Did the title of this post startle you? Probably, since we are constantly encouraged to “do our best.” There is even a saying, “Do your best and let God do the rest.” There is some truth to that, I think,, but there is another facet to that that we don’t generally think of, and it can lead us into trouble.
I’ve mentioned that I recently read “Beautiful Outlaw” by John Eldredge. I have found it to be a very thought provoking book, and recommend you give it a read. I’ve mentioned before points made in the book that caused me to think and re-evaluate some things. This blog flows from another of those. Eldredge points out that we are not actually intended to “do our best”, that God had no intention or plan for us to be able to live righteously, or to become whole, without Jesus. His life, lived in and through us moment to moment, is what makes it even possible for us to have any sort of righteousness or wholeness – we can’t do it ourselves, and never were intended to.
This is not at all a new concept. We have all heard, probably many times, that we are not to do things “in our own strength” – but isn’t that exactly what “doing our best” is? The way he phrased it, that I should not be ‘trying’, but asking Jesus daily, moment by moment, to live his life in me was a uniquely meaningful way of putting it, that resonated strongly to me. I realized it came right back to that control issue, that I know I have blogged about before. I keep ‘trying’ to do it myself, because I haven’t fully released control. Hello – has it really been working to ‘control’ my life myself – I bet you will agree that the answer to that is NO. I try to keep control because I don’t know if I’ll ‘like” what happens otherwise, or ‘be happy’ doing something. I want to know or see or understand so I know I’m capable, that I wont fail or fall flat or screw it up by my inadequacy. Notice how many ‘I’s are in that. It’s all about me, and it shouldn’t be. I KNOW that, but I still keep getting bogged down in that stubborn control thing. I know that can’t work, but I haven’t been able to let it go. Control, performance, being “right”, being “good” – I KNOW that whole mindset/model is wrong and doesn’t work, but I seem to be stuck in that hamster wheel and can’t get myself out of it. Maybe you feel stuck too, whether in this control issue or something else. Let’s pray together to let it go and let God do what only he can do.
Father, You know how much I struggle with this issue. You know how, time and again, I do my best to surrender to You and let go. Help me to stop “doing my best”, and instead allow Jesus to live His life in me, daily, moment by moment. When He is doing that, it is no longer me that will be struggling, because He, and You, are already victorious. You are sovereign and You know all the answers and all the roadblocks and how to deal with anything and everything I might have to face. Help me to let YOU do that, not keep trying, over and over, to “do my best”, because I simply CAN’T do it, and You never intended ME to. Thank You, Lord, for bearing the load I am incapable of bearing. Help me to relax and let You be You, in charge, once and for all. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
In His Service,