Monday, August 11, 2008

Fighting & Surrendering, Part 1

Despite being on a sort of summer vacation (although still working), I've realized that I've been feeling rather anxious a lot. This weekend, I suspected that this might be due to feeling like I'm fighting all the time--not interpersonal fighting, but fighting to do everything right and get everything done and and and... Anyone ever feel like that?

In seeming confirmation of this suspicion, I received this devotional. It concludes with the point that we often are fighting all the time, suggesting that we are likely fighting against God, and we need to surrender. I think that is often true. We can fight against God when we try to do it our way, and surrendering is the only way to get true freedom.

However, how do we know if we are truly fighting against God? What about fighting against the world, evil, or even ourselves?

We can surrender ourselves to God and still fight and get exhausted from those fights. I would think Martin Luther King, Jr., surrendered his life, but he was a fighter, not against God, but against the world and evil. Mother Teresa fought for the things she believed in and surrendered her life for. She had some clear struggles of faith. Was she fighting with God? Not necessarily, but possibly with herself. Martin Luther, too, struggled with his faith, and I would argue he, too, was fighting against himself, not God.

My fighting usually relates to perfectionism. I beat myself up when I make a mistake. I have to get things right and constantly do and do and do (can anyone relate?). One could make a legitimate argument that I need to surrender these things to God. Well, one response could be easier said than done. At the same time, my experience of these fights do not seem to be as much related to surrendering these activities to God (I don't have huge confidence in my ability to do them without God's help), but to fighting against a belief I have about myself.

Perfectionism is not always about doing it yourself. For me, I think it relates more to having to be perfect in order to be valuable and simply "okay." Interestingly and coincidentally (are there coincidences), there was a good post today examining the difference between perfection and wholeness.

I recently listened to Ransomed Heart's The Good Heart again. I highly recommend it to everyone. In listening, I realized that while I believed that Christ transforms our hearts and makes our hearts good once we accept Him, I have not fully accepted that belief and integrated it into my life. I act like I have an evil heart, therefore I must act with as much perfection as possible in order to show that I'm not all that bad. It's a failing model that never achieves its goal, or at least the goal doesn't last long, if achieved.

In this case, it doesn't seem to be as much about fighting with God as fighting with myself about my views of myself... Has anyone else experienced this same thing? How do you handle it?

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