Determination isn't enough

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are [...]" (1 John 3:1). 

I had lunch with an old college friend last week, and she bravely shared about an awesome transformation in her life. She explained how God revealed the sin of pride within her heart and showed her humility instead. My friend talked about the difficulty in this, how she had to remember that her worth does not come from her success in her career, her parenting, or even in how she loves her husband; her identity comes from Christ and being adopted into God's family through Christ.

I don't think my friend realizes how important it was for me to hear this. The last year has been an intense struggle as I wrestle with parenting two high-needs kids, adjust to a change in my career's trajectory, and prepare to turn....(gulp)....thirty. I feel like I'm constantly shuffling my way through a dark room, feeling my way through, bumping my shins on sharp corners and swearing at the pain, my body tense from not knowing what is in front of me. I've felt inadequate in every aspect of my life this year. You see, I'm a stubborn fool because, dammit...I'm strong like my mother and my grandmother. If I were a pioneer, I'd kick the Oregon Trail's ass, and I'd build a bitchin' house out of sod because that's how determined I am. But I'm learning that determination apart from Christ is futile because despite my pioneer-like determination, I'm still drowning, clawing for air and clarity and direction. Lots of folks in the Bible tried doing things on their own, and quite honestly they sucked at it, too.

I think this desire to do things on our own stems from lots of things, but what I've been thinking about  lately is our culture's belief about a child's relationship with/to his/her parents. At a certain age, the child moves out of his/her parents' house and ventures into the world to navigate it with minimal intervention from the parents. We learn that we must become self-sufficient to survive; we learn that it's responsible to take care of ourselves. And these are all true statements, in a sense. In the Evangelical world, we call God our Father--and we think of Him like a dad (see the verse above). What's happened with me, is that I believe God is my heavenly father, but I'm engaging in a relationship with him like he's my earthly father. I love my dad, and I can count on him to help me out if I really need it--but because I'm a grown-up, I take care of my problems on my own with little intervention from him and my mom---because that's adulting. But applying this view to God is just absurd. God called things into being--the heavens, the sky, the earth, and us...he spoke and things were made. My earthly dad, no matter how awesome he may be, cannot call things into being. He cannot yell: FLOOD! and cause the whole earth to be covered in water.

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To avoid more rambling tangents and expletives, I'll wrap this up: I'm trying to adult too much with God. Like my friend, I want to remember whose I am. I want to be reliant on Him like an infant depends on her mother. Our God who created the earth and the mountains and cats and Girl Scout cookies...He spoke us into being...he calls us HIS children. I am tough and strong and those are valuable and important qualities, but they aren't enough to get me through this life and they don't define me (neither does my job or my career or my marriage). What should define me is that I am a daughter of God---who chose me (Ephesians 1:5).

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