We spent the first few minutes catching up. Work, the kids, and all the busyness of life that fills up so much space and time. Because we’ve gotten older and our friendship allows it, we even shared the aches, pains and nagging complaints.
“How are you?” she asked.
I sipped my tea, shrugged and offered the generic adjectives so much easier to articulate than truth, “Good. Busy. Tired.”
She narrowed her gaze and asked again, “How are you really?”
Whether we want to admit it or not, we all fall prey to the temptation to hide the truth of our honest condition. We’d rather be “good,” so we hide behind the mask.
We don’t want to be a burden.
There isn’t enough energy to unpack ALL that baggage.
Would we be still be liked, accepted, approved if we admit we’re not really all that “good?”
Good is a lie we tell ourselves and others so the truth can stay tucked safely away. Miserable through and through, we can still manage to squeeze out a smile and pull off goodness, can’t we?
Good is a form of self-preservation, a crutch we lean on to avoid the work of truth.
We pursue goodness for all the wrong reasons. We set impossible standards for our entirely imperfect frames and then we’re sorely disappointed when we miss the self-inflicted mark. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves us exhausted and no closer to dealing with the honest truth.
Here’s the problem with being good: We’re not.
We are sinners. Our best intended efforts to be good are quickly undermined by our own flesh. If it’s not our actions and words that derail us, just cop to a few of those wayward thoughts and watch goodness drift away.
The truth is, our goodness doesn’t stand a chance—apart from Christ. We need to stop focusing on who WE THINK we SHOULD be, and embrace WHO WE ARE in Christ.
“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people
for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV
How do we set aside our striving for goodness and live in the light of God’s truth? How can we stop being “good” and pursue our true identity in Christ?
REMEMBER HIS PLAN:
Our freedom from sin was purchased at a very high price. We are God’s possession, called out of darkness and created to proclaim His goodness, not our own. Goodness is not a race that we have to run. We don’t have to be perfect, because Jesus already is.
REWRITE YOUR GOALS:
Our goal isn’t good, it’s God. Self-evaluating our goodness is subjective at best, and dangerous at worst. As believers, we don’t live the way the world lives—we live the way God asks us too. We pursue His goodness and truth. We are good, because He is good.
Our goal isn’t good, it’s God.
REFRESH YOUR THINKING:
We are chosen and set apart as God’s very own. But is that how we see ourselves? God forgives our sin, but He doesn’t erase our memory. For many of us that means we see ourselves in a reflection of our past, rather than in the image of our Father. When you forget whose you are, ask Him to remind you—through His word, in His presence, by His Spirit. True goodness is belonging to God.
REALIZE YOUR NEED:
When we rely on ourselves, we can forget God—and His truth. There is no shame in leaning on someone stronger than us. God wants to bear our burdens, but we need to bring them to Him first. When we confess, He cleanses. When we seek, we find. In our weakness, He is strength. Dependence on God is the perfect position for positive change.
RECEIVE HIS MERCY:
God’s mercy is new every morning, and who can’t use a fresh start? We make mistakes and God forgives. That isn’t license to continue making them, but it’s a benefit of relationship with a loving Father. Receive His mercy, proclaim His goodness and live free.
My friend and I moved beyond “good” and covered the bad, even a bit of the ugly. She gave me the freedom to be honest. But friends, God is always that safe place. And while community can allow us room to share our burdens, God sees and knows them before we even utter the words.
We don’t have to bring Him half-truths. He welcomes us as we are, our baggage in tow, and then delights in transforming us into the person He created us to be…which is so much better than good. ♥
This post was edited from archives and originally posted on Simply for One.