Earlier today, I had a stray thought about wanting to find some God-focused ways of working on myself and I was typing this phrase into the search engine online, “Self improvement with a focus on God”.
And as soon as I typed it, I had such a “DUH!” moment.
Self-improvement – the act of improving oneself requiring intense focus on one or more aspects of the self; improving yourself without outside help. (my own definition)
….with a focus on God – wait, what? How?
Now, I’m great at multitasking. In fact, I do it everyday at work. What I have found is that in order to multitask, a person is required to “split” their focus between many tasks at once in order to see progress on all tasks. This can be accomplished relatively easy when you are talking about little mundane tasks that really don’t require a lot of critical thinking or skill to accomplish. However, if you were performing brain surgery, you obviously wouldn’t want your surgeon multitasking while operating on your brain!
As a Christian, I believe that God, the Great Creator, the One who created Heaven and Earth and me, is the One who is able to effect change in me. And that without Him, I am unable to change myself.
That being said…I fell into the world.
That stupid phrase, “Self improvement with a focus on God” undermines the truth that it is through God that I can do all things. It’s HIS strength that I call on for inner change and not my own. There is NO room for “self”.
I fell into the world.
If you search out phrases like “self-help for Christians” or “Self improvement with a focus on God” there will be many webpages addressing this issue. Some I agree with, others…not so much…and others I wish I had never looked at in the first place.
The bottom line is this…as a Christian…there is no such thing as “Self-improvement”. Self-improvement means I am intensely focused on myself, I am selfish and can boast and be prideful and arrogant and vain. I don’t want that! I don’t want that temptation. How does that glorify God?
If I am found to be improved, I want it to be because God loved me enough to take the time to change me, according to His will! So I can Praise HIM! I want the glory to go to Him.
The improvements I have seen and am seeing in myself (quitting smoking, losing weight, becoming more confident, being able to trust others, and many more) these are things that I have tried and failed at before on my own. It wasn’t until God said it was time to change that change happened or began to happen. It wasn’t until God made things “easy” for me that I could stick with it and see change. Praise God!
That’s like saying I created myself or gave birth to myself…impossible. The phrase “self-made man/woman” is the worst kind of joke meant to lead us astray and into the world. No one ever is truly “self-made”. Those who identify as such were given their position and power by God and that can be recognized generally by a long string of, what some call “coincidences” or “being in the right place at the right time”. As it was given, so it too it can be taken away just as quickly. Those who boast may someday have nothing to boast about. At least that is the hope so that they have another chance to open their eyes and praise God before it’s too late.
Be careful about “Self-help” books claiming to be Christian based. You don’t want to fall into the world by mistake!