Too Good for My Own Good (more about suffering, more about acceptance)

He must become greater; I must become less.  John 3:30 (Image from iStock)

He must become greater; I must become less.
John 3:30
(Image from iStock)

Although suffering is inevitable, Sunday’s sermon shed light on how often we suffer unnecessarily. Our stubborn will is the cause. We put something other than God in the place that he set aside for himself.

Our will goes something like this –

We worship intelligence only to end up feeling stupid.

We worship beauty only to end up feeling ugly.

We worship success only to end up feeling like a failure.

I knew before the sermon’s end what I worshipped – being a good person. It never crossed my mind (until now) that being good was anything but admirable.

The sermon put an end to my asking why I’ve felt unlovable no matter how many times I’m told “I love you.”

It put an end to my asking why I’ve felt ashamed, never mind all my attempts at being perfect.

It put an end to my asking why I’ve felt unkind even though my husband says over and over, “You’re the most caring person I know.”

How did trying to be good turn out so bad?

It’s pretty simple when I apply the sermon’s formula – I worshipped my own goodness only to end up feeling anything but good.

I put my goodness before his Godness, and nothing good comes from that.

What’s getting in the way (no matter how admirable you deem it) of your relationship with God?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – I’ve wanted to get out of my own way for some time now. Thank you, Iain, for the sermon. Thank you, God, for the shove.

On the side: I’m posting next about Robin Williams and suicide – a man and a topic that deserve to be talked about.


6 responses »

  1. Interestingly…I’ve been thrashed so badly by circumstance over the past few years that I don’t feel particularly unworthy or undeserving.

    I’m feeling pretty good that I’m still standing, and have not yet given up.

    I may lose this fight, but when I meet God, I’m going to look Him right in the eye. After this Hell, I bow to No One. Hope He understands.

    Caveat angeli…here I come.

    • Andrew, I don’t claim to know much about God, but I do know he understands. He gets us. That’s comforting news since all of my life I’ve wanted to be understood. I bet he’ll look right back at you and say “Well done.”

  2. I thought I was good about sharing about my weaknesses with those that were struggling and allowing myself to be vulnerable. A couple of days ago I was with a person – someone I had ‘shared’ with over the years to help build her up – during a very difficult situation that left me incredibly angry – to the point of tears. I was stunned that I had not been able to control my reaction to (what I perceived to be) an injustice and embarrassed that this person who looked up to me witnessed it. I asked myself why I was so shaken by it. And then it hit me. Or should I say: HE hit me. I had (oh-so-admirably) shared what I chose to share – enough that I could be well-thought of for how ‘grounded’ and ‘open’ I am. So when she saw me – the REAL, vulnerable, sloppy-self – exposed, I couldn’t control the perception. It was clear to me that I had never truly allowed myself to be vulnerable in the truest sense of the word – a way that strips through all arrogance. More tears.

    • Shel, I’m touched by your honesty here. Isn’t it something when that veil lifts and we see ourselves in a different light? I keep thinking I’m so old that surely I know who I am and see through whatever it is I’m doing and have just about completed this journey of self-discovery … oh, no, I surely have not.

      I appreciate your comment more than you’ll ever know. Really – it helps me keep the masks to a minimum. Thank you, friend!

  3. Yes, trying to be good always turns out so bad. I, have learned that in the only way I seem to learn anything–through experience.
    For me, there is always a creeping temptation to return to old, dead ways of trying to be good enough for God.
    I find myself trying to behave like God outwardly by analyzing God instead of becoming like God inwardly by experiencing His transforming presence. I tend to depersonalize God–thinking abstractly about Him as a concept, instead of relating to Him personally.
    When this kind of shift takes place, I am often unaware of it until I realize I am exhausted under the weight of the imagined disapproval of God. Then I rediscover the truth that God loves me, and it always seems to be a surprising realization.
    I don’t know if that makes sense, but I’ve spent decades keeping God at arms length by intellectualizing Him and I’m still breaking away from that old heart pattern.
    Good insight, Kim. Very helpful. Keep writing.

    • Dave, it makes more sense than I’d like to admit – yep, I’m more comfortable staying in my head (thinking) than getting into my heart (feeling). Exhaustion is one of my red flags also, so are shying away from writing and eating too much chocolate. These three let me know when I’ve taken a step (or two or three) into the past where I’m never good enough and God seems punishing. I really like “becoming like God inwardly by experiencing His transforming presence.” Thanks for sharing!

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