My Soul, why are you so hard on yourself?

Have you asked this question?

We search and inspect, looking for every flaw. We measure and count, grading and comparing that which is precious before God.

As if.

As if we are the judge and the jury. Truly, we are often kinder to others than to ourselves.

What if I learn to let go of the standards I have defined for myself? How freeing to stop trying to press myself into a mold.

You know the kind I’m talking about.

Perfection disguised behind my if only’s.

  • If only I were 25 pounds thinner.
  • If only I were more faithful and brave.
  • If only I were more organized, more prepared, more thoughtful…

If only…

I’m not sure what’s on your list, but believe me, we’ve all got a list of what we think we should be, what we should have done, and we could go on and on until tomorrow has run out of minutes. Too often I have made New Year’s Resolutions and goals from this place of wanting to make myself better. My lists have been full of if only’s, should’s, and ought to be’s. Too often, my goals have been a little over zealous. Do you have goals like these?

New Years Resolutions

Every single year I make a goal to be more organized. And although I have made progress in this area, it still makes it onto my personal hit-list…I mean goal list. Too often my goals center around wanting to “fix” whatever I think is wrong with me, whatever I don’t like about myself, or whatever seems to continually cause trouble for me. How about you, do you make goals this way?

Although there is nothing wrong with striving for more and for better, I am beginning to realize that most of these aspirations come from my agenda to perfect myself.

What if we pay attention to what God has been doing in our lives and form our goals in response?

You see, I am learning that I need to start with what God has already been doing in my life and character, before launching off into an extra list of things to strive for. Pursuing my own agenda blinds me to the gift of what God is doing.

Agenda Quote

Romans 3:27-28 … What we’ve learned is this: God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. We’ve finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade. (The Message)

What lessons can you learn from your major challenges and victories? Are there any concepts that keep coming up again and again and again…? Often, these are places where God has much to teach us, meaning there is usually an ongoing process.

This past year…

For me, 2014 has been a year of God revealing issues of identity, showing me that my identity has been tied to the opinions of others and expectations I have for myself. Pulling back the surface like a tattered blanket, God has been showing me the ways I have depended on myself to cope with life, solve problems, and meet needs.

These tendencies of the flesh are rooted in my own efforts and emotions rather than on the truth and faith. It has been a year of pulling out weeds of the soul that have wrapped tight, squeezing and draining as I have tried to force myself into the mold of who I think I should be.

It has been a time of beginning to heal and walk more practically in the freedom of Christ.

What if our goal list becomes our growth list?

To be faithful is to be full of faith. Once we see what God has been teaching us, we can ask for wisdom to see concrete ways to apply what we have been learning. We can seek to be faithful, full of faith and trusting God to accomplish the true growth than only He can accomplish.

Philippians 1-6pr

Pay attention to what God has been doing in your life and form your goals in response to what He has been teaching you.

It this post hits home with you, I invite you to read a these three short posts that were written in response to the soul healing God has been doing in my life.

Soul Search: Why are You So Hard on Yourself?

Soul Struggle: What’s the Big Deal About the Flesh?

Soul Questions: Do You Like You?

Happy new year friends and may God accomplish wonderful things in each of us this year! What’s on your Growth List this year?