You're not doing enough for Jesus. You're not reading your Bible enough. You're not praying enough, tithing enough, studying hard enough or doing enough. You're not good enough. You should try harder, do more, be more. Sound familiar?
The false prophets of "more" are as common to Christianity as credit counselors are on the radio. They stand unchallenged behind our pulpits, magically untouchable as leaders in our ministries, but worst of all as perpetual voices in our heads, an ever present splinter of guilt and inferiority.
After all, how can you rebuttal a prophet of more? Can you say you read your Bible enough? Can you say you pray enough? Can you say you do enough for Jesus? You can't say "yes," that would be arrogant. But once you say "no," they got you. You have to do more.
How many times have we heard brain games like this: "If you read your Bible twenty minutes a day, that is only one percent of your day. Do you give God even one percent of your time? I think He deserves more."
The prophets of “more” feed off our guilt and trap us in helplessness. The often implied, or outright declared, consequences of your insufficiency are your problems. Having problems at work? Problems at home? Health issues? Feel distant from God? Feel you are missing something? You haven't been doing enough, and now you should immediately start doing more.
So here is the catch, we all want to do more. We all already feel like we never do everything we should. The truth is that we only have so much time in the day. Our lives are formed by our choices, and we can't just pack everything in we think we should do. We have to choose what is most important, and be at peace missing out on what didn't make our daylight cut.
So yes, we aren't enough, but the answers aren't found in doing more. Most likely, the answer lies in doing less. Chances are our lives are stuffed full of things we feel obligated to do, barely scratching out enough time to get a good night’s sleep. If we are really struggling to get “more” in our lives, chances are we probably need to take a serious look at doing less.
Life is not a vending machine where we put in our due rituals and then good things come out. Life is a deep, interwoven and interconnected experience. Christianity is not a club we make time for, it is lens by which we view every minute of every day. The challenges of life aren't going to be overcome through a mindless pursuit of “more.”
True teachers, lead by the Spirit, help us find answers and grow our understanding, they do not waste time feeding our guilt and shame. We all want more, we need to know how. The shame and guilt of “more” are like dead tree stumps and mossy boulders on the field of the soul. They obstruct our ability to move forward, and look for real practical answers and wisdom.
So to practice what I preach, what is my practical application of this message? Stop guilting yourself over doing more. Instead, ask yourself these questions..
- What commitments do I have filling my time simply because I am afraid what people will think about me if I stop?
- Am I comfortable with my own thoughts, or do I fill my schedule to distract myself?
- Do I attend events to be with people who bless me and build me up, or am I spending time with people who I am just afraid of being judged by?
- Do I avoid stepping up, leading, or sharing with others because I feel I am not worthy until I do “more?”
- Do I really think Christ won’t use me until I do “more?”
- What would I do if I actually thought I was enough?