Is it always better?
I am going to go out on a limb here and say no, it's not.
Recently, on Instagram, I took a poll to see if others struggled with rest days from working out. I then encouraged them to try to identify the root fear behind the struggle.
A sister responded and shared how her root fear behind taking rest days came down to feeling ensalved to this idea that more is better and therefore, she must do more.
Anyone else feel this HARD like I do? I've been there and have first hand seen how the need and pursuit for "more," apart from God, leads to striving, overwhelm, pressure and total exhaustion. Here are some examples from my life:
More working out, less rest days.
More social media, less face to face interaction.
More work, less quality time with family.
More of my strength, less of God's strength.
More of me, less of Him.
Yikes. I really missed it.
Pursuing more without God left my body fatigued, my relationships shallow, my family getting my leftovers and God receiving glory through my life being compromised.
The more I chased "more", the more my "more" never felt enough. I was left with nothing but guilt, disappointment, discouragement, despair and weariness.
If the “more” in your life is leading to more pressure, more striving and more overwhelm, there's a good change you’re not doing this with God. I can say this pretty confidently because this was me.
You may be doing it for Him, but it's certainly not with Him. When it’s God who calls us to "more", it will be led by His peace and equipped with His strength.
When Jesus called His disciples to "more" when it came to spreading the gospel to all nations, He follows it up with "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
The disciples weren't doing more with their strength but with His power. It's God’s power in and through them that attracted others to Jesus. More of Him in them equipped them to do the "more" He was calling them to with boldness.
Be alert, friend. It's so easy to fall into the trap of our worth and identity being tied to our productivity, performance and "MOREness" (I totally just made that word up. Just remember you heard it here first).
When your identity is sealed in Christ and He is the only one who defines you, you are no longer influenced by the world or making decisions because of fear or in light of comparison to others. Instead, you’re able to follow God’s lead, His way, with His power And for His glory.
The main thing that should increase in our life is ultimately Jesus. John the Baptist said it best in John 3:30-"He must increase, but I must decrease."
Now. Are there times "more" is good? Sure. Sometimes God calls us to more rest, more generosity, more serving, etc. In areas where you might be more passive, you might hear Him calling you to more intentionality. In areas where you might be more ambitious, He may call you to more reliance on Him and more rest.
There are times God calls us to release things, reduce things, or recommit to things. The point is, there is a big difference between God calling us to "more" and us choosing "more" apart from God.
At the end of the day, I would rather obey God and do less with His strength, which points the world to Christ than do more apart from God with my strength, pointing the world to me.
Our goal in life is to do all things so that the name of Christ be exalted!
Here are a few questions to ask for a helpful for a heart check:
1. Is my pursuit of "more" pointing the world to Jesus or myself?
2. Did I stop and check with Him before increasing ____ in my life?
Okay. Can I be honest? The Christian life is often inconvenient. There, I said it! Maybe you’ve thought about it but never verbalized it. Walking with God requires that extra step of consulting Him, prayer, and listening. But if you’re serious about growing in your knowledge of Christ and magnifying Him, we have to embrace this life giving, spirit strengthening and faith building first step to seek Him first.
So make the commitment to do this more; seek Him first (Matthew 6:33) before adding, increasing, removing or reducing.
Lastly, there are absolutely things we should always be committing to more of like: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. (Galatians 5:22-23) But they only increase in us the more we are abiding in Christ as the VINE (see John 15). In this way, again He gets all the glory because the fruit comes from our faithful attachment to Him as the Vine not because we could bear fruit by our strength.
So perhaps the best “more” we could pursue is more love for Jesus, more faith in Jesus, more abiding in Jesus, more obeying Jesus, more trust in His Word and more opportunities to share the Gospel.
Until next time!