I dug the shovel into the wet soil, pulled up on the roots, and placed tangled weeds one-by-one into a large Ikea bag. After a half hour my back ached, and the large number of remaining weeds angered me.
“I can pull weeds for the rest of my life and never finish. This is such a waste of time,” I thought.
A few minutes of anxiety passed, and the Holy Spirit softly unearthed a lie I believed: my value depends on my achievements.
Somewhere along the way this lie planted in my soul and produces tangled weeds. I live with constant self-talk: “Gotta get more done…gotta get more done.” The anxiety is exhausting.
DO YOU EVER TIRE OF THE ANXIETY TO PUSH HARDER TO ACHIEVE MORE SO THAT OTHERS (OR GOD) WILL VALUE YOU?
HERE ARE 3 TRUTHS GOD IS REMINDING ME:
1. WE ARE VALUABLE BECAUSE GOD MADE US.
I know this basic truth, but in my practical lived-out faith, sometimes I believe: the more I accomplish in a day, the more valuable I appear before God and others.
Sometimes anxiety and fear fuel me more than faith.
But Genesis 1 meets us with the foundational truth of our personhood. God’s work in creating the first man and woman—is marked with His delight: it was “very good.” (Genesis 1:26-31)
In Psalm 139 David echoes this sentiment in God creating him: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
We too are made to image God and we are valuable simply because the great I AM made us.
2. GOD ACCEPTS US BY GRACE ALONE.
Paul bombarded the “foolish Galatians” with rhetorical questions about their faith in Galatians 3. I imagine the kind of questions God might ask us.
You are saved by faith in Jesus, so why are you anxious about earning My favor?
If your accomplishments could earn you a right relationship with me, why would you need grace?
Did your accomplishments save you from the wrath to come or grant you the gift of the Spirit?
Then why are you pushing so hard to achieve more so I will value you?
When we actually step back to look at the contradiction of trying to earn God’s approval through our actions, the answer blooms to reveal truth.
No—we do not earn God’s favor. Grace is unmerited, unearned, gifted favor. God valued a relationship with us, so He paid the penalty of for our sin.
We are saved by grace through faith—period (Ephesians 2:8-9). Then we serve (work) out of God’s loving approval and acceptance (James 2:18).
3. OUR GOAL IS FAITHFULNESS TO GOD, NOT ACHIEVEMENT.
Anxiety grew inside me while pulling weeds for hours because I thought about all the things I could spend time on besides digging and pulling.
Sometimes living faithfully to God looks like a pile of leaves and not a pile of published articles, but it can feel less faithful.
WHAT DID FAITHFUL LIVING LOOK LIKE FOR THE DISCIPLES? FOLLOWING JESUS.
Following Jesus in the New Testament meant walking through the fields on the Sabbath gleaning left over grain because they needed to eat (Mark 2:23). Or rowing through a storm (Mark 4:35-41).
Other times following Jesus meant preaching the Kingdom (Acts 2:38-40), helping feed 5,000 with a few bread loaves and fish (Matt. 14:13-21), or witnessing the power of God to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-43).
Both in the mundane and miraculous, following Jesus frees us from the anxiety to accomplish to earn God’s approval and acceptance.
I’M RELEARNING TO BELIEVE DEEP IN MY SOUL THAT GOD ACCEPTS ME BY HIS GRACE THROUGH FAITH EVEN BEFORE I ROLL OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING.