Competency is one of of my shiniest idols.
I don’t just want to be a good mom. I want to be the good-at-everything mom. I want to be the most competent homeschooler I’ve ever heard of. I want to be a woman who can pull it all off, shrug like it was nothing, and be the envy of all.
It’s really quite ugly.
When things are going well, I default into a “Look God, no hands!” posture. I’m thrilled that I’m finally as competent as I assume everyone else to be.
The problem comes when reality sets in. I’m not actually good at everything. In fact, there are things I’m really quite bad at.
My everyday life is mostly spent being “just okay.” A crushing reality to my glory-hungry heart.
Lamenting the fact that I can’t maintain this super-persona I’ve created in my head, I then sulk down into misery, bitter at the competency I lack.
This pendulum can swing from moment to moment—my heart leaping at the hint of greatness and plummeting at the faintest sign of failure.
Not a fun ride.
Idolizing competency wreaks havoc on my entire life.
But what’s wrong with being competent?
Nothing. That’s why this idol is so tricky.
Of course. We all want our lives to go well. We want our work to matter. To be successful. Especially the parts that mean so much to us.
Life takes hard work. Diligence. And, dare I say it, a certain level of competency.
We need to grow and learn and become better at what God has placed in our hands to do.
So what’s the big problem?
The Bible is full of instructions regarding doing our work with excellence, but not one of them has to do with embellishing our personas.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”Colossians 3:23-24
It matters why we do things.
God’s not interested in me developing my self-made image and establishing my kingdom. I’m made in His image. To reflect His glory. To further His kingdom.
Being elated that I can pull things off without having to rely on the Lord, or devastated that I actually can’t are two sides of the same coin.
Both are my heart in rebellion.
There is a third option. But it is pathetic. Humiliating. At least to our pride. But it’s actually what we were designed to do in the first place.
Living in A Posture of Dependence
We were created to be completely dependent on the Lord, to commune with Him, to follow Him, and to reflect His glory.
A Posture of Dependence simply knows where our strength comes from.
It acknowledges our desperate need for God. And it offers to Him our best effort, trusting that He will make something beautiful and useful despite our flaws, and even through them.
It is a different posture than the one of pride and self-reliance that comes so naturally. And just like our bodily posture needs to be consciously adjusted, I find I need to align and realign my heart.
Listen to the psalmist. The posture he takes. The blatant disregard for his pride and self-sufficiency.
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”Psalm 63:1-8
This is a soul obsessed with its Creator. As it was meant to be.
We are not doomed to oscillate between frantic persona-maintenance and self-loathing. Those are both incredibly miserable places. Not to mention exhausting.
In Christ we can lay those things down. We can offer what we have to Him in humility and faithful service, rather than with a knot of insecurity in our stomach.
This is what Jesus said:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30
You should know that I write what I need to hear. This post punched me in the gut this week and you got to come along for the ride. I’m so thankful for a God who invites us to leave our pride behind and trade it for His rest.
Does anybody relate to this heart posture problem? Scroll down to leave a comment.