I read an interesting article on millennials in the last few weeks and suddenly as I was reading the article some pieces that had been floating around in my heart shifted and thunk fell into place. The article mentions a study that says millennials who were born under the prosperity of the 80s but came into the world with the economic uncertainty of the early 2000s have a complex that if they work hard enough and long enough they will succeed in life. So we are experiencing a growing number of exhausted adults who are realizing the futility of being able to work for everything they think they need and want.
As I’m of the age where I ride the line between millennials and generation x, I can resonate with that feeling and see it among some of my peers. But I also feel a little bit of looking from the outside in and can hear myself calling out, “This isn’t what it’s all about! There’s more to life! Don’t do it!”
I can sit and listen to a friend complain about all the stuff they have and don’t need in their home and how hard her husband works for it and urge her to just get rid of it. At the same time I’m considering going back to a full-time job myself just to be able to have a little more wiggle room to save up for that next family vacation.
But really, the physical possessions aside, I’m hearing it in the voices and hearts of a generation in their spiritual walk too. We’re concerned that we just can’t get it together to keep a daily quiet time. We’re looking for the one podcast that can answer all of our spiritual questions so we can move on to the next step in our faith. We’re changing churches because the one down the street is just a little more “with it”. We’re striving for things that are missing, looking around for it instantly, and kicking ourselves when we can’t make it happen.
We want an Instant Pot faith when sometimes God is more of a good ol’ slow cooker. We’re convinced that if we lean in and put the pressure on one part of our lives that God will bless and grow us and we can move on to the next thing and we can quietly say “check” as we put a mark in the box (and we’ll put a pretty picture of it on Instagram while we’re at it). I’m saying “we” in this because I’m just as likely to fall into this as well.
But there are some lessons that God wants us to learn over time. The Israelites wandered the desert for 40 years, learning the same lesson and different lessons over and over again. It was a slow process, one that was refined by time. And it’s not about what we do all the time either. We can strive and push, but it’s not about the work of our hands or (a phrase my husband is very fond of using) “pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps.”
Ephesians 2:8-10 says:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The grace we are shown through Jesus is not of our own doing. We didn’t work hard enough to achieve this level. We are merely given a gift that is dropped off on our porch and left for us. But it’s a gift that we were created for (not the other way around) and because of that we have good things that we should walk in. It doesn’t say sit in-we aren’t called to just take this gift and hide it-we are called to walk and spread it around a little.
Similarly Romans 11:6 reminds us, “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” I particularly love this. When we try to force grace with works it is no longer grace. It becomes a different sort of bartering system where blessings are direct currency and we are no longer lavished with gifts from God.
Dear Sister, are you working too hard to gain grace? Are you trying to put pressure on yourself and God to be better than, more than, quicker than, someone else? Rest in His lavish and luxurious grace today; some things are better with time.
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