I can do it by myself.
I don’t need any help.
How many times have I said those words. Maybe not that I am superwoman, but I’m sure it was implied a time or two! I think that I have always been independent. Always thought that was one of my strengths. And in the world’s view, it is recognized as a strength to be completely independent — never depending on anyone for anything.
BUT, as I read chapter 6 of Stressed Less Living, I realize very quickly how wrong I have been for so many years.
In the Scripture verses this week was listed one of my favourite ones, that until this week never really took in the full meaning of the verse.
Philippians 4:13 – “For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.”
I don’t know how many times that I quoted this verse. But God revealed to me this week that I was not reading one of the words ‘with’. I can do everything WITH the help of Christ. I was never made to do it alone. God gave us Jesus Christ to help us with everything. So I can do everything when I lean on Christ for the strength that I need. I always tended to read the first part and forget the second part.
One of the hardest thing in this chapter was when Tracie stated the fact that trying to do it all on my own was a pride issue. I have never thought that I was a prideful person, but this chapter pointed out that I am. (ouch!)
“All too often we do things in our own strength and wisdom, rather than realizing or relenting to our need for God’s help.” (pg 121, Stressed Less Living). Very true. It is not until all my strength is gone that as a last resort turn to God. Why do I do this? This lesson would have been a lot easier to learn when I was younger and not so set in my ways. But once again, the breaking-melting-molding process is happening.
But there is hope. “As we learn to dwell in Christ daily, we are better equipped to handle stress and adversities and better prepared to avoid meltdowns altogether.” (page 121) Such easy advice. Just dwell in Christ daily and no more meltdowns. I know a few people who would appreciate the no more meltdowns! But hard to put into practice when so used to doing it all on my own.
It was interesting to read that as long as I continue to do things on my own and not embrace God’s sovereignty and power, that my life will continue to be full of frustration and stress. This is so clear-cut solution to my stressed filled life.
But….I want to do it myself. I want to take the credit for accomplishing anything, something all on my own. But this is not the way that God created me to be.
Pride is very complex. According to the dictionary, there is good (positive) pride and bad (negative) pride. But if you read chapter 6 of Stressed Less Living you will realize that yes, pride is complex and also that nothing about pride is good or positive. “Pride in any form will eventually lead to stress. It is a condition that makes the heart sick. And when the heart is sick, we are ill-prepared to deal with the stressors of life.” (page 132)
As I read these pages and realized how prideful I can be, I also came to the conclusion that I have not been allowing God to be actively involved in all areas of my life. I realized that I have things placed into different compartments — things I can do and things that I need help with. And to be completely honest, most things start in the first compartment and then gradually get moved to the second when I am completely stressed out!
“Is it possible that the reason you feel as if God doesn’t see you or your problems or care about your stress is because you are focused on you, instead of God?” (page 132). WOW! What a question! I think it really hit me because it has a lot of truth in it. How many times have I complained to God that he was taking too long to answer my important request? How often have I just went ahead and did something without waiting for God to respond…that’s if I took the time to ask him in the first place?
This really highlighted the area in my life that I need to be focused on. My focus must always be on God and what he wants for my life. I can see where in some areas, I don’t have a problem with this, but there are other places where there is a huge problem! I am thankful that Trace puts it so clear and straightforward in this chapter. There is no beating around the bush, she cuts to the heart of the matter.
Patience. Obedience. Two areas where I struggle with. But God is working in my life, breaking me where it is needed, melting the areas that need correction and melting me into the woman he wants me to be.
My prayer this week is for me is a “life where I let go of the reins and give God complete sovereignty over my future” (page 133, personalize)
My song this week has been ‘I’ll surrender all’. It started this week on Sunday as a response to God’s message and has carried through to this Bible Study. It is really about surrender every part of my life to him.