I came to recognise that good wasn’t good enough from the place I had created for myself.
This place is one that I believe is quite common, whether it’s consciously recognised or not. This place that I refer to, from the outside looking in, would appear quite similar to the place I’m in right now: I attend church every Sunday, I am surrounded by beautiful people that actively live out their faith, prayer is something I lean on and I am always striving to improve in all areas of my life. So what’s wrong with this picture?
We were never created to define what is best for us and to control every aspect of our lives. Not so long ago, I was most definitely a person who needed to “have it all together”. I constantly took charge to get what I wanted (or at least what I thought I wanted), and I believed I could do this all by myself.
What I created was arguably a modern-day success. I had a good relationship, good career, I was disciplined with a daily routine, with what I ate and with exercise, I went to church every Sunday, I had my own place and lived independently. It seemed like I had it all together. But what was missing?
An ache of discontent never went away. I had everything I needed (everything I thought I needed), yet I wasn’t satisfied. No matter how hard I strived to tick another box – the ones that society tells us we need to tick in order to feel content and fulfilled – that was never enough. I found myself in an endless cycle, confused and frustrated, wondering why on earth I didn’t feel happiness or satisfaction. There was always something else I needed.
Naturally I questioned myself constantly, trying to solve my own endless problem, when eventually it was revealed to me. That is the entire problem. I was holding on so tight that I actually needed to let go.
What has letting go of control got to do with “goodness”? Well, in controlling every aspect of my life, I was distorting my perspective of what goodness truly looked like, and most importantly what that felt like. Without even realising it, I had such a tight grip of this falsely constructed reality and expectation of what everything should look like, how everything should play out, that I had no room in my heart to allow God to work in my life. Zilch.
Here I was, attending church every Sunday and praying regularly over my anxieties and confusion, whilst holding on for dear life to my own reality and my own plans. The same ones that weren’t giving me joy or fulfilment.
I had a moment one Sunday – a standout “loud and clear” kind of moment, where I asked myself “What is God trying to do in my life? Where does that fit into where I am?” Amusing right? Here I was, trying to fit God into my plans… not quite the way it goes.
Being honest, it was challenging territory to start thinking about, and I didn’t like it. Because it was incredibly evident, right from those first thoughts, that if I was to create room for anything to change, for God to move, to be truly present, I had to let go.
And there was a second part to this newly dawning reality. Letting go didn’t mean handing over one thing, or even two or three. I knew deep in my heart, which is exactly why it was challenging right from the get go, that it meant complete surrender. Raw, difficult, life changing surrender.
This didn’t happen in one single moment. It was gradual and it took time to accept and process. It also required me to identify exactly what wasn’t good enough. To stop and listen to what God placed on my heart; identifying that the desires I had for “more” were there for a reason. Everything that wasn’t good enough, I had to let go of.
So what did the change actually look like? All I knew is that what I was holding onto, the worldly defined “good”, wasn’t giving me what I desired. So, slowly, I began to make changes.
By far the most challenging one, was letting go of a long term relationship. I faced blatant comments along the lines of “But he’s such a good guy, why would you give that up?” But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to share my life with someone who didn’t share my faith and understand the greatest part of who I was.
When your relationship isn’t based off the same values or priorities, how “good” the other person is actually isn’t relevant. By even attempting to convince yourself otherwise, you avoid the truth and settle. I knew for a fact that I needed someone who not only shared my faith, but lead me and eventually my future family.
Believe me, I tried to convince myself that this wasn’t actually a priority, that we could believe differently and it would work itself out. I even convinced myself at one point, that I was being selfish and demanding to want to share the same faith. Wrong. If I had done that, if I settled for that lack, I wouldn’t have allowed all that God desired for my life. I would have permanently felt discontent.
That choice was the biggest (and most difficult) one I personally had to make alongside many others, in order to surrender and to prioritise what was truly good. I honestly did question myself during many moments as to why I was doing what I was doing. But through the questioning, a deep-seated peace never left me, and I knew I was doing the right thing.
I’m here to testify that God moved, and it’s now so clear that I was most definitely holding on too tightly to things that were never meant for me. I wasn’t allowing God to fulfil his promises in my life. Over the months where I surrendered my stubborn heart to God, my entire perspective changed – the more I gave up, the more I turned to him in any muddy moment, the more I let possibility in. When I let go of what I desired and thought was “good”, this was when I experienced the most peace, the greatest sense of freedom and my anxieties started to disappear.
The more I let go, the more greater good poured into me.
There is honour in day-to-day work. There is honour in appreciating the small, every day moments and being content with all we have been given. But our own reality of what we think is goodness can be disguised and not all that wholesome. And it can prevent God’s good for our lives.
It can feel counter-intuitive initially, but in trusting, in surrendering control and our own desires, we will come to know more. We will never be left without, and we will always be immersed in soul-drenching goodness. The kind that is satisfying, that frees us from torment and anxiety, and grants joy and peace. We are not promised a life without troubles, but we are promised that we will never be alone, and that we are truly loved. God’s plan for our lives is the only plan that will truly fulfil, and his goodness will always be enough.
Please let this be a reminder that you deserve more than “good”. You deserve overwhelming love, heartfelt joy and a deep sense of peace. You were not designed to settle for the worldly standards most adhere to. Look up, keep looking up, and know that there is a perfect plan for you – greater than you can imagine. But you have to choose it.