I love goals. I would say I am fairly observant on things that can be improved and ways I would like to see my life change for the ‘better’. Sometimes, this is a great thing. This mindset is definitely a major contributor to my academic success, a reason I am able to thrive with a full schedule, and has helped me reach accomplishments. But, it can also lead to what feels like always striving for more and never feeling quite enough. I am so great at finding my flaws, of creating mental and physical lists of what needs to be fixed, of where self-control and discipline need to become greater, and projects that need to be completed. It is my desire for perfectionism that traps me into only wanting to do things I am sure I will succeed and want to control my schedule.
In my head, when I cross these things off my list, I am getting closer to the best Elise. It’s like I mentally think I can create a perfect me. My heart knows this isn’t true, that really I am fundamentally a sinner and only saved by grace, but my mind, oh my mind is so sure that continually fixing myself will eventually lead to a fuller, better life, a person with fewer flaws and ever present happiness. But that’s such a joke because we all know there would be no end to that ‘fix-it’ list. This mindset only puts me in the never ending race of exhaustion and striving.
I hate that that is my go-to mind set. I would never say that I really dislike the person I am, yet I am always finding ways I think I need to do better or more, and that is mentally communicating that I am not enough. That my ideas of self-improvement are best. That I can create the ideal future for myself. And this is exhausting! It leads to too many mornings of seeing my yesterdays as failures and critiquing my actions. Constantly wanting something better leads to a mindset of discontentment and a restless heart.
But Jesus, He is the gospel of peace. He abolished the law, he set me free, he has redefined my worth and value. His to-do list is this: Rest in what is complete. He tells me that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. He says, abide in me and then you will bear fruit. And that fruit is what I want, it is what I think I am cultivating on my own, but my version is weak, tinged with death and sin.
This summer, I am drawn to Jesus’ peace, grace, freedom and surrender. I am starting to see how intricately connected these glorious ideas are. I see that I can not manufacture these on my own! That they can only be brought more fully to me when I rest in Jesus, live in the Spirit, am connected to the Truth, and am living openly in community.
The Gospel of peace is what I want right now. It is what I need in this stage of my life. I am learning to rest in that. To know it fundamentally in my heart and recognize that peace can be constant regardless of external circumstance and that I will never be able to create it for myself. To thrive this summer, and really for the rest of my life, I need to claim this peace from the true source. I can to begin each day claiming truths and reminding myself of them all day. I have the choice to be restless with who I am, or I can praise the one who is renewing me day by day and have peace in the story He is writing for me.