For example, in the last 24 hours I've done laundry, baked muffins, made breakfast, lunch and dinner (all homemade from scratch), worked on three songs that I've just recently written, helped the kids with their homework, called and encouraged people, blessed my husband even though I was tired, painted an entire picture for the book I'm illustrating, emailed, vacuumed, done dishes, sweeped up junk off the kitchen floor, done some Christmas shopping, some chauffeuring, read to the kids and kept my voice at a gentle tone (which if you have 4 children from ages 4-8 you'll understand how that takes about as much self-control as saying no to the dessert tray when it passes by you) ... you get the idea. And today I feel like I'm useless, unvaluable, untalented, unproductive, and just generally beaten up. This is where I battle...this is where my depression seeps in. I think that somehow I need to measure up to some standard. I don't know exactly what that standard is but I do know it does not come from God, but from myself. It is truly idolatrous when I stop and think about it. I am worshippng a standard of my own creation and as I keep seeking fulfillment from it, I am left destitute and miserable. God has none of these expectatins for me, he wants me to rest in his presence, be with him, worship him and trust him with my present, my future, my gifts and my talents and just let him live through me. That's it, that's all he wants.
And the lie of the accuser says, "no that's not all he wants and it's certainly not what other people want...they want pizazz and wonder, if you're not providing that then you are a nothing." And now we're getting into my other greatest weakness ... fear of man. I sometimes elevate the approval of man so far above the approval of God that I lose all perspective and joy. Fear of man is a snare and a joy-stealer of the worst kind. I'll be going along thinking I'm doing well; preferring others, being considerate and demonstrating the "one anothers" but in reality I'm just worshipping the approval and acceptance of other people. God's approval and acceptance is left out of the equation. Silly, really, especially since God is so much more gracious and accepting of me than any human can be. As people, we put requirements on each other, but God never does. He just wants me to release my whole self to him and then he'll do all the work of living his life through me ... I don't have to do anything, just surrender. It sounds so easy. It's not. The will of self and the lie of the accuser are so persistent ... not strong, at least not stronger than the Spirit of God, but persistent like a nagging hang nail. I can love my brothers and sisters, but I do not have to live for their approval, that is vanity.
So here I am, it's 11:15. What am I going to do with the barrage of negative garbage being thrown at me from every angle? I think I'll go and sit in front of my fireplace and engage the enemy head on through prayer. Satan has no power. He likes to try to get me to think he does, but I know better. I have God on my side. And the best thing is, I already have God's approval, acceptance and joy-filled love for me. I don't have to do anything to gain it, I am a child of the king today and every day whether I feel like it or not. In exchange for my cruddy old life, God gave me his shining, glorious life. It's mine now and nothing and no one can take it away from me.
I think my enemy is in for a surprise attack...God's on my side and that no-good liar doesn't stand a chance! I can never lose!!
"'My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite contnet with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (Christ) is a mighty power among you. Although he died on the cross in weakness, he now lives by the mighty power of God. We, too, are weak, but we live in him and have God's power."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 3:3b-4