Cue the Rocky theme music.

I’m putting my game face on. And you should to. Life is hard and tough and if we want to thrive—not just survive—we need to get even tougher.

Want to find your purpose and destiny? Tired of living a boring, ordinary life?

Well, you don’t have to. There is more to be had, earned and accomplished if you just believe enough, work hard enough and hustle enough. You are in control.

You have the power to achieve your dreams. Just stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop apologizing, stop hesitating, wallowing, questioning, comparing and competing. Just pick up the pace and make it happen.

It’s all on you.

If all of this sounds very rah-rah, it is. And frankly, it’s just not very effective. Inspiring at times, but not effective. This motivational mantra is deceptive and dangerous because it focuses on you, not God. It reinforces our original sin nature to do things on our own.

It screams—YOU DON’T NEED GOD.

From day one, this was the first and biggest lie from our enemy. His tactics and schemes haven’t changed much.

Here’s the truth.

I’m not enough. And neither are you. We will never be enough.

Sure, it feels good to our inner, like-to-be-in-control-of-everything self. It’s empowering. It’s inspiring.

But it’s also exhausting. It will never give us what our soul is ultimately longing for — peace and purpose.

It will leave us chasing the next thing, placing all the pressure on our own intrinsic abilities. This inevitably leads to fear and worry because the results rest on our own capacity, ability and unpredictable, uncontrollable circumstances.

Deep down, we know our limitations. We know our weaknesses and vulnerabilities. We feel it everyday. We mess up, we say and do the things we know we shouldn’t. We fail to meet the expectations we put on ourselves. And so our soul often feels aimlessly defeated, overwhelmed, stressed and depressed.

When we start from a position of self-sufficiency and self-empowerment, we will never find rest. It’s a trap. It’s a treadmill set on steep hills with heavy resistance. And it won’t stop. We will constantly be fighting to maintain and improve our situations in our own strength.

However, when we start from a place of dependence, understanding our weakness and inability, realizing our needs, our brokenness and our challenges, then we will naturally refocus — away from ourselves and toward the Lord.

When we operate this way, we won’t lose. We can’t lose. We will always gain. We will gain restful strength, peaceful power and enduring sufficiency. Freedom comes with release, not control. Regardless of the outcome, our greatest good will always come when God gets the glory.

So what does God say about all of this?

This passage may be familiar, but I challenge you to read it slowly and absorb these powerful and counter-cultural words afresh…

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

Sisters, we gain Christ’s power when we not only admit, but BOAST in our weakness. Now consider these words of Jesus,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-3”

Simply stated, Jesus says to yoke to him. Lean on his strength. We move forward in His power. We will only find ultimate rest for our soul when we live dependent on Him. We don’t need to merely let go and let God, we need to let go and let God have control as we move forward in obedience, dependence and a strength that is not our own.

Yes, we are called to be brave. We are told to be strong and courageous. To be bold. To have zeal. And I love these words. They are strong words. They arise from a place of unending resource, ultimate victory and holy perfection. And when we do this in and through Christ, we go from strength to strength.

Now cue the Rocky music.

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