Your Joy in Christ Does Not Depend on What You “Accomplish” Today
Guest post by Rebeka Hargraves from Hargraves Home and Hearth.
Have you ever been confronted with the sobering realization that you are thinking and living in direct contradiction to the truths of the gospel?
I have. The particularly sobering part of this experience for me was that it occurred while I was in the middle of writing a book entitled Lies Moms Believe (And How the *Gospel* Refutes Them).
Talk about the Lord having a sense of humor!
I have discovered that God has a tendency to take writers through a process wherein their sanctification comes through what they are writing –whether or not they will live out the very words they put to paper!
For years I would have said I wanted to, as Katie inspires us, embrace a simpler life. I wanted white space on my calendar and margin in my day. I wanted to live at a slow pace, drink in the richness of the moment, and be present with my babies day to day.
But what was going on in my heart was leading to a very different way of life. The Lord has a gracious way of bringing our sin and idols to the forefront of our minds so that they might be dealt with, and that is precisely what He did for me one day last summer.
When my Joy Comes from What I Accomplish
The lesson the Lord taught me played out over a two day period.
The first day I plugged away at my computer, working on my book and drinking in the quiet stillness of the early morning as my babes slept away. They both slept in quite late that morning, which had given me quite a bit of time to be in the Word, enjoy the peace and calm, and get a lot of work done. I was a contented, joyful mama that day!
And then. The next day dawned.
That next morning was not the same as the first. After enjoying another sweet time with the Lord, I hunkered down to open up the file of my manuscript and….you guessed it….the baby woke up way early.
Instant grumpy mom. No joy, no peace, no contentment. Just anger, frustration, and selfishness.
And that’s when it hit me: my joy was coming from what I accomplished.
That has remained with me ever since. Because, while this may not seem like a big deal, it actually is a problem.
3 Problems With Finding Your Joy in What You Accomplish
Your personal experience may not be associated with writing a book, but I have no doubt that at some point in your life your joy (or lack thereof!) has come from something you did or did not accomplish.
Maybe it was in whether or not your entire to-do list was completed by the end of the day, or whether or not you managed to keep a clean home.
Whatever it may be for you, the truth remains the same for all of us: we were not meant to find our joy in what we accomplish.
That’s not the gospel.
Plain and simple, our joy in life, our salvation in eternity, our peace with God, our very identity itself is not found in what we do, but rather in what Christ did on our behalf.
It’s not to be found in what we accomplished, but in what He accomplished. That is the gospel (see Ephesians 2:8-9). That is the good news that is able to save souls. That is what makes a difference both in the here and now and also for all of eternity.
Therefore, Christ, His accomplishments, and our identity in Him should be where we base our ultimate joy.
That’s not what God would have for us.
The Lord does want us to be a joyful people (after all, one of the fruits of the Spirit is joy!), but He knows that lasting joy comes not from pursuing the idol of personal accomplishment, but from Him.
The joy of the Lord is to be my strength (Nehemiah 8:10) – not a fully marked off to-do list!
That’s not compatible with what we are told to do in the Word.
Throughout God’s word we are told to be still (Psalm 46:10), to cease our striving (Hebrews 4:9-11), and to remember that it is in quietness and rest that we find our strength (Isaiah 30:15).
As moms, we oftentimes believe the lie that we have to “do it all”, that we can’t slow down and embrace a simpler life because there are things which must be done. This is when it is important to remember that this “slavedriver” mentality does not come from our kind and compassionate Father who gently leads those who are with young (Isaiah 40:11) and who desires for us to find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).
This burden is not being placed on us by Him, but by our own thinking.
How to Find Joy in Christ Regardless of What We “Accomplish” Today
While it is true that God created us in His image with the ability and purpose of creating things ourselves (and therefore we can gain much fulfillment from living out that design), our ultimate joy and peace cannot come from there. Lasting, unshakable joy comes only from remembering who we are in Christ.
We can rest and we can embrace a simpler life when we remember that we have nothing to prove and no one to impress with our abilities.
Our lives are hidden with Christ in God, and nothing could be better or more joyful than that!
How are you processing the idol of accomplishment in your own life today?