By Madeline Heidi Meidt

Week Two After Relationships Week!

Pursuing a man or women and pursuing God have proven to produce an attitude of works based righteousness. The majority of my life has been trying to prove myself. My motives have changed throughout the years out of seasons of insecurity and confidence. Out of a spirit of insecurity, trying to prove to myself that I am worth it and that I am worthy of a relationship. In a spirit of confidence, thinking that I deserve a relationship because of how great I have made myself think I am. Both are seasons of selfishness, thinking I am entitled to a relationship and the pursuit of a man. I am human and deserve nothing but hell. I do not deserve a relationship, but because of the cross and the fact that Jesus is the son of God and died for my freedom, I am able to participate in the joys that this life brings and experience life eternal.

In this striving to prove myself, I become weary. It is so tiring trying to prove that I am worth it. I feel like I am not good enough the way I am, but need to put in extra effort to ensure that I am seen as someone worth spending time with. Laughing a little louder, telling extra funny stories, and perfecting how I look to make myself just a little more noticeable. All of these things are striving, trying to make myself better than I may seem, or than I view myself. At times, I’ve wondered why I go to bed so emotionally drained when I am interested in someone. It is this reason: I strive, and I end up dissatisfied and empty when the attention is not returned. I want to be pursued, I want someone to desire me.

The saddest part is that I do the exact same thing with God. I do not believe that the cross is enough. I pursue God, trying to make him notice me more. I read my Bible, make sure I go to church, and write an extra page in my prayer journal, all with the motivation of making myself seem more desirable to God. I want to gain his attention so I can take from him, not to know his heart more. This is striving. I am striving to gain God’s approval. I want him to look at me and say, “Wow, you are so good. I am so proud of you for doing all of these great things. Great job finding and choosing me.” None of that is true! God does not look at me, proud of my good works. He looks at me and sees Jesus. Meanwhile, Jesus is saying, “Father, I paid it all. It is finished, they are yours forever.” My good works are useless compared to what Jesus did on the cross. Thinking that I can earn God’s approval is saying that Jesus is not enough and that Jesus paid most of the debt, but the rest has to be completed by myself. I did not choose God, he pursued me. He came after me into this world to free me forever.

There is no way I would ever desire to turn from my sin and toward Jesus. It is a miracle that the Lord would enter into my heart and change me forever, so I would despise sin and want to know him more. I am SO unworthy, incredibly undesirable, and the lowest of the low. My freedom from sin cannot have anything to do with what I could do. That does not make sense. It has everything to do with Jesus! Jesus did everything. Jesus came, died, rose again, and conquered death, and now reigns forever in heaven with his Father, having freed the world from sin by bridging the gap. It is finished. The work I do on earth does not change that. Because of that, I no longer have to prove myself to God. I can read my Bible with the desire to know Jesus more and to see more of the Gospel, not because I want Jesus to love me more. I go to Church because I want to be around believers and because Church shows me more of Jesus, not because I want other people to see how good I am. I can find joy where I am because Jesus freed me from my sin.

God doesn’t love me because of the things that I do. He loves me because of Jesus. He is constantly pursuing my heart and has been since the beginning of time as he constantly proves himself faithful, kind, and beautiful. He allures me. “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Heartbreak, a door of hope,” Hosea 2:14–15. He knows me, he created me, and he understands my heart better than I could ever understand my heart. He does not want me tired and worn out in my pursuit of proving myself. Instead he says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” Matthew 11:28–30. How amazing is that? Jesus is saying, “stop your striving! Instead, take my yoke. Take what I have done on the cross and there you will find rest for your soul.”

Stop striving, stop trying to become enough. You will never be enough apart from Christ. Allow God to pursue you and experience that rest. The same is true for our earthly relationships as a marriage between a man and a woman represents Christ and his pursuit of the church. As I said in point one, your relationship status has nothing to do with you. God is completely sovereign, completely in control, he knows what is best for you, what will give you the most joy, and the most growth. Rest in God’s merciful kindness and your identity in Christ.