I have always been a fairly driven person. I always have goals, immediate and long-term, in the back of my mind, and I’m always working toward them. Sometimes this is a good thing, but sometimes it’s not. I think it all depends on where the motivation to complete those goals comes from.
If I’m being completely honest with myself, sometimes my motivation comes from comparison. I look at other people: their education, their jobs, their relationships and families, even the way they look. I tend to believe they’re better than me. I look at their lives and feel inferior.
Sometimes this feeling of inferiority makes me want to work harder. If you’re anything like me, sometimes you can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to your responsibilities.
I’ve been going through a little bit of an upheaval in my work schedule since March due to staffing changes on my unit at the hospital. I’ve always been the kind of person that tries to help out and move my shifts around to accommodate the needs of my work environment. This current situation at work is no exception, but lately I find myself getting burned out on being the “yes-man”. On top of the weird hours I work, sometimes things can be really stressful and I find myself thinking, “If I were better at my job, maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Maybe I could have prevented this if I worked harder.”
I eventually want to go back to school to get a Master’s degree and further my career, but the idea of doing that makes me feel overwhelmed.
I strive to be there for my family and friends. I do my best to be there for them whenever I have free time, and sometimes even that doesn’t feel like I’m doing enough. So I try harder, but then I find myself exhausted with little left to give.
Whether you’re a student writing papers, a mother raising children, a member of the work force completing tasks at your job, or any combination of these, it’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t go the way you plan.
Sometimes all these comparisons and goals just makes me feel bad about myself, and of course I haven’t even talked about the comparison of my life to God’s holy law. When I look at how my life compares to what God expects, I see that I am a miserable failure. So when compared with the only standard that truly matters, these feeling about my own shortcomings are not unfounded.
Left to our own devices we are hopelessly inadequate. We are human, and we make mistakes constantly. Nothing we do is good enough. We try our best, but we still fail.
Thankfully, it’s not up to us to be perfect. Nothing we do is good enough, but Jesus was perfect for us. Even though we aren’t perfect, Jesus has got us covered!
Through Jesus, we receive God’s grace and mercy. Every good thing that we accomplish in this world comes from God, as a fruit of the faith that has been worked in us. So when it feels like you can’t do anything right, it’s because alone you can’t. When things are going smoothly, it a gift from our loving God.
There of course will still be times when things don’t go the way we plan due to our own shortcomings. That is the way things go in this sinful world, and it can be really easy to get caught in a downward spiral of self-doubt when we realize how truly inadequate we are. But instead of focusing on everything we lack, we can turn our eyes to Jesus who replaces all of our imperfections with his righteousness.
It is a God-pleasing thing to work hard in the roles that have been placed before us, whatever they may be. It is a good thing to have goals and work hard to accomplish them. However, we don’t have to be motivated by our own failures, which is likely to lead to more feelings of inadequacy if and when we don’t accomplish our goals perfectly. Instead of getting caught up in the craziness of life in this sinful world, I pray that God fixes my eyes on him and remind me daily that we was perfect for me so it’s okay when I’m not. I pray that God works through my work in this world to bring glory to Him. I pray that I am motivated by the thankfulness I have because of God’s perfect love for me.