We live in a “Do better, Be better” world. From childhood to adulthood, our worth to society rests in how well we do and how much better we perform. But better than what or who? Better than our neighbor? Better than the other mom next to us? Better than the person behind us at church? Who are we supposed to be better than? And if we are supposed to be better, who and what dictates how we can do better? Should we work more and sleep less? Should we add five more hats to the 100 we already wear? If we do better will we gain any sort of real peace that lasts? When did “do better, be better “ actually ever start motivating anyone?
In fact, it leaves us sitting in the guilt that we aren’t good enough and really never can be. We can never be smarter than the smartest or faster than the fastest. Even the most Pinteresty mom will never be more crafty than the craftiest. And if she is for a day, tomorrow will prove to be for someone else.
The reality is we can never just do better and be better. I can’t. She can’t. He can’t. They can’t. No one. Not one- even you can’t.
Not because you aren’t made to do great and mighty things. Not because you can’t become a master at whatever your hand finds to do. You simply cannot just decide to do better in order to be better and have real peace, because God doesn’t care about your better. He cares about your heart.
He didn’t design you for your output.
The significance of your output doesn’t make you more significant in the Kingdom of God. Nothing you do can make you better. Nothing you do can give you worth. Nothing you do will buy you more love from your Father.
You must understand and believe you simply are loved by God. Your Father. Your Creator. With no strings attached.
You can go, go, go and be busy, busy, busy and do, do, do. But if you are so bent on doing better because somehow your output will make you better and more worthy, you will find yourself flat on your face with a side-ache, trying to catch your breath. Even if you do fine for awhile, eventually your living will feel more like dying. And if you believe God’s word, you know that life shouldn’t feel like dying.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Life should be abundant and free, full of deep rooted, internal hope and joy. But the thief will tell you something different. He will tell you that output brings worth and joy. Output is time well spent. Output means you are better than whoever, or whatever, the better you hold in your heart is. The thief will run you in a hurried, tired circle until the life you thought you were running towards is destroyed.
You see, you aren’t designed to live to be better or do better. Your worth has nothing to do with how many schedules you can balance, or if your to-do list was completed today… or tomorrow… or ever. Your worth is inherent. Given to you the moment God breathed life into you. From conception to Heaven you have already been made by the best to worship the best. Abba. Father. You are designed to live only out of the best. Living out of anything less than the love of God will leave you empty.
Yes, you are His workmanship. Yes, you have work to do. But this work cannot be fully walked out in the abundant peace bought for you, if not walked in Christ’s love; because when push comes to shove you will fail if your worth rests in the hands of man instead of the heart of God. No matter what, every time, you will never reach the better that the culture demands from you. We have been given great works because we are loved, we are not loved because of our works. God’s will is built upon love perfected. His will is perfect. His works are perfect. His peace is perfect. His strength is perfect. And we have permission to live in His perfect embrace with confidence and belonging.
Ladies, this month your challenge is: Live from the best, instead of striving for better. Spend time with the Lord and receive peace, instead of filling your hours with things that only make you feel better for a moment. Every single one of us feels the pressure to be better, and we all have fallen into the trap that if we could just do better we will become better- and our lives will somehow become more meaningful. Ask yourself where this pressure is coming from. Is it guilt or conviction? Is it from the Lord, or from a cultural lie that you have swallowed as truth? Do you truly know the God who loves you, or have you painted a distorted picture of Him from your circumstances and experiences? Do you believe His word is true, or do you believe it is true for everyone except for you?
I can boldly tell you from years of experience, that a life of doing better is exhausting and unattainable. But life lived out of the overflow of God’s love is free and abundant. Consistent and far reaching. I am never perfect, but there is always peace because I walk steadily in the best, instead of hurrying to the better. My call in Christ is my path, and I don’t need to look to the left or to the right to feel loved, known, seen or accepted. I am all of these in Christ.
As are you.
You are loved. You are known. You are seen. And you are accepted.
Each of us loves our children simply because they are our children- not because they listen to us every second, or clean up all of their messes, or never complain, or never get lazy, or never need help, or never need advice, or never fall short of their own expectations. We love them because of who they are, not what they do.
“We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
You love only because He first loved you. Any love you have for your children is a miniscule reflection of the unconditional love that Jesus has for you. You are the Lord’s child. He was beaten for you. He died for you. Rose for you. Claimed a life of victory and freedom for you. Please join me this month in living loved, rather than dying better.
“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19)