Finding Rest in a Crazy World
Do you ever feel like you need to prove yourself?
I, like many creative people—and human beings in general, it’s worth noting—struggle with feeling like I need to prove myself somehow. Whether through trying to make amazing art, or seeking to get people’s attention, or comparing myself to successful artists who have “made it”, I often find myself falling into an unhealthy mindset—the mindset of finding your worth in what you do.
I mean, it’s usually one of the first questions people ask you at a party: “So, what do you do?” We live in a society constantly telling us to discover our true selves, to live our dreams, to be the change we want to see in the world. Our culture prizes “the winners”—the entertainers, politicians, athletes, models, and Silicon Valley visionaries who fill our minds and news feeds. Think of the standard arc of many a Hollywood biopic or best-selling memoir: someone starts off poor and unknown, taps into their innate talent or ability, and beats the odds to find fame and fortune. Sometimes, they may fall into drug addiction or bankruptcy, but then they dig deep down within themselves and manage to lift themselves up by their bootstraps once more, garnering acclaim and applause from the watching world.
That’s who we see as winners. But that’s not most of us, is it? Most of us know different stories altogether—
stories of jobs we don’t love,
of being stuck in traffic,
of financial struggles,
of a battle with a long-term illness,
a broken heart or a draining relationship,
of laying up awake at night worrying about the future,
of marriages which require consistent hard work and sacrifice,
of friends who don’t support you like you hoped they would,
of careers which end up feeling unfulfilling,
of musical instruments that go untouched,
and dreams that go unrealized.
Whether a staff lay-off, a cancer diagnosis, or a break-up; whether a promotion that never comes, or a car that breaks down unexpectedly—sooner or later, we all experience things that remind us that we are assuredly not in control. We are reminded that if we are only defined by what we do, then, well, we’re all in trouble.
I am so glad that in the midst of a world that continually tells me to pull it together, to conquer the odds, to lift myself up by my own ingenuity and talent, Jesus says something different. He doesn’t tell me to be my own hero, he doesn’t tell me I need to just double down and work harder, he doesn’t tell me I need to prove myself in order to find rest.
What a relief it is to remember his sweet words:
Whew. Sometimes I forget how powerful those words are, but when the full force of them hits me, it’s like a great weight being lifted. It’s like coming home.
Born and raised in Southern California, Pip Craighead has been a lifelong student of film and literature. He's continually fascinated by the power of art and story as ways to experience the wonder of God and his creation—and this fascination is evident in Pip’s new children's book, Little Francis Falls Asleep.