For those of us who can never get our acts together

by Susan Stilwell



                               

Woman whisperingI hear voices inside my head.

Not schizophrenic voices, but the kind of self-talk that makes me feel less than. Voices that tell me I’m not good enough, not spiritual enough, not humble enough… That everyone around me succeeds in pleasing God, but that I don’t measure up because I can’t get my act together.

We all hear those accusing voices from time to time, and we often try to drown them out by trying harder.

We strive, adopting personal disciplines such as quiet times, tithing, fasting and serving in one form or another. We pray and read our Bibles and we do good things.

And then we fail. We snooze through quiet times, fall behind in our giving, grumble as we serve that 20% of us do 80% of the work. Our prayers become rote and our Bible reading mechanical. And we convict ourselves because we’re letting God down.

We understand that our doing doesn’t save us—that we’re saved by grace alone through faith alone. But we can easily fall into the trap of believing that we remain in that grace by our own personal set of rules. A set of rules we can’t keep.

Our accuser convinces us that when we continue to fail, God is aggravated with us. That He shakes His heavenly head and sighs, and with hands on hips wonders why we never can seem to get our acts together.

In our zeal to do better and please God, a lie can form in our minds: that God loves us more when we perform well.

“It is finished,” Jesus gasped and His yielded His spirit (John 19:30).

Finished was His work and mission on earth, but also finished was mankind’s striving to please God.

Through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, God is well pleased and now looks at us through the eyes of a loving Father. His hands aren’t on His hips—He’s clapping and cheering us on! He isn’t shaking His head—He’s nodding and encouraging us to keep going. He isn’t growing impatient—He’s gently guiding our paths.

Happy womanGod knows we’ll never have our acts together and He loves us anyway. The voices in our heads may accuse us, but His word affirms us:

So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God — all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God. ~Romans 5:11 (nlt)

It is finished in Christ Jesus. No sin will make Him love us less; no good deed will make Him love us more.

Heavenly Father, as we continue to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, let the truth of “It is finished” ring in our hearts and silence the accusing voices in our heads.

Photo Credits: FreeDigitalDownloads, StockImages

Email Author    |    Website About Susan Stilwell

Susan Stilwell is a wife to Steve, mom to Scott and Sarah. After that, she writes, teaches, blogs and speaks. If you want to see her get really excited, ask her about her travels to Israel! One of Susan’s favorite things to do is to chat over coffee. And don’t forget your smartphone and laptop — this former programmer is full of helpful hints! You can connect with Susan on her websiteTwitterFacebook, Instagram, or Google+

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dawn Paoletta ( April 7, 2015 at 7:12 am

Susan, I so understand the voices in my head. It does not take long before I find myself indulging the enemy by not taking my thoughts captive…usually after I do something wrong, mess up etc. BUT, thankfully we can escape and adjust or readjust our eyes and sight upon our Lord! Thanks for your words today.

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2 Diane W. Bailey April 7, 2015 at 2:37 pm

I hear them too! I scold them and tell them to silence…sometimes out loud. But God, he makes it possible for me to rest in what Christ has done. Love this post, Susan!

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3 Yolanda DeLoach April 8, 2015 at 6:17 am

Susan, this lie is so easy to get caught up in. We look around and see people who seem to have it all together and we feel they are pleasing God more. Thanks for the reminder that we are loved anyway!

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4 Michele Morin April 10, 2015 at 9:39 am

Glad to have found this take-a-deep-breath-and-believe-it-post at Counting My Blessings. I heard a quote long ago that I carry and remember: What would you do to a friend who lied to you as often as your feelings have? Yup. Thanks be to God for His truth-telling Spirit within!

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5 Ginger Harrington April 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

Loved this post, Susan. We all struggle with this in some shape or form. This is a great example of the power of what Jerry Bridges calls, “preaching the gospel to yourself.”

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