During the fourteen years that I was fasting from publishing books, Kristi and I were on a retreat with a group of church leaders. As I was quiet and still before God, some inner emotions surfaced and I became aware of feeling inadequate and deficient.
I felt I was not doing enough with my life: I was not achieving and excelling like some of my peers. They were writing books, leading seminars and retreats, and being publicly commended. I felt tempted to break my fast and write another book, even though God had not yet released me.
When you scroll your feed on Facebook or Instagram maybe you feel like you’re not enough. Not pretty enough. Not smart enough. Not wealthy enough. Not popular enough. Not accomplishing enough. Not ____________ enough to be loved.
Our world tells us, “You’re only as good as your last performance” and “You have to make yourself stand out.” These are not healthy motivational sayings — they’re destructive self-talk. They’re lies from Satan! (John 8:44).
We can get on a never-ending performance treadmill. No matter how good you look or how much you achieve or how much recognition and attention you get you never feel loved and significant. It’s your ideal self that’s being applauded. Nobody knows the real you. You’re left feeling insecure and inadequate, even ashamed and worthless.
When we believe the lie that we are “not enough” we are being choked by an un-Christly, anxious yoke. We’re missing the experience of Jesus’ easy yoke. This easy yoke is a secure attachment; it’s God’s unconditional grace. God accepts and loves us freely, not because of our works or performance (Ephesians 2:8-9).
When I became envious of my friends that day on retreat, I was being assaulted by this faulty, self-aggrandizing thinking. The world, my flesh (natural abilities apart from God), and the devil were ganging up on me to take me out of the mind of Christ, which is always set on the spiritual reality of God’s love (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).
Thankfully, I meditated on the Lord’s easy yoke. In prayer, I turned to the Spirit of Jesus and saw his smile and open arms and my soul was restored in God’s peace. The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom” and it means fullness of God’s life. Shalom is the only reliable safeguard for our heart (Philippians 4:7).
If you’re on a performance treadmill or feeling anxious receive Jesus’ Easy Yoke Gospel. It’s true! He looks right at you, smiles, and says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).
Jesus welcomes you! Lay your burden down. You don’t have to be ideal. You don’t have to do everything right. You don’t have to please everybody. You are loved and accepted for who you are!
This devotional is adapted from Bill’s book, Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke: Rhythms of Grace to De-Stress and Live Empowered.