the writings of Sue Berger

Review: "Tired of Trying to Measure Up"

Tired of Trying to Measure Up
by Jeff VanVonderen
© 1989 Bethany House Publishers

Admit it, if trying hard were the key to a victorious Christian life, we’d all probably be in the Hall of Fame by now. We’re emotionally & psychologically drained and many of us are spiritually tired as well. The last thing we need is another book, seminar or sermon giving us something more to do. What we need is rest! Jesus’ response to tired people is rest (Matt. 11:28).

Part I of the book discusses our being wounded by shame & it’s ramifications. Unwritten expectations & rules give us a sense that we are not acceptable as we are. We believe that we are deficient, defective or worthless. Not only does this deep-seated belief alienate us from others, but worse, it can keep us distanced from God.

The author offers a checklist just in case we think we don’t suffer from shame. Indicators include using negative “self-talk”, not allowing ourselves to make (or admit to) mistakes, being overly responsible, martyring our own needs or acting like a victim, not trusting our “radar” or gut feelings, suffering from stress-related illnesses, an inability to have guilt-free fun, inconsistent actions (flip-flopping between perfectionism & couldn’t care less), difficultly in receiving gifts, procrastination, having a high need for control, etc. See yourself there? Congratulations! You’re normal. Wounded, but normal!

Part II is about being healed by grace. For those of us who have difficulty in accepting gifts, grace can be a struggle. But the author teaches us to fight a different kind of battle than the one we’ve been trying to win through our own self-effort. Instead of being caught in the never-ending “try-hard then give-up” cycle, he introduces us to God’s “rest cycle” where there is no performance on our part. That’s Good News!

We’re invited to renew our minds & thinking concerning God. A God who is kind, loving & involved with people. That He likes us, wants us & handpicked us. He doesn’t wait until we clean up our act or ask for references. He’s not just putting up with us & we aren’t bothering Him with our problems. His response to those in pain is comfort, not shame! Jesus’ compassion toward people in pain always resulted in acting on their behalf – feeding them, healing them, comforting them, meeting whatever need they had. Our identity as children of God is a settled issue.

This book is wonderfully encouraging. It shows afresh that God has already done everything necessary for us to be in close relationship with Him. The problem is we have lost sight of who we are & what is true about us from God’s perspective & what was done for us on the Cross. The battle’s frontline is in our minds. We all put our confidence in something as our source of life, value & acceptance. Give it up! Get off the works-righteousness treadmill & rest in Christ.

– Sue Berger

Note: Permission is granted to share my material as long as my by-line, email address & copyright date remain attached.

© 2006 One Pilgrim's Musings

About Sue

From a "normal" childhood with a working dad & stay-at-home mom, to a Bible-college and borderline-cult church; now in the midst of an almost-40-year marriage to my college sweetheart and currently a massage therapist, life is interesting! Through it all, God has been patient, faithful & gracious. I'm pleased to share my life's observations with you. Enjoy!