Is Our Culture Placing Too Much Pressure? Part 2

We are constantly feeling guilty about things that are not sinful, they’re just part of being a creature. And when we get confused between our finitude and sin, it actually distorts the Christian life. It distorts our worship, it distorts what Christian faithfulness looks like, in our relationships.

– Kelly Kapic

In my last blog post, I discussed how our culture’s pressure on girls may be the cause for undo stress, anxiety, and health concerns that are becoming prevalent amongst girls. Today, I happened across the GospelBound podcast “The Good News of Your Limits.” Kelly Kapic, who recently wrote You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News, provided some amazing insight. What if we are daily meddling a misunderstanding of our limitations and God’s expectations?

I’ve spent ten years now fascinated with Christian biographies of those who have done ‘great things’ for the Lord. I remember reading Dallimore’s two-volume biography of George Whitefield and coming away inspired to “spend and be spent for God.” Then, Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life left me all the more driven to make every bit of my life useful for God.

The passion books like these conveyed was incredibly valuable, especially when all of us young people are constantly surrounded by a generation wasting their lives on entertainment, meaningless video games, recreation, and living for money and comfort. Those books are needed. And I’m eternally thankful for those who introduced me to them.

At the same time, as Kapic pointed out in his podcast interview, the “Don’t waste your life” mentality has ruined families, marriages, and health. He cited A.W. Tozer, for example, who’s wife admitted “He loves Jesus, but I’m not sure he loves me.” Wow. Talk about missing the point.

The question is, in a passion to serve God, am I missing what it means to live a faithful Christian life in my sphere of influence? Yes, unreached peoples need the gospel. Yes, refugees in my city need ministry. Yes, more books on discipleship need written. Yes, more children in the schools need Good News Clubs to hear the gospel. Yes, people walking in the mall need Christians with the courage to approach them with street evangelism. Yes, every mother in church needs meals after having a baby.

But are all of these things my calling? Am I missing the calling of the entire church—which certainly needs to do each of these things—with my individual role? And in trying to reach each need, am I missing the most important ministries right in front of me: loving my fiance (to-be husband in 10 days :), investing in my siblings and someday, children of my own, and serving those I see every day?

Secondly, am I daily feeling guilty because I’m confusing my humanity with sin? Kapic observed:

When I put my head on the pillow at night, you know, I don’t often just think, “Man, I was great today. I really got it.” And what’s interesting though, is when we think about our day and we judge it, what tends to happen, including for us as Christians, is it’s not about just how I treated people. It’s how much I got done. And I think the idea of productivity has so infiltrated into our understanding of Christian faithfulness, that what happens is, I don’t feel good at the end of the day, not because I’ve been unkind to people, because I didn’t get as much done as I think I was supposed to.

Kelly Kapic

Having fallen into this exact pitfall pretty much my entire life (yes, I am totally a Type-A, driven person), I also know the beauty of experiencing the rest that comes from grace. Dane Ortland’s Gentle and Lowly was life changing in my slow transformation in coming to know a God who welcomes me into His arms rather than rebukes me up for not having achieved enough.

I am beginning to see rest and service, passion and faithfulness no longer as a balance but as an organic wholeness that makes up the Christian life. We live out of grace, in relationship to our loving Father, and from that intimate relationship, the rest of life flows forth. The answer isn’t in more time management books or conferences to hype me up. It’s in daily communion with Christ, so that wherever He leads me to serve (be it on the mission field or making dinner), I serve out of the rest and grace He’s poured out on me.

Learning along with you,

— Julianna

P.S. I highly recommend listening to Kapic’s entire podcast here, as his applications to parenting and leadership and the every day Christian life are both profound and practical.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Very interesting read Ms. Dotten and thank you for sharing.
    I often find meditation with prayer helpful in my life. When people say they are surprised to find I am such a religious person; I often ask, “What makes you think I am religious”?
    There are so many things we do not understand or have the ability to comprehend but I find faith helpful 🙏
    Thanks for sharing and take care 🙂

    Like

    1. Hello,
      Thank you for reading my blog and your comment! With all respect, I’d have to disagree about being a religious person, as you said. There are many religions in the world, but they all really come down to the same thing: trying to work our way to please God, get into heaven, or achieve a happy life (be it through pilgrimages to Mecca, prayer and meditation, doing good deeds, living a moral life, going to church, etc.) But the Bible doesn’t teach a religion, so I would have to disagree and say I’m not religious, I’m a Christian.

      In other words, the Bible says we are all sinful and unable to fix ourselves or do anything to please God, because we break His law on a daily basis. In fact, even our good deeds are sinful in His sight, because He is perfect and we are not. So religion only digs us into a deeper hole of being separated from God and deserving His punishment. But, in order to demonstrate His amazing love and mercy, God chose to make a way for us to be restored in relationship with Him. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to this world to become a man, live a perfect life, and then die the death we deserved for our sins, and then be raised again. That’s the core of what I believe and live each day. Because Christ took the punishment for all my sins, I can be restored to have a right relationship with my Creator.

      So I’d say my faith isn’t just helpful to life here. I’ve “thrown all my eggs in one basket,” so to say, because if Christ’s death and resurrection isn’t true and there isn’t the promise that I will live eternally in heaven with God, I don’t any hope or reason to live.

      I agree — there are so many things in life that can seem difficult to understand. But if we simply take the Bible for what it says and believe it, it has all the answers we need to live in this life and have hope for the life to come. That brings incredible joy in having a relationship with the true and living God!

      Also, regarding your meditation comment. Meditation is a very interesting word, because it has two very different meanings. Meditation as most people think of it (as the New Age movement defines it) means “emptying your mind.” The Bible’s definition for meditation, though, means to fill your mind with God’s Word and purposefully thinking about that. Meditating on God’s Word by reading it, thinking about it, and talking to God about it helps us know God better and brings so much joy! Meditation by emptying your mind as the world defines it brings emptiness and doesn’t satisfy, because we can’t find the answers to life within ourselves. We find them in the Bible!

      Anyway, sorry for the long reply. Really appreciate your comment, and would love to hear your thoughts about it!

      Thanks for reading,
      Julianna

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dianne Doty says:

    This is such a needed truth-balance —being sure we are led by God’s Spirit —glorifying Him in all relationships and activities!

    Like

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