You’re Looking for Peace in All the Wrong Places and Here’s Why
This post originally appeared on the blog in July 2017.
We live in a world where information, expectations, and needs come at us like a tennis ball machine set on turbo speed. Women tend to be expert multi-taskers, and we can keep a lot of balls going at the same time. But it’s costing us. Never have we been more addicted, exhausted, numb, and depressed. The more we hustle, the longer the list gets. Too many of us feel like we are running down a road that leads to nowhere, and we are desperate to find another path. This can be as true during summer vacation as it is during the Christmas season.
Many of us are trying to figure out how we got here. We think, “Maybe the problem is my weight. If I just lose those unwanted pounds, my life will feel different. Or maybe it’s my marriage. If my husband would just change, everything would feel better.” Some of us look to the gym to solve our feelings of lethargy and flabbiness. Or we go shopping. Or we keep accumulating accomplishments in areas that matter to us. But deep soul rest and serenity seem just out of reach.
Could it be that we are looking for peace in all the wrong places?
In this two-part blog series, I’m going to look at 4 ways we can get off the treadmill, quit hustling, and find peace. We’ll cover the first way in this post, and the other three in the next.
If you want to quit hustling and find peace…
1. Stop Trying to Prove Your Worth.
In an interview with Vogue magazine, Madonna said the following, “My drive in life comes from a fear of being mediocre. That is always pushing me. I push past one spell of it and discover myself as a special human being, but then I feel I am still mediocre and uninteresting unless I do something else. Because even though I have become somebody, I still have to prove that I am somebody. My struggle has never ended and I guess it never will.”
However you may feel about Madonna, you’ve got to hand it to her for her authenticity. In her desire to measure up, to be somebody, she pushes and measures herself continually. And many of us are doing the same thing. We wake up in the morning determined to count, to be considered enough, to stand out or at least fit in. Just because you don’t drive yourself or hustle for worth doesn’t mean this isn’t an area of struggle. Many of us appear unconcerned about people’s approval and outward achievements, but inwardly are full of self-doubt. The “I don’t care” attitude can actually cover up a heart that desperately wants to matter and be seen, but is afraid to even try.
So many of us head into each day, hoping that our performance will earn us the verdict: GOOD ENOUGH. Every morning we are, in essence, getting ready for the trial we think we’re going to face. In this tribunal, we have to prove that we are enough—young enough, smart enough, pretty enough, successful enough, holy enough, thin enough. Some days we feel we nail it. Other days we don’t. A new day dawns, and the proving just starts all over again. We never quite get to that place where we can say, done. The result of this yo-yo life? Insecurity and exhaustion.
But a game-changing event took place over 2000 years ago, and it changed everything about this tribunal. When we forget this, when we relegate this fact to a part of our lives just reserved for Sunday, we miss out on the peace we are promised. We are looking for peace in all the wrong places.
What happened when Jesus died on the cross all those years ago? He entered the courtroom on our behalf. He stood trial for all our sins and shortcomings. When the guilty verdict came in for what we have done, Jesus took the punishment in our place. What did He say on the cross just before He died? It is finished.
So when we choose to go into the courtroom each morning, ready to be on trial for our worthiness, God waits for us to turn and notice that He is there, with something to say to us. Sometimes we rush by Him. We’re so busy with so much to prove. But when we take the time to pause, when we turn our face to His, He tells us, “You don’t have to go in there. The trial is over. The punishment has already been meted out and was paid for. You are free to go and live differently.”
There is nothing to prove when we know that we are forgiven.
There is nothing to prove when we know that we are unconditionally loved.
There is nothing to prove when we know that we are accepted by God, not because of anything we have done, but because of what Jesus has done.
We read of this in Titus 3:5: “He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy.”
It’s already been decided. The jury is in. You have been declared ENOUGH, not because of any righteous things you have done, but because of Jesus and what He did. Lean into this truth and exhale. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more, or make Him love you less. You are worth everything to Him and are utterly adored.
Praying you will experience His peace that surpasses all understanding,
Note: If still you are looking for peace in all the wrong places and you’re ready to quit hustling, read part 2 here.