In week 2 of our current series, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder encouraged us to think about the stories we tell ourselves. I thought deeply about it and reflected on a list of words he provided. Two words from the list jumped out to me: perfect and successful. I was forced to acknowledge that the stories I was telling myself were shaped by my desire for perfection and success.
As an Enneagram 5, I want to find the perfect solution to every problem I encounter—from the food I feed my family, to the homeschool curriculum I choose, to the half marathon plan I follow. These choices make me feel like I have control, but they can also be crippling and lead to anxiety. I feel like if I make the wrong choice, everything will come out wrong. This has caused health problems, friction in relationships with those I love, irritability, and insomnia. Some might say this perfectionism is caused by my love for the people I’m making decisions for, and that’s partly true. But ultimately, I am allowing my peace to be dependent on my ability to navigate life on my own power. My desire to control reveals my lack of peace and faith that God will provide for me even if the choice I make is less than perfect. It comes down to pride.
This week, Ben talked about how a lack of peace reveals a lack of love. How does love relate to pride? Pride says, “I can do it all by myself.” It says, “I can help you with your oxygen mask first because I can handle the lack of oxygen.” It says, “I don’t need anyone to help me; I am enough in myself.” Love says, “I can’t do it on my own and I need help.” It says, “In order to ensure I can help you, I need to put on my own oxygen mask first.”
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
1 John 4:7-8
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
If I do not abide in the love God has for me every day, I will struggle to show his love to my family and those around me. If I’m so focused on all of the things I am able to do, it leaves no room for the love of Christ to flow through me into the lives of those around me. When I spend a few minutes in the morning reading my Bible and praying, I allow God’s love to fill me. Then, when someone needs me—and it’s a constant in my house—I can respond in love. I give Christ permission to overflow from my heart into the lives of those around me. When worship is filling the walls of my home, my children hear that God is love and worthy of our praise and devotion. When we share what God has been teaching us in prayer, those around us see that our faith is real and it yields a peace that is absent in our culture.
1 John 4:12
No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
How do you “put your own oxygen mask on first”? When you speak or act, is it under your own power, or is it an overflow of Christ’s love in you? Do you think people see peace or anxiety when they look at your life?
Commit to a small, daily act that helps you spend intentional time soaking in the love of Christ. There are many different reading plans on YouVersion to help you develop a habit of reading your Bible. Commit to praying at least once a day. The more you allow God to fill up your life, the more you are able to love those around you.
Heavenly Father, thank you for showing us a perfect example of love in Jesus. Thank you for Jesus’ example of prioritizing time with you so our hearts will be full. Help me be consistent in daily prayer and Bible reading. I pray for your love and peace to overflow from my heart into the lives of those around me so that your name may be honored. Amen.
This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.
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