QUESTION: Do you ever notice how we as (extremely, yet equally, imperfect beings) tend to have MUCH higher expectations of ourselves than we do others? We “excuse” others because we know that “nobody’s perfect”, yet the same behavior in ourselves is absolutely inexcusable. Why is that? Why do we do that? Why are we so much harder on ourselves than we ever would be on others?A blog partner writes”Is this (list of ways I throw grace out the window and insist on wearing out) going all the way up to Z????? I HAVE to keep reading cause I know GOOD NEWS is coming!”
(Maybe some day I’ll list J though Z but the blog would be too long)
Are you sure the list of how crazy we are in our natural self is BAD NEWS? The only thing that our personal craziness can do is reveal God’s wisdom, our weakness-his strength, our impulsivity-his steadfastness. Lists like this are only bad news if we try to fix them ourselves.
The question as to why we do the crazy things we do has been answered somewhat but the better question is how can we stop using SHAME BASED MOTIVATION? (Technique C from the last blog.) Remember that your “heart” is the inner chatter others can’t hear and which we often hide even from ourselves. However, “as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.” The heart is deceitful above all things and we can’t know it. “I THE LORD search the heart I try the reins” so search me oh Lord and try my heart and find the deceived thoughts and lead me in new ways.
When my heart believes irrational things such as, I should be perfect, I can’t believe I did that, what’s wrong with me, come on you can do better, you must, you have to, etc. , it thinks that it is doing me a favor and this irrational expectation for myself will spur me on to greater deeds.
My heart fears that I must be perfect because I can’t trust God to come through, I have to compensate for his weakness or possibly just his disinterest; because I trusted him before and he didn’t come through.
It fears that, if I take a close look at my reality, I will discover the scary truth that I am not only imperfect, not only messed up , but actually the CHIEF OF SINNERS! Which, in my opinion, would surely spell my doom.
MY HEART IS WRONG, yelling at myself and expecting too much, trying to do better; leads nowhere. Like a dog chasing it’s tail, I’ll endlessly strive to be better, which I can’t, for, in fact “Without Him I can do nothing.” Any negative focus that does not lead to DO AND DROP IT will cause endless circling. Since I am powerless I can’t do my part and because I am proud I can’t admit this or quit struggling.
As usual, the way to deal with the quicksand of works is to stop wrestling and lay down in it and float till rescued. Don’t even try to not yell at yourself for imperfections, just notice yourself doing it and laugh at your silliness a bit.
In counseling we would define some response to life that was wearing out the person and robbing them of joy. They would be trying not to do it, they would be aware that I was observing for the pattern, and in the very effort to quit they would repeat the pattern. (How powerless is that?)
Now it was time to cry or laugh or both. We turn grace into works,”I should do better at resting in grace”Then say “Lord I can’t even rest in grace when I am concentrating on resting, I need your grace to remember grace, picture grace and act in the grace.” This condition is good! When you cause me to rest, all the credit will be yours.”
I’m not sure any of this answers the question so please comment on what makes sense or needs elaboration.