I occasionally get obsessed with self-help books. Not the hippy new-age stuff, but the Steven Covey efficiency/leadership books. The funny thing is, I used to HATE these books when I was in college, but I find myself getting into them now. They present me with an attractive image of who I could be.
I think this is why they do so well. We all want to be a super-activated person that makes no mistakes and does everything we want to do in a day.
But that’s the thing, isn’t it? We can’t all be super-activated productivity machines every day. Productivity isn’t about what you do in a day without any mistakes. It’s about being okay with messing up, and letting each day be it’s own day.
That’s why these books didn’t appeal to me when I was studying theology. These books seemed to teach self-reliance which does not fit into God’s command to rely on Him.
But I’ve come to realize it’s possible for “total surrender to God’s will” to coexist with these books. My attitude after reading these books used to be: I’m going to do this and be great! My attitude now is: Lord, help me live this better life.
We all want to be perfect immediately, that’s the biggest issue. We need to be okay with being imperfect. I’m not super strong, but I still like working out. Why? Because I see improvement! It’s good! Every week or so, my bicep feels bigger, my posture gets better, etc. It’s really nice! And I wouldn’t have that feeling of progress unless I was okay with being imperfect and getting a little better.
That’s why there’s beauty in brokenness or “perfect imperfections.” Because progress is beautiful. Overcoming challenge is impressive and fun. It makes us feel more motivated to do it next time.
Part of relying on God means realizing your imperfections and being okay with them. Wanting to be perfect right away is a form of pride. We can’t perfect ourselves, only God can.
If there’s some kind of improvement you want to make in your life, (like working out, eating better, reading more, etc) literally just run it by God first, it can’t hurt. Then if you are having trouble following through on that commitment, ask Him for strength.
The best part about God’s strength is that it doesn’t cost $14.99 plus shipping on Amazon.