Is God Really Enough for Us?
As much as I believe in my heart that the answer to this question is yes, my life and my actions often declare otherwise. I say with my mouth that all I need is God and His love yet I find my peace is easily shaken when I don't receive approval from other people. Recently, the Lord has really been speaking this truth in my life. It is so easy for all of us to say in our hearts, "God, Your acceptance of me is enough, BUT I also need _____ to truly be happy and fulfilled." For me, this blank is often the respect of others. Not so much being "liked," but being respected. I have noticed that when I don't have this, I find myself very frustrated, annoyed, and often lacking the peace of God.
There are two notable things to consider within this struggle:
First, when people dislike us or don't respect us, there may be a valid reason for that. I have had to look my own flaws in the face and see that sometimes I may not be very likable. I am not perfectly like Jesus and sometimes I don't resemble Him at all in the way I act. I have flaws, and they show. It takes humility to not simply assume that because people respond to our flaws immaturely that we have no fault. You and I are not responsible for the way other people handle our sin. We are only responsible for how we handle our sin. Will we see it, or will we ignore it by casting blame and attention on those who call us out? Will we allow God to teach us and change us through the criticism of imperfect people just like us or will we continue to play the victim?Second, many times people's reactions to us are largely NOT personal. Though I have flaws and make mistakes, people who reject me, hurt me, or don't respect me do those things because of their own immaturity. When I take their actions personally, I communicate that I think everything is about me. It's not. Every person has their own struggles. Their inability to respond wisely and maturely is about the state of their own heart.
Learning this stuff is anything but fun. It is painful to admit that I have a lot of room left to grow. It is painful to look at my own flaws and take responsibility for them. In many ways, I see the selfishness and shallowness that still lingers in my own heart. But in the midst of all this, I could not be more encouraged. I am encouraged because God loves me too much to leave me where I am. He speaks to me and He is alive! My God responds to me and hears me when I call. When I go to Him and ask Him to help me with stuff, He really does. But loving God is not all sunshine and daisies. When I ask for God's help, He doesn't send a magic wand to whisk all my problems away. He challenges me to surrender even more. He challenges me to let go of my pride and admit how much I need Him. He gives me strength to not need other people's approval and sympathy because I know I am chosen and loved by the God who runs this place. Every day I am increasingly convinced that God really is enough for me. And for this, I am thankful.