We have a saying in our house that we use when Michael is acting his age; we say he’s “in his twoness.” Being in his ‘twoness’ generally means lots of crying, whining and screaming. Oh, the SCREAMING! Unfortunately, when one screams, they all scream (we have three children). But their manor of screaming gives a bit away about their personalities.
Gabriel’s the oldest, so he doesn’t really have anything to prove. When he screams he generally does the least amount possible to still be heard. If Michael’s screaming at an 11, Gabriel screams at an 11.5. He asserts his dominance, but not in a painfully obvious way because he’s the clear Alpha.
JJ, however, when he screams an eardrum piercing, brain scrambling, physically painful to anyone within a ten mile radius screech comes out of his tiny eighteen pound body that makes you wonder if he might just explode. I’m not even exaggerating when I say my instinct is to cover my ears and cower. JJ, my friends, is an overachiever. He gets it from me.
But what does that have to do with striving, you ask? Well, JJ wasn’t always the expert screamer he is today. Once upon a time, not so long ago actually, he could barely be heard above his brothers. But then one day he decided he was going to be the best at screaming. An A+ with extra credit screamer, if you will. He strove to be the best, and he did it.
I know, striving isn’t always bad. Colossians 3:23 says to do everything we can to the best of our ability because we’re doing it for God. Proverbs 31 is all about a woman striving to be a godly wife, mother, daughter, you get the point. But somewhere along the line striving becomes bad – right about the time we start relying on ourselves instead of on God. When you’re working on giving your absolute best work, it’s easy to go from doing your best through the Lord who strengthens you, to doing it in yourself because after all, you’re the best! As with most sins, it comes down to pride. When you acknowledge it’s not your work, but Christ working through you, you’re humbling yourself to God’s sovereignty. When you take credit for the work you’re doing, that’s pride. At no point does God enter into that equation.
Friends, I ask you, are you striving to do your best because you want to give God your best, or are you moving in your own power? Lets keep the Center the center.
You can find more from Lindsey Heinemann here.