YOU ARE WHAT YOU ACCOMPLISH
Written by: Jelaine Ropp (Grade 11 Small Group Leader)
Ok 5-second intro of who I am! My name is Jelaine, I lead the most incredible group of grade 11 girls, I am married to a man with the best most bluest eyes on the planet, and we have the sweetest little girl who is two TODAY! (picture) and I had a really big dinner before I got here so… JK I am pregnant with a little baby boy that is due in about 2 & ½ months! I’m really excited and honoured that I get to hang out with you guys tonight and share my heart with you a little bit. You guys up for that?
Who here knows someone that was a Christian, and for whatever reason decided to walk away from being one and changed his or her mind? Raise your hand.
Ok, so here’s the deal. This series we are going through together over the next 6 weeks is so that never happens to any of you guys. I am a little bit older than all of you, and in my life I have seen many people walk away from Jesus, but it almost always happens slowly and because of the influences around them. This whole series is about learning how to notice what those influences are and how they actually impact the way we live and the way we understand who God is.
Who here wants to figure out this whole Jesus thing?
Keep your hand up if you’d say that you want to know Jesus and live your life following him?
AWESOME. So then this series – this is for you. And what we are talking about tonight – this is also for you. But in order for you to leave here feeling like you are growing closer to Jesus and learning how to avoid being influenced by the world around you in negative ways, you need to quiet down, open up your heart, and ask that God would show you what He wants to teach you tonight. Lets do that together yeah?
Play “Who am I?” Video
Tonight our topic is something that it just pointed out in that video. One way the world around us can slowly and secretly influence us is by convincing us of this lie:
“You are what you accomplish” or “You are only valuable if you are good at something”
Now lets be totally honest here for a second, we all like being good at things. It’s way more fun to be good at something than to be bad at it. That’s why we spend hours trying to perfect our slap shot, learn a skateboard trick shot, learn our lines for the school play, get the highest score on whatever our favourite video game is, or even get the best grade in our class or mostly just beat our siblings. Accomplishing things is awesome, and it’s not wrong, BUT I want to help you WAKE UP and recognize the ways in which this seemingly harmless thing can turn very harmful over time.
Remember the lie is “You are what you accomplish” or “You are only valuable if you are good at something”
First of all, what does God say about this lie?
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death”. Intense verse, but basically this verse points out that sometimes the things we think are right or good, like winning things or being the best, can actually lead us away from God.
Here’s another one you guys may have heard.
Matthew 6:19, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” This verse points out that the things we accomplish or spend so much time trying to achieve while here on this earth can so easily be taken away or destroyed! We should be keeping that in mind when we are SO focussed on achieving a goal – what is its true worth or value in the end?
Ok so we know the lie, here is the truth:
You are valuable because God created you with worth, regardless of whether or not you are good at anything.
I believe there are two types of people who need to hear this message tonight. First I want to talk to those of you who don’t feel good at much and therefore don’t feel very valuable as a person.
Some of you are those people and you need to hear this, so listen up:
Even if your brother or sister has way better grades than you – you are just as important.
Even if you can’t play sports like your dad wishes you could – you are just as valuable.
Even if you have days where nothing goes right and you feel like you aren’t good at anything – God loves you more than you could ever imagine. He thinks the world of you and He created you exactly how you were meant to be.
Don’t let the expectations of the people and places around you; make you feel bad about yourself.
Remember: this is the truth:
You are valuable because God created you with worth, regardless of whether or not you are good at anything. And that doesn’t change from day to day, that is an “always and forever no matter how you feel” kind of truth.
The second part to this lie is for those of you that ARE good at something. You’re the best actually! And you’ve worked so hard to be the best and you LOVE being the best. You guys need to hear that this is a lie for you too “You are NOT what you accomplish”
Those of you who identify with this part really need to listen up – because I am about to totally burst your bubble. Just because you are good at something, doesn’t make you a good person. Ouch right? We are totally influenced by the world around us to believe that if we are good at something, if we are winners, if we are better than others, then we are all set for life! That it doesn’t get better than this! That we are worthy because of what we can and have accomplished. NOT TRUE.
Remember the little graph in the intro video? It said, “If I am what I do, I will always need to do more and achieve more to find my value.” Some of you have grown up to truly believe this, and you have worked so hard to be good at that one thing so that you can find your value. Here is the tricky part, it’s easy to get into these “rival rhythms” as Joel put it last week, and not realize that our motivation is yucky. It’s easy to not notice that we aren’t trying to be good at school to use our gifts and honour God, but instead to feel good about ourselves.
Here is the truth: Even if you’re the best and have accomplished great things, you are not worthy because of it. Sometimes those great things you work on accomplishing actually pull you away from God and what He has for your life.
My life was an example of this, and I had to learn the hard way how to WAKE UP to this lie or influence that had crept into my thinking and RETRAIN my heart after Jesus instead of accomplishing my goals on earth. Can I share a bit of that story with you? Jesus completely rocked my world, but first I had to recognize this lie in my life and decide to make a huge change. The grade 11’s have already heard some of this, so I hope you don’t mind me telling it again.
-My involvement in sports
-My lack of involvement in youth/church
-My plan to play ball in university and where I was going to go
-My value and worth tied into my accomplishments
-Missions trip; Jesus WOKE me up to my flaw in finding my identity in my sport
-The challenge of RETRAINING my heart to focus on Jesus and not my accomplishments
-My life change because of that
I want more than anything for each of you to leave here tonight being able to recognize how the lie “You are what you accomplish” and “You are only valuable if you are good at something” has influenced the way you feel about yourself and how you spend your time. At the end of the day, God wants to help you to have the best life possible, one where you feel confident in who you are and work hard to accomplish goals in life, but a life where those goals align with what Jesus has for you! Jesus says Matthew 6:33a “But seek FIRST the kingdom of God…” before anything else! If we do this, He will change our life. If we shift our focus from ourselves, and instead on who Jesus is and what He wants for our life, He will show us things we never would’ve seen and bless our efforts!
I learned in my high school days that God’s plan for me was SO MUCH BETTER than my own plan, which was honestly also pretty great. I mean, did you see that super good looking husband and child that I have at home?! Joking, but seriously I would never have gone to the school where I met Caleb if God hadn’t shown me that my worth came from more than my accomplishments, and my life would look so different. Who knows, my life story could even be one like those people that you guys know who walked away from their faith all together.
So, this series we are going to leave you each week with a challenge to help you RETRAIN your heart towards Jesus, and be less influenced by the lie that you’ve been hearing your whole life. This week my challenge to you is to pick ONE DAY and make it all about Jesus. Live each part of your day, from beginning to end, with God as your #1 focus and priority. Just like the verse we read, seek the kingdom of God FIRST before anything else. Wake up, pray and read your Bible, maybe fast from something and pray throughout the day, and ask God if there is something in your life that has the #1 spot that He wants you to knock down a few notches. I want you to write down what you learn from that day and share with your group next week what “thing” that you try to accomplish has taken the spotlight from Jesus in your life.