With a title like that, you may be thinking, “WHAAAAT?!!! I thought we were supposed to be trying to not be dysfunctional!” Well, that is essentially true, but I have found that in trying NOT to be dysfunctional, we can create more dysfunction! Let me explain.
How many of us in trying not to be dysfunctional have fallen into perfectionism and/or lost our joy because we are trying hard not to make mistakes? We expect too much of ourselves and others. We get incredibly upset or stressed when we make a mistake. We have lost our sense of humor about ourselves and our circumstances. We become workaholics in our jobs or our homes and rarely take time to quiet our hurriedness and re-create or rest and feel guilty when we do. We live with a relentless sense of guilt when we don’t accomplish the multitude of tasks on our to-do lists. Or when we are checking things off our list, we have a sense of guilt that we aren’t giving our loved ones the time we know is important for their emotional, relational, and spiritual health. We then live believing everyone else is as disappointed in us as we are and believe they wouldn’t really want to be with us anyway. Really? Is this the abundant, full and complete life Jesus promised?
God introduced a concept to my husband and I a few years ago that has been life-changing – FUN! (Finding Upgrades Now!) When life got stressful or the unexpected happened, I would sarcastically say, “Well, this is fun.” Now, even when I say it sarcastically, the statement now reminds me, “Oh, yeah! What is the upgrade God has for me in this? I can choose to be annoyed and defeated in this OR I can Find my Upgrades Now!
So let’s use this FUN concept with the perfectionism I just described:
Danny Silk talks about the “New Old Covenant”. This is the Old Covenant and the New Covenant morphed into one belief system. Old Covenant is about following rules to reach perfection and receiving punishment for wrongdoing (which God showed us was only a short-term solution. He wanted us to see Law has benefit, but Relationship is even better. We were created by a God who is Love so our spirits take notice of things where Love is the ultimate motivator). He then gave us the New Covenant which essentially says Jesus through His death on the Cross purchased the necessary perfection for us through being punished on our behalf. Our only “work”, in this case, is to choose Him and invite Him into our lives. Through this choice, we are now “in Him” who is perfect. When God looks at those “in Jesus”, He loves them AS MUCH AS His very own Son (John 17:23) and counts us perfect in Him! So now, our choices are purely about what is beneficial to us and His Kingdom. Mistakes are no longer about what keeps us separated from Him. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 4:38-39) However, a lot of believers still feel like every mistake separates them from God and they need to “get right with Him” again. That is the “New Old Covenant”. We do need to repent (acknowledge mistakes and renew our minds to how God thinks about the matter) for our own benefit and that of others (including God), but it no longer separates us or in anyway makes us a problem in the eyes of our Father. Everything is permissible, but not all things are beneficial. (1 Cor. 6:12) He now wants us to be aware and desirous of His best plan for our lives, but the striving is over! It is time to enter a joyful process of refinement simply because it is the amazing result of walking in intimate relationship with the Father who loves us so much! He is not in a hurry for perfection to manifest in our day-to-day lives because as far as He’s concerned, we have already achieved it through His Son! He now wants us to understand the struggles we face as catalysts to our conversations with Him and then He is able to give us what we need through Jesus to address the struggle! He wants us to view problems as portals to His promises, provision and Presence. Problems keep us connected to the Life-giver if we choose His upgrades and operate accordingly.
My next several blogs will be about how much FUN we can have in other specific situations. In the meanwhile, receive the truth that you have no more striving to do aside from striving to keep your eyes fixed on Him, the author and perfecter of your faith. (Heb. 12:2) HE is the perfection in you – don’t strive to be perfect when He has already made that possible. He will help you as you turn to Him to Find Upgrades Now in every situation!