“Laying Down the Expectations — When Finishing Well Is Always Enough Because Jesus is Enough”

I can be somewhat of a competitive person, and what that looks like may not be the same for you. The person I see in the mirror likes to better her last score on the digital game. I don’t seek to surpass your score or anyone else’s who may be in the room — just my own. Perhaps you can relate …

In fact, I am known to compete with a cardio machine at the gym. Yes, I know — sounds lunatic in nature, but in order for me to get ‘that level’ workout, I literally say to the machine as I mount it, “You’re just nuts ‘n’ bolts and I can unplug you.” With my earbuds in, it’s game on!

Problem is: the ‘game’ is never off.

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It took me many, many years — and I’m still allowing the learning lessons to really sink in and soak my soul — to realize that in my own strength and effort, I cannot achieve any level of perfection that will be my admission ticket to the box seat of acceptance.

The bigger problem was that I was trying to earn a place of acceptance. The performance was just a means to an end.

Craziness like this can come at a high price. Sleepless nights of rethinking and regretting. There’s a level of worry wondering if I could have done any better before hitting that ‘send’ button. And let’s not go off that deep end into the 99.9 percent is still 0.1 percent not enough.

A sweet friend pointed out to me that the same grace I extend towards others also needs to be applied to myself. Say what?! That was a totally new concept for me to drink in. Until I began to see that I am forgivable and lovable — just as much as anyone else.

More than that, I am already accepted.

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other, which will bring glory to God. Romans 15:7 NCV

For me to give myself that same dose of grace — for the ‘not quite’ or ‘falling short’ moments — has taken much rethinking. I don’t suppose you may be sharing the same thoughts …

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Somewhere in earlier times, I latched onto a perfectionistic mindset that had since strangled and mangled many projects before they could even launch. In fact, some got hauled off the scrap yard never to see the light of day. That locomotive thinking can lead to a train wreck of sorts.

Performance does not define acceptance.

In more recent times, the Holy Spirit shined His Light on words I had not taken notice of — at least not that I can recall. Maybe in such a hurry to read beyond I overlooked some lessons that Biblical ancestors had wanted me to receive in my lifetime.

10 Solomon, you must understand this. The Lord has chosen you to build the Temple as his holy place. Be strong and finish the job.” 1 Chronicles 28:10 NCV

It’s obvious that even Solomon needed some encouragement to do the work GOD had set aside for him to do. In this passage, his father, king David, is reminding his son to work to completion with all diligence. But to get the gist of the conversation, you have to back up and hear more of Solomon’s father’s advice:

“And you, my son Solomon, accept the God of your father. Serve him completely and willingly, because the Lord knows what is in everyone’s mind. He understands everything you think. If you go to him for help, you will get an answer. But if you turn away from him, he will leave you forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9 NCV

These men were just like you and me. Human with the tendency to feel inadequate to fill big shoes — GOD-designer shoes. We have a preconceived notion of how things should look and often work with that visual in mind, forgetting that work that is committed to the Lord and performed with His Strength, relying on His Wisdom, could possibly look completely different when it’s all said and done.

Especially if we step out of the way — to let Him have His Way.

Let’s be fully certain that we do not place either of these great heroes on pedestals too high to mount. As we recall, Solomon is the son that came from David and Bathsheba (which we know started off as an elicit affair and a pinch of murder). And after a lavish lifestyle of having accumulated wealth and women, Solomon was very disheartened at his decisions.

7 But you must remain strong and not become discouraged. Your actions will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7 GWT

King Asa here tried to do things in a half-hearted manner. He eventually came around to seeing things GOD’s way, but had long sacrificed too many years of wrongful living.

The caveat to true success is working with all diligence in obedience to what GOD has already called us to do. And yes, that may require some (in my case, a lot of) self-talk in addition to hearing it from the Scriptures and sermons.

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Finishing well might look like 85 percent instead of the highly sought after 100 percent. The proposal at work may not meet the needs for this fiscal year-end goals, but can possibly be used in next year’s projections. Getting a “B” on that final exam doesn’t reflect a student’s future successes. Not qualifying for the major leagues doesn’t equate to a major screw up.

The Apostle Paul is one of the biggest cheerleaders for the Church. He fought hard to teach, mentor and encourage the early Church believers and often times it was while he was incarcerated. How’s that for doing backflips to get your attention?

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV

If I am working for the glory of man, seeking the accolades and applause of other equally imperfect (even though they may be lightyears more skilled and experienced) people, then I will always come up shy and lacking the full deck of ‘atta girls!’

But if my heart, mind and soul are fully dedicated and committed to the obedience of Christ in fulfilling ________________________ (you can fill in your own blank), I must also remind myself I’ve surrendered the outcome because I have faithfully followed His Process.

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“Do you wrestle with any of these conflicting mental and emotional thoughts?”

“What might you need to rethink and surrender to the Lord in order to get out of the way to make room for The Way Himself?”

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12 NIV

Hard work that is done with integrity using the gifts and talents with which GOD has equipped you is enough — because He is enough. GOD says He’s got all the details covered. Enough said.

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary

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