"Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end, I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily." Colossians 1:28-29 (emphasis mine)
I am pretty good at putting myself down. The condemning self-talk only gets worse when I'm feeling tired, worn out, or just blah. It may start out with you didn't wash dishes today...look at the mess piled up on the counter. And then usually there will be an and look at the mess in the living room! You know Drew hates that. Suffice it to say that it escalates from there, sometimes even listing the ways that I'm a terrible wife or mom. Or both.
Tonight was one of those nights. And I just felt...dissatisfied. Because I'm not clean or neat. Because I wish that we had just a little more money...maybe to pay off student loans or buy a few more diapers. Because I miss being pregnant and though my sweet girl is such a joy, she's also a handful. (And, no, I haven't gotten to the part where I would actually have two kids. I don't dream that far ahead...on purpose.) I want so badly to be the person (albeit idealized) that I want to be. The person that I'm sure would do a little better than all of the things I feel that I'm doing wrong.
Here's the rub: I can't. There is nothing in me that is good. Nothing in me that is righteous. Even this idealized form that I aspire to, I cannot get there on my own. There is only this: "Christ in me, the only hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). And there is this: "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved..." (Colossians 3:12).
Because Christ is my hope of glory, because I am holy and beloved, He works mightily in me. He works in me...mightily. So often, I want to be better. I want to do more. And I fail. Why? Because I am relying on my own strength. Because I am not trusting Him to lead me in love. Instead, I lead myself...in fear and distrust. After all, who could love me? Just the way I am?
When I trust God to work mightily in me, I give up my own dreams and wishes for myself. I rely on God to lead. I strive because He leads me to strive. I rest because He leads me to rest. He leads me according to what He knows I can handle. According to what He knows I need. According to His will.
Oh, this is hard. And I fight against it, bucking against the One giving me life. I would rather believe the lies I tell myself than to rest in the Father. I would rather strive, working myself into a fit, than to be at peace. After all, haven't we heard so often that if you just change your mindset, if you just work at it, you can accomplish anything? Do better, work harder, strive. Often, these cries drown out the quiet whisper: "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). Because He is working in us. He is leading us from glory to glory. In His time.
Where is He leading you? To rest? To strive? To do the thing you think you cannot do? Lean on Him. Trust Him. Yes, it isn't easy. Yes, it's so very hard. But, friend, practice anyway. Because eventually this giving of things to Him, this leaning on Him? It does get easier. Even when it doesn't feel like it.