Monday, October 5, 2009

Enough is Never Enough

It's been a long time since I did an online study and posted it. Can I still do it? Sure. Am I up to it? Hope so. I've lacked structure and discipline over the summer. I'm ready to have that restored. Even more, I so want a life-changing experience with God through this study. I don't even know that I am a "good Bible study girl" but I want much more than that. I want to go deeper with God. Don't we all want that? It's a matter if we are ready to put forth the effort, to allow our minds to be transformed, and to have our hearts freed.

When Lelia said she was hosting a study on Lysa Terkeurst's new book, Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl, I was tempted. Tempted to do it; tempted to cop out, wimp out, be lazy. To be honest, fear might have been my driving factor to do it. Fear? Yes, fear of what I might miss by not 1) reading this book and 2) processing my thoughts by composing a post. So, here I am. Here I am, Lord. Asking You to change my heart, transform my mind and renew my spirit all to go deeper...deeper with You, Lord.

If the title to chapter one doesn't say enough (no pun intended), then what does? "Trying to Be Good Enough" is the chapter title. I have to admit I was surprised to hear how this feeling resonated in Lysa. It's hard to imagine a woman like her feeling she was not good enough nor acceptable. I've only known of her for over a year but I can't express how much I think of her, respect her, and admire her.

"The heart of a woman is not only deep and wondrous but tender and vulnerable."

Lysa shares how we define ourselves with labels. This is true and I believe the problem lies in the crutch we create with the label. What happens when the label fails? Then where are we? Then who are we? "I was someone's girlfriend, but then we would break up. I was a good student, but then I'd made a bad grade. I was responsible, but then pulled a stupid stunt an wrecked my car."

Clutching to any identity, outside of God's child, will always lead to failure, disappointment, and unmet expectations.

Even with labeling God, we encounter pitfalls. Lysa shares her early view of religion being a good addition to life as "I was keeping up my end of the bargain with God, and He was keeping His." With the loss of her baby sister, anger erupted, her view of God changed, and now her identity did also. She'd no longer be "Lysa, the good girl."

"My flawed ideas of God would only let me love Him when He did good things."

Wow...have we ever fallen into that pit? The pit of judging God or treating God according to what He does instead of who He is? I admit I have. I may not say it outright to Him but He knows when I view Him differently and get my heart hurt over things He did or rather did not do for me. We must be careful to always view God through the lens of who He is and nothing else.

"The thought that I wasn't good enough was more than just a feeling. It had become the filter through which I processed life." If we filter everything through not feeling good enough, we will never see victory. I guess I've never really realized the feeling of 'not being good enough' does filter everything in my life. It's like looking through rose colored glasses. No matter what we look at, everything will be a shade of rose. The green trees will be green but with a shade of rose. The blue sky will be blue with a shade of rose. So, if we look at everything through 'not good enough' lenses, there's no way we'll ever measure up. We'll never see full victory as it will be victory shaded with a little "not good enough".

Having a false perception of ourselves and God will inevitably cause us to run into a brick wall, unable to deny or avoid God and truth.

When Lysa found God with Jeremiah 29:11, she realized her "flawed perception of being identified by my circumstances."

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I'm specifically separating verses 12-13 from 11. I think too many times verse 11 gets all the fame and attention and verses 12-13 get left in the dust. Don't get me wrong as 29:11 is one of my life verses but the following two are so precious, not deserving of being overlooked.

Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13

He tells us we will seek Him BUT we will find Him when we seek Him with ALL our heart. What value is it to seek Him if we don't find Him? So isn't it worth the effort to not just seek Him but to seek Him with all our heart, with our whole heart, with every breath, with every ounce of energy, with everything that exists in our soul?

As Lysa says, it "requires more than just the routine Christian good girl checklist: pray, read the Bible, do a Bible study, go to church, be nice, don't hold a grudge against boys who didn't ask you to couple skate in fifth grade."

Okay, her last one doesn't apply to all of us, just 832 of us.

Gotta love that Lysa and her sense of humor...a woman after my own heart with my own corny sense of humor (that if I must say so myself, brings me much joy to be corny in humor.)

Of these three sentences, one is so powerful to me. "I want my life with Jesus to be fulfilling. I want my beliefs to work no matter what life throws at me. I want to be so certain of God's presence that I never feel like I have to face anything in my own strength or rely on my own perspectives."

I do very much want fulfillment. I want certainty of God's presence. But my mind and heart kept reading and gravitating to the second: my beliefs to work...what life throws at me. As I type this, literally the first line grabs my heart more now. I so want my life with Jesus to be fulfilling. Odd how one sentenced grabbed me so tight last night and another is grabbing me today.

