Anna Grider has recently finished her freshman year at Mississippi State University. Anna is something special. I’ve had the opportunity of being on the receiving end of Anna’s giving spirit. She has loved on my family in a way that I can’t begin to repay. My children adore her. And as far as her learning experiences with God goes, she reminds me a lot of me and this post speaks directly to that. She’s an amazing woman and I’m so honored to be even the smallest part of Anna’s journey.
Starting my freshmen year of college, I wanted to control how people viewed me, how I acted, whom I befriended and how well my college life was going to be. I wanted my college experience to be perfect. Thankfully, I was able to overcome this charade quite quickly and ever since I came to the realization that I cannot be “perfect” on my own, the Lord has taught me how to be the opposite.
Throughout my freshmen year, the Lord has drilled in my heart the concept that I don’t have to be perfect. During high school and at the beginning of college, I felt weak and unqualified to fit the roles I felt placed in. Many times people expected me to step up and be a leader and honestly, I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel like I was right for the “job.” I didn’t want to let anyone down, or show that I wasn’t as good as everyone thought, so I pretended to be perfect to fit these roles.
I’ve always sensed a real pressure on believers to fall under this stigma of being perfect within the church, myself included. We think we have roles we have to fulfill even if we know we are unqualified and we try to achieve them anyway. We try to control our situations and our lives by putting on a show for the very people we should feel safe around. Instead of relying on the Lord we turn to ourselves. This can be very dangerous. When everyone starts to do what they think is right, disaster strikes.
The book of Judges has a common theme. Just reading through the different stories, it is amazing how many times the people turned from the Lord. You can read countless times the phrase “everyone did what they thought was right” and because of that the Lord allowed them to live in the consequences of their own sin.
I was trying to do my own thing and do what I thought was right. I thought since I struggled so much in high school, I would try something new with my own strength. Eventually I had become so good at faking it, I realized that I could get along fine without the Lord’s help (or so I thought). It was here that I started taking glory for myself. I was avoiding the gospel by focusing on myself. I was living a life that made my relationship with God comfortable, one where I was in control. A life of control is a life away from God and His rule.
The Lord stripped away all my so-called control so I could learn to trust in only Him. Instead of trying to control my life, I prayed that God would be my one and only desire. Prayer is so powerful because it takes away our hero status and points to the only hero, Christ!
At this point I was completely powerless. I had no idea what to do with myself anymore. I simply knew I needed to cease to let Anna rule the world, I was sitting in God’s chair and it was time to get out. Sometimes the Lord has to take away your strength to show the world HIS.
I am not saying that to be a believer you can’t control anything, or ever make plans for the future. The Lord does not criticize us making plans, but detests us making plans that leave Him out and cause us to boast. We have to put off self-recognition and put on humbleness and the desire of Gods will.
There is freedom in knowing that my actions are not going to save me. I had to slowly come to the realization that I am so wicked that the Lord of the universe had to die for me. The freedom comes in knowing that Christ does it all. There is absolutely no boasting in anything but the Lord. I needed to stop working at being a “good believer” on my own. I had to understand that I am not working to prove my salvation; it is not about me anymore. I am serving the Lord because of my salvation.
If you continue reading in Judges, EVERY TIME the people screwed up, the Lord sent a deliverer, He never once deserted them. These deliverers were hardly what most people would call “leaders.” They were weak, unthreatening and unqualified. But the Lord was able to show His power through them. It is all right to be weak, because in weakness the Lord’s power overcomes.
The Lord loves you where you are. But He doesn’t stop there. He loves you too much to leave you where you are, so He is going to change you. The question is, will you believe in the promise of His love, or are you going to fall under the lies of this world.
Question: Do you see believers falling into the trap of “hero” status? How does that happen? What are you thoughts?