, secular society who are affected; it’s a problem that’s plagued past generations too.
The drive to achieve personal goals, without thinking of how others might be affected; to experience “the good life” (whatever that is), rather than putting aside our own needs for the sake of others; to be considered competent, and have our work acknowledged by others, so that we can draw our value from what we do – rather than resting in the knowledge that we are valuable simply because we are made in God’s image… Aren’t these drives all rooted in that three-letter word starting with s that’s been with us since the very beginning? (Gen 3)
Listen to what James (Jesus’ brother!) says:
Warning about Self-Confidence
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.
Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
I don’t enjoy sounding preachy, because I know how fallen I am, and I know how fragile our hearts can be… Please don’t feel condemned by these words. Instead, feel inspired to run towards Jesus, who is always waiting for us with open arms – arms of unconditional, unending, tireless love. (And rest assured, this is a message that I need to hear just as much as anyone reading this post!)
When setting goals for the year, let’s remember:
1. We were not created to be self-sufficient…
So let’s not strive towards that goal! We were created to be God-reliant. (Prov 3:5-7)
If you’re a recovering achievement addict like me, take the pressure off! Remember who you are in Christ. Remember that your value lies in him. Your ultimate goal in life is to know him and love him. (Col 3:1-3)We were not created to be self-sufficient; we were created to be God-reliant. Click To Tweet
2. Only Jesus can satisfy that itch of insufficiency in our souls…
So if you are able to work, do it with an eternal perspective. (Col 3:23-24).
And if you’re not able to work, do your illness management with an eternal perspective. (2 Cor 4:16-17)
I’ll close with words from our Lord Jesus – the teaching that followed his miraculous Feeding of the Five Thousand.
But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you… I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:27, 35)
What a profound teaching! The people who flocked to him had witnessed a wonderful miracle: abundant bread to fill their rumbling bellies.
Jesus redirected their thoughts. Jesus declared that he is the only one who can satisfy the rumbling of the human soul.
In 2017, I have one under-girding goal: to remember that Jesus is the only one who can satisfy me, and to keep building my life on him.Jesus is the only one who can satisfy you. Keep building your life on him. Click To Tweet
Friend who is bedbound, feeling weary and useless, will you join me in this goal?
Friend who is housebound, feeling frustrated by fluctuating symptoms that make it very hard to make plans, will you join me in this goal?
Friend who is in constant physical pain, or living with a mind full of turmoil, will you join me in this goal?
Friend who is struggling to make it to work each day, wondering how you can keep going when your body and/or mind don’t function at 100%, will you join me in this goal?
Friend who is clamoring to fill the itch of insufficiency in your soul with more activity than your body can handle, will you join me in this goal?
Let’s walk through this year together. You are not alone.
Father God, thank you for the wisdom we can find in the Bible. Thank you for stretching us and challenging us through your Word. This year, please help us to make goals with an eternal perspective. Please help us to do everything for your glory, whether we’re working or resting. “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever!” (Rom 11:36) Give us patience and endurance when dealing with doctors and managing our ongoing health conditions. In Jesus’ name we boldly come to your throne and ask for help. We love you and we need you. Amen.
OVER TO YOU!
I hope you’ve found this series helpful! Here are the final journaling questions.
1. Your personality:
Do you consider yourself to be a self-sufficient person? Is self-sufficiency a strong value, according to your personal worldview?
If you’re dependent on others due to disability or illness, how do you feel about needing help from others in daily life? Do you find yourself craving self-sufficiency, even in your relationship with God?
If you are relatively independent, physically and/or financially, how can you prevent an attitude of proud self-sufficiency from leaking into your spiritual life?
2. Your story:
How has this series challenged and/or encouraged you?
3. Survey question:
Is self-sufficiency a godly value to instill in children and adolescents? Why, or why not?