Do you see things about yourself that you know need to change—and then desperately try to change them? I did that for many years, and they were some of the most complicated and frustrating years of my life. Through God’s grace, I finally saw that it was a waste of time for me to try to fix areas in my life only God could do something about.
Paul wrote that God has begun a good work in us and He will complete it and bring it to its finish (see Phil. 1:6). I try to remember that God did not invite me into the game, throw me the ball, and tell me to make the touchdown by myself. We receive everything we need the same way we received Jesus: by believing. The only thing we receive by struggle and effort is frustration.
I remember putting a sign on my refrigerator that said, “Frustration = works of the flesh.” God has graciously taught me that each time I feel frustrated, it is because I am taking over and trying to do something without His help. It is what His Word calls “works of the flesh”—something He hates. We honor God when we depend on Him in all things.
In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul wrote: “But by the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not [found to be] for nothing (fruitless and without effect). In fact, I worked harder than all of them [the apostles], though it was not really I, but the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:10, The Amplified Bible).
When God shows us our flaws, all He wants us to do is agree with Him that we need to improve—and then repent.
I recommend that you tell Him you cannot change unless He helps you and thank Him daily for doing so. You may not see immediate change or results, but faith and trust in God really work! A person who lives by faith begins by believing what they do not see or feel, and they get results as they continue believing and patiently waiting.
Nobody is perfect. But you can actually simplify your life by taking some of the pressure off yourself to do everything perfectly. Simply trust God to help you be your best, and extend mercy to yourself when needed. Just as we are to be kind, long-suffering and ready to forgive others, we sometimes need to be merciful to ourselves.
Babies learn to walk by taking one step at a time, and while they are learning, they frequently fall down. This process takes place over and over again until they finally learn to walk. But if they got discouraged and quit when they fell down, they would never learn to walk.
We must remember that everyone goes through the same type of falling down and getting up. We are not alone in this. Some of the things we experience are often designed to show our real character and our level of faith. Will we give up, or will we get up and try again? The Bible says the righteous man falls seven times and rises again.
None of us will manifest perfection while we are in fleshly bodies. When God gives us instructions, He often shows us only one step at a time. It’s natural to want to see the entire blueprint, but that isn’t how God works. When we successfully take one step, then we are given another and another until we finally reach our destinations.
I urge you to avoid discouragement. It’s complicated because it comes with a load of other negative emotions. Trust, on the other hand, is very simple. We do what we can do and depend on God to do what we cannot. If we say we trust God, we must trust Him all along the way.
Give yourself a break. Life will get easier if we live with an attitude that says: “I will do my best today and trust God to do the rest. Tomorrow I will begin again. I will never quit or give up!”
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 70 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, 100 Ways to Simplify Your Life (all FaithWords). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce Meyer, click here.