This study is for strivers, for those of us exhausted by the “You are enough—just improve yourself” narrative. The truth is, we never were enough, and we never will be. It’s time to lay down the wearying pursuit of self-betterment and measuring ourselves against popular opinion. The answer we’re looking for is in the enduring gift of amazing grace. It’s only when we receive that gift that our strivings will cease!
We have all felt the weight of not measuring up, and responded by trying to be good enough. Some of us feel trapped in the never-ending hamster wheel of approval-seeking. Our obsession with earning favor influences the way we dress, who we try to impress, and the way we interact with God. We were not made to find our worth, favor, or enough-ness in our own efforts. God made a better way!
"There's no such thing as a free lunch." Over time, this phrase has come to express the idea that nothing is totally “free”—somewhere along the way, everything costs someone something. When it comes to our redemption, it's true that there's no free lunch, but we're not the ones buying! Grace cost Jesus everything, and he offers it to you and me at no cost, and with no strings attached. It’s actually free!
Regardless of what current culture is trying to sell us, the antidote to avoiding shame is not self-love. It’s God’s love. The true antidote is understanding that all of redemption is the story of Jesus taking our shame, canceling our debt, and bestowing on us an honor and love we don’t deserve. Are you ready to lay down shame for his forgiveness and favor?
The reason why self-help and self-reliance can never lead us to true satisfaction and assurance in Christ is because we were never meant to be simply improved in the first place; we were made to be changed. Grace doesn’t just pluck us from the pit of self-striving—it's not about making our lives "better;" grace transforms us for fruitful living.
If we’re called to do good, how do we live holy and praiseworthy lives? Does it feel impossible to do good things without striving in your own strength? To be free from the weight of sin and empowered to love and serve without an agenda or ulterior motive? The gospel has good news, friend: Grace makes the impossible possible! Grace frees us to do good.
What if there were a different way to think about the story of our lives? What if the grace of God not only saves us from a life of destruction but truly sustains us for a life of perseverance? God’s grace changes everything we believe about what we truly need and it will change how we view our stories as well . . . even now, whatever season we’re in.