If my Pinterest boards could determine my future, most people I know probably wouldn’t recognize my future self.
My Pinterest-perfect self would be organized. Self-disciplined with both my time and my calorie intake. I would speak a second language (and maybe a third), be active in ministry, enjoy a dream career, and travel often. All of this and I would still have free time for hobbies.
It would be the perfect life, right?
The lure of self-sufficiency
Organization, a second language, career, hobbies — all of these have been on my list of New Year’s resolutions for nearly a decade (which probably tells you something about my self-discipline). It’s like my Pinterest boards are my idea of the perfect version of myself. I want to accomplish impressive goals and be someone worthy of emulating. If I could do all these things and reach all these goals, I would feel like my life was all put together.
In a word, I would be self-sufficient.
As a millennial in the age of adulting, independence is a tricky topic. What does it look like (in my season of life) and how much of it do I need (right now)? Sometimes I wonder if we go too far in our quest for independence as we try to build our resumes and our futures and our lives by ourselves.
But a self-sufficient life will never work. Why? Two reasons.
People need people
First, there is no way I could do everything I want to do by myself. It is impossible to know everything about everything (or honestly, even everything about doing my taxes). I need other people every day.
Even beyond practical reasons, we need other people because God wired us to need human interaction. We need people to talk to us, listen to us, respond to us. We need people who will encourage us and build us up.
The other day I was telling a married friend how I was trying to make a decision on my own, without seeking input. Not wanting to be a “needy” single person, I thought it would be good for me to wrestle through the decision without asking someone else what they thought I should do. She pointed out that she still seeks advice as a married adult, so my need for advice while single didn’t mean I was less of an adult for seeking it out.
It’s been said many times, but it’s true: We all need each other. We will never be self-sufficient.
People need Jesus
Second, no matter how much I learn or grow, I have never been nor will ever be able to come to God simply because of how good I am. My works will never be enough to make me right with God, and no Pinterest-worthy goal will get me there.
We should always be setting and reaching goals. Learning to be wise with our time, energy and talent is good. But all the self-help books and time management methods I can find in my local library can’t guarantee a fulfilling and productive life. Only in Jesus can our insufficiencies find grace and redemption.
The world — and even some Christians — try to tell us we are enough, but the whole point of the gospel is that we will never be enough on our own. Jesus came to us in our sin and debt and misery and let His “enough” become ours. Only His sacrifice is sufficient for our sins.
Once we are saved, our need for His help doesn’t disappear. Reaching our goals — and redeeming the goals that will never be reached — can only be done through Him. Jesus came to save us: from our weaknesses and failures and daydreams of self-sufficiency.
No superheroes here
I’m not very organized. Or self-disciplined. And my Spanish is mostly limited to colors and days of the week (and I even get those mixed up). My life may never match my Pinterest board dreams. But Jesus has saved me from needing to be perfect or impressive, and all my insufficiencies will never change my standing with Him.
When I lose another important piece of paper (or my new checks), I’m reminded that God never misses any details. When I don’t have the self-discipline to wake up early (again), I remember that God can redeem the rest of the day for His purposes, even if my to-do list still isn’t done. My insufficiency only points to Jesus’ sufficiency, and He is more than able to bring a life of purpose out of my imperfect life.
I want to be known more for my dependency on Jesus than my organizational skills. Which is good, since I’ll probably never be known for my organizational skills, anyway.
Copyright 2019 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.