Healthy Lifestyle, Passion & Purpose, Personal Journey

Running in Circles: a case of identity

The stories and photos are literally at our fingertips, especially in light of social media. People who are making a difference. Organizations that are running effective programs that impact thousands. Problems being solved. Lives being changed. I love reading stuff like this; it’s inspiring. But I’ve also come to realize that, if I’m not careful, it becomes a slippery slope.

It’s easy for me to compare myself to others, especially those working with other non-profits or ministries. Not comparing in a way that is judgmental of them, but condemning of myself. “I’m not doing enough” or “they are way more effective than me” run through my head more than I’d like to admit.

And so I begin the mental checklist that can basically be summed up in two items:

  1. Do more.
  2. Be more.

And so I strive, oh I strive. I aim to help more people, listen to more sermons, read more inspiring books, learn new skills, pray more, do more things that make me feel like I’m doing more and being more.

  • Check.
  • Check.
  • Check.

The list gets marked off. But really, I’m running in circles because checklists don’t get to the root of the issue (shocking, I know).

Without quite realizing it, I dangerously begin to project my thoughts of myself and all I should do and be onto who my Heavenly Father says I am. That I’m not doing enough. That I’m not enough.

And so begins the vicious cycle of striving all over again.

But if I stop and truly listen, I realize that those voices are not that of my Creator. They are flat out lies. Because when I hear His voice, it doesn’t condemn me. He doesn’t tell me to do more or to be more.

Because here’s the truth: I am His daughter, made complete and perfect through Christ (Colossians 2:9-10, Hebrews 10:14). That’s who He says I am. I cannot be more than who I already am.

It’s one thing to know the truth with my brain. But it’s a life-transforming thing to know the truth so that it’s rooted in my heart and pumping through my veins.

My task is not to compare, to condemn, to try harder. It’s a harmful cycle that puts undue pressure on people to live up to an unobtainable standard, causes unnecessary striving, and negates the truth that it’s God who is the hope of the world – not me. Yes, He often works through people, but it’s not our job to be the savior.

If God leads someone to start an organization that impacts thousands for His glory, can I simply praise Him for how He is at work without measuring myself up to someone else’s “success”? Can I simply be faithful where He has placed me?

Really, I have but one responsibility: to listen to my Father and obey His voice. To obey His voice is to believe the truth of who He says I am. To be faithful with that which He has given me. To only take up the things which He asks me to take up.

I’m on a journey to know the life-transforming truth of who my Heavenly Father says I am and to live from that place. I don’t have to strive. I don’t have to try harder. It’s a journey that is saturated in grace and flowing with the delight of my Creator. Oh, it is such a freeing place to be.

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