Wanting Jesus. But wanting "wanting Jesus" to be enough. Does anyone feel this? Does anyone struggle with this? Jesus is enough but "wanting Jesus" to be enough for me.

"How might our lives look if we were so filled with God's truth's we could let go of the pain of our past, not get tripped up by the troubles of today, or consumed by worries about tomorrow?" Woah...to be so filled that the pain escapes my heart and sets my mind free.

If you listen to Christian radio, you know Matthew West tells us about going through the motions. Lysa adds that just these good Bible study girl things "will not fill our souls. They must be done with great expectation and heart cry for God to lead us into a deeper and more life-changing connection with Him." [my emphasis]

We can't pray, study the Bible, and go to church for name sake. We can't do those things because we know we are suppose to or fearful if we don't. We must do them with a deep cry from our heart to God's heart to change us and draw us deeper.

"True fulfillment is never found in seeking to do enough, be enough, have enough, know enough, or accomplish enough." Enough is never enough. Enough is a pitfall...a never-ending pitfall. Striving to be enough of anything will never fulfill us. I've tried and I do believe I'm tired.

Lysa's prayer (and now mine too).
"God, I want to see You.
God, I want to hear You.
God, I want to know You.
So That I can follow hard after You every day."

I'm so glad I said yes to God and decided to read this book. To see what others have to say about this wonderful book and exciting adventure, go to
Lelia's.

Seeking Him for my "enough",

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

13 comments:

Melanie said...

Hi, Paula! Love how you pulled out verses 12 and 13 in Jeremiah 29. They are overlooked so often (by me), but yet are so important to the full context of this passage of scripture.

Look forward to sharing more of your posts on this study!

Beth in NC said...

Wow Paula, there is a lot here to digest. I'm going to have to go back and read over again.

Love!
Beth

Stitchingmum said...

"Wanting Jesus. But wanting "wanting Jesus" to be enough. Does anyone feel this? Does anyone struggle with this? Jesus is enough but "wanting Jesus" to be enough for me."

I'm trying to work out how you managed to get into my journals and find all the entries that say *exactly* the same thing!! Pray. Pray for renewed desire for God, and be prepared for what He places on your heart :-)
Alison

Sharon said...

Yes Wanting Him, and feeling there is not enough, and yes I can agree with so much here, after the death--I too felt the same. almost the do not bother me attitude.
Great post, I will ponder this today for sure! Sounds like a great book

blessings

Jill said...

I loved reading your post and all the thought you put into it. I'm thinking this is going to be more than wonderful! Praying for you, Jill

Abba's Girl said...

Beautiful post, wise words for all of us...thank you.

Sandra said...

Hi Paula, love all the thought you put into this post! I especially like the reminder not to clutch onto any other identity except being a child of God.

Blessings,
Sandra

Laura said...

Hello, my sweet friend. This sounds like a great book. I hate to be left out of this one! I'll keep up through you!

News flash! You won a copy of my book!! I'm so thrilled. :) Email me with your snail address and I'll pop one into the mail to you ASAP!

Tina said...

Paula,
A lot of good stuff here .... this really struck a chord with me ...

We can't pray, study the Bible, and go to church for name sake. We can't do those things because we know we are suppose to or fearful if we don't. We must do them with a deep cry from our heart to God's heart to change us and draw us deeper.

Yes, earlier this year I was devastated by events with my son. I cried out to God first for help for my son .... but ultimately to just draw near to Him for I knew the only way I would survive was to be near

I'm looking forward to more insights as we dig further into the book

Blessings,
Tina

Mariel said...

you make this book sound really interesting. i have read Lysa's stuff before, but have not considered readig this one...I will be keeping up with your thoughts on it and may pick up the book when I finish teaching the current study I am teaching. Thx for sharing your thoughts...

Bill said...

Paula,

Walking this journey with you.

Lovingly and standing as I'm searching...Jesus is MORE than enough.

Yolanda

Stacy said...

Paula, I am so glad that you are joining this study. Your insights and inputs are always such an encouragement. Your words: "We must be careful to always view God through the lens of who He is and nothing else." really struck a chord in my heart. I have so often based my realities on what I thought God should be/do rather than learning who and how He truly is. Thank you for sharing so much of your heart in your posts. God Bless, Stacy

Zoe Elmore said...

Hey Sweetest Pea,

Your post here is wonderful! Isn't Lysa's book FABULOUS?!?!?!
Thanks for your post on my blog regarding the Proverbs 31 devotional. I hope you will continue to post on this and upcoming topics.