I am living in a world where I feel I have to have it all together, all the time. When I only see the best from everyone on social media, it can make me feel extremely inadequate at times and wonder if I am enough. From making sure my kids become followers of Christ, succeeding academically, performing their best at their extra curriculars, and connecting socially with peers to spending our finances wisely, making healthy meals, keeping up with my own mental health, body and spirit, as well as being a supportive and encouraging wife. Then there is providing volunteer opportunities, life experiences, and vacations for my family so we can “make unforgettable memories.” It is overwhelming and exhausting! As we walk through the uncharted territory of 2020 the normal thing to do is look around and see how others are responding. Do I send my kids to school or keep them home, wear a mask or not, discuss my political views aloud or keep them to myself? Jennie Allen’s book, Nothing To Prove, was a perfect reminder that Jesus is enough and He does not participate in the rat race! I desire to have God first in my life every day. Over and over, Jennie Allen shows that when we think our world is falling apart, when we feel worthless, when we think there is no hope - GOD IS ENOUGH!
She caught my attention on the very first page with the sentence, “...wondering if any of the ways I am spending my life even matter.” Her life had turned into a “performance” and I wonder if at times the same has happened to all of us in our culture today? She talks about being deceived by the lies of an enemy, making us numb and distracting us from God’s story, attacking our identity, making us feel we have to prove ourselves, and intoxicating us with the mission of God, rather than God himself, worshiping a cause instead of Jesus. I’m reminded in Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jennie states, “God is not after great performances or great movements. He is after us! God already knows we are not enough, but He’s not asking us to be. We are the ones who have chosen to walk through the desert with enormous packs strapped to our backs full of everything but water. As if the kingdom of God were held up or together by us.” This book isn’t telling us we can be complacent and lazy, but instead that we don’t have to impress God by our performance. He already loves us. She tells us “What he wants from us will take courage. We have to admit we are not enough.” In Mark 2:13-17 Jesus called Levi, a tax collector, to eat with him and when confronted by the scribes of the Pharisees, Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
In the 4th chapter Jennie talks about having a near death experience on a small sailboat and she couldn’t save herself, it took someone else saving her. She says, “Life is pulling us faster and faster, and we keep trying to come up for air. We are being dragged along by life, and add to that the enormous backpacks strapped to our backs… We cannot do this ourselves. We have to be saved.”
With all I have to be thankful for, then why do I feel so unsatisfied? Jennie answers this question with, “often we go to Jesus for salvation but daily miss that Jesus is offering us the extravagant rich blessing of presence with Him. Joy is defined as ‘the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying.’ By contrast the definition of entertainment is an ‘agreeable occupation for the mind; diversion; amusement.’” Cue Netflix, list-making, organizing, Instagram, and Amazon prime for me! If I believe that Jesus is the most important thing in my life, are my actions reflecting this belief? Jennie reminds me, “Time with Jesus actually helps our wild souls be still and remember the incredible story we are part of. Time with Jesus causes us to feel secure in our identities. By listening to His voice, we recognize the lies that promise fulfillment elsewhere.”
Nothing To Prove was an excellent read and I highly recommend. Each chapter ends with questions to help you reflect and process what she talked about and how it relates to your own life and struggles. My biggest take aways were the convicting reminder that earth is not my home, and I need to stop trying to make it be my heaven, as well as spending time daily with God can calm my spirit. His purpose for me is perfectly portioned for today. Before I set out to work for Him, He asks me to personally receive Him each day.
To purchase Nothing To Prove by Jennie Allen click here.