When I question if I’m giving my best, I usually think about the tasks I am currently working toward accomplishing. Work. Writing. Housecleaning. Volunteer activities. I also think about my physical self, such as my efforts with sports and exercising. All worthwhile activities.
Another important way to consider if I’m giving my best is concerning eternity.
I care a lot, probably too much, about what others think and am motivated by appearing to be doing my best. People are easily fooled, though, and simply performing above average can sometimes give the illusