Hands up anyone who recognizes this cycle in their Christian walk?
The performance approach
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This is how it used to go for me… and maybe for you too?
- At the start someone suggests we “desire more” of God and to “get a vision for our lives” or some variation of this “more” theme.
- We delve into the “knock and keep on knocking” logic and we pray and pray for this thing that we don’t yet have (but perhaps others do have). Then when we get what we want from God, we run with it with greater and greater intensity.
- We focus on “hot-cold spit you out of my mouth” type of verses to push ourselves to run faster and faster.
- So we burn out.
- We rediscover the “acceptance” pathway. We “accept God’s will” and highly value following our “peace“. We “lean into His strength”. The book of ecclesiastes (“just do what your hands find to do”) seems very relevant.
- We remain in this state until we feel somehow bored, or until we feel emotionally in need of a high, or until we wonder why God is so quiet, or until we see someone else going on with God. They seem hot, by comparison we feel cold.
- We think… maybe the peace thing is not a good approach. We feel rejected, or left behind. Uncool. The cool kids are all so “on fire” and “hot” for God. And what are we? Oooo… I bet God’s not happy with me.
- Then someone teaches about desiring more of God… see item 1 above.
- We lose out peace and begin striving again… until burn out.
I’ve been around this cycle so much and for so long that I eventually just HAD to find another way. I prayed for a way out of this and found… the relationshp with God is what matters, not what we manage to do for Him.
The relationship approach
So I decided to spend my time worshipping Him. I decided to ask Him to make me a…
branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified – Isaiah 60:21
that puts the pressure right back in his hands – where it should be. He gives and you use. Simple. So the focus on you is to live your life with what He has given you.
If other people rushed on ahead of me… that’s ok. If they had “power” and “anointing”… well, I’ll just use what I have and keep on asking God to shape me. If He wants me to have “power” then He’ll give it to me.
You simply use what you have got at your disposal
Like in the parable of the talents, you use what you have been given. If you use it, you get more. It’s right there in the bible. It also says not to strive! The only thing the bible says to strive for (ironically) is to be at peace. Ok then. So…
- You love the people around you with the emotional ability you have got.
- You share your provision with the people around you, when you have something to share.
- And above all, you walk in relationship with Him to the extent that you do have revelation of Him.
- When someone asks you for help, you help them, you offer to pray for them.
And the rest of your day? You live it to the utmost. He came to give you an abundant life!
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). – John 10:10
The wisdom in this is that it is our joy, our peace that comes from being happy, feeling satisfied in Him, in His provision for us… THAT is what the world CAN’T and DOESN’T have. All their greed and searching will not bless them and give them peace.
It’s this contentment and security of His love and our willingness to love others… that is what sets us apart.
Wanting more is a tricky thing. It can be useful, but it can be addictive. Stay away from the addicitive behaviour.
Return to the relationship. Want HIM not STUFF.
If you like this post you might like
- How to stop the emotional-spiritual collapses
- Love God, love others, love yourself – a biblically balanced life
- Christian burn out cycle
- The parable of the talents – use what you have got (not more)