Sometimes when I’m not careful, I tell myself that I am enough. I claim self-sufficiency rather than seeking out the sufficiency of Christ.
My dear friends, don’t make this mistake with me!
Do you ever find yourself trying to do it all without the help of Jesus?
As I began writing this post, the power of self-sufficiency tried to pull me away from my Savior with a loudness that’s hard to ignore. (I already know what I’m going to write, so let’s get started!) But then a soft urging reminded me to seek Jesus first through prayer before I continued to write. (Jesus, give me the words you want me to say, rather than the words I want to say.)
Perhaps praying for the words for a post that may never get read seems inconsequential, but not to my heavenly Father. He wants to mold every part of who I am. But He’s not going to force me into the shape He’s planned for me or scream from the mountain tops to get my attention. I need to seek Him out in order for Him to restore me into the most marvelous masterpiece He intended me to be. I need to want to find the restoration in the sufficiency of Christ.
The Bridge Away from the Sufficiency of Christ
Beware of the bridge steers us away from the sufficiency of Christ. Its name is pride and its construction makes leaving the sufficiency of Christ and entering self-sufficiency much too simple.
Pride is the bridge guiding us away from the sufficiency of Christ. Its entrance says that the small things in life don’t need a big Savior and its exit convinces us that our small Savior hinders the accomplishment of big things.Click To Tweet
I’ve walked across the bridge of pride more times than I care to admit. What seems like good intentions (I don’t want to bother my Father with something so trivial) can quickly spiral into a false confidence (I was able to handle that on my own, so I must be able to handle this as well.) Before we know it we’re moving through life too quickly and easily accepting the praise for our accomplishments.
I call this a “race car driver” mentality and I know a thing or two about it because I’ve been there.
I’ve sped furiously through life, too eager to achieve the next win. I’ve calculated all lane shifts on my own, trusted my ability to control my car, and maintained a self-fulfilling roaring pace no matter the cost.
Have you ever been there?
Have you ever been so blinded by what you’re trying to accomplish that you forget about the heavenly reasons you were doing it in the first place?
One minute you have your eye on the finish line—to be a good mom and wife, a successful career woman, a devoted christian servant—the next minute you’re counting on your own abilities to get you there. You’re whizzing around the race track at unthinkable speeds, dreaming about the win and how it will feel. The attention you will receive. The payout for your hard work.
Only, you forget about the pit stops that all race car drivers must take in order to refuel, change tires, or make mechanical fixes. Race car drivers cannot do it on their own. Neither can we.
The Destruction of Self-Sufficiency
Have you ever had a time when you “broke down” and realized you needed your Savior? I call these 2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV) pit stops. They remind us of our weakness and of the sufficiency of Christ. There’s that amazing thing called grace too.
“…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…”
I made one of these “pit stops” about four years ago and my life forever changed. Even with three small children, I thought I could do everything—care for my children, advance in my career, tend to my home, serve at my church—all by myself.
My motor registered full-steam-ahead every day. Mornings whirled by in chaos as I struggled to get my oldest off to school and get the house in order before the babysitter came to watch my two younger children while I worked from home. Then came work—a slurry of completing items off my work to-do list, throwing in a load of laundry, and reprimanding a child who I could hear was not listening to the babysitter. After school consisted of planned activities, dinner, homework, baths, bed, volunteering, cleaning…the list could go on and on.
Can you say energizer bunny? Yup. That was me. (Okay, maybe I still catch myself going and going and going. I’m working on it.)
I felt empowered by the completion of tasks despite the weariness of it all. My inner voice coaxed the pride out of me: You can do this. You don’t need help. Everyone must be wondering how you do it. I gave myself the glory.
But remember that pit stop I mentioned?
My world of pride broke in the early hours of the morning. No longer was I juggling the easy to-dos. More challenging issues stormed into my life. My daughter struggled at school both academically and behaviorally and I didn’t know why. Fits of anger and inconsolable tantrums from my middle son become the norm and increasingly took more of my time and energy. And on top of all of that, my 1-year-old broke his leg and hadn’t been sleeping well for over a week.
Exhausted. Burnt out. Yet my pride kept telling me I could do it all.
Until I couldn’t.
After another night of being unable to settle my 1-year-old back to sleep, I finally lost it. My whole being bubbled with rage and longed for a way out of the lonely world created by none other than myself.
So I punched a wall and broke my hand. FOR REAL. Snapped a hand bone into two pieces.
Shameful. Unchristian. Call it what you want. But God saw my weakness and offered me a 2 Corinthians 12:9 pit stop.
How to Find Restoration in the Sufficiency of Christ
Let me clarify that life shouldn’t be a race. However, we sometimes treat it that way—especially when we claim self-sufficiency—don’t we? Life cycles around and around and if we aren’t careful to make frequent stops with the Lord, we’ll eventually break down.
Our God and Savior is the one that provides us with the means to drive through life. We see this in 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 (KJV):
“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God…”
So what did I receive at my pit stop?
Reminder that I am not enough and don’t have to be.
Encouragement that by His grace I can overcome anything.
Strength and support via His word, prayer, and the Holy Spirit.
Truth about the futility of self-sufficiency.
Open heart to God’s way instead of my way.
Renewal of faith in my Savior and His sacrifice for me.
Acceptance in spite of my failure.
Time to seek help and assess my past choices.
Immediate forgiveness from my pride and sin.
Opportunity to return to Jesus and His way.
Newness in my walk with Christ.
Please know that this restoration didn’t happen immediately. Just as a race car driver allows his pit crew the time to make necessary fixes, we also must wait on the Holy Spirit’s timing to fix our heart.
How to Maintain Restoration with the Sufficiency of Christ
What did I do after my pit stop?
I started living my life with Christ at the center of it, allowing others to see Him working through me. And now I take regular pit stops, not because of a crash or breakdown, but because I see the importance of continual maintenance from my maker.
To maintain restoration with the sufficiency of Christ I do the following:
1. I REFUEL MY SPIRITUAL GAS TANK EVERY DAY.
Having quiet time each day through Bible study and prayer helps me to quiet the world around me and focus on the soft voice of the Holy Spirit.
2. I REPLACE THE BAD TIRES IN MY LIFE.
Throwing away the things in my life that pull me away from Jesus (e.g., anger) and replacing them with things that push me towards Him (e.g., joy) better prepares me to deal with any trials I might face. Plus having the fruit of the Spirit makes you rely on the Holy Spirit rather than yourself.
3. I ASK AN EXPERT TO FIX MY BROKEN PARTS.
In order for me to live in the sufficiency of Christ, I must continually find the brokenness in my life and use it as a reminder as to why self-sufficiency is a lie pride feeds me. Confessing sin, disappointment, stress, or hurt to my Savior regularly and asking Him to heal life’s broken pieces keeps my eyes on Him.
4. I TURN OFF MY ENGINE FOR A TUNE UP AND DON’T INTERFERE WITH THE WORK.
Taking a rest and patiently waiting for my Savior to work in me keeps me dependent on the sufficiency of Christ. It affords me the opportunity to grow faith in my Lord while being calm enough to hear the Holy Spirit guiding me. I’ve learned over the years just how important it is to allow God the time to do His work rather than making it happen on my own.
Do you take frequent pit stops to avoid making yourself enough? If not, why not start today?
Do you ever struggle with self-sufficiency and if so, what measures do you take or could you take to to replace it with the sufficiency of Christ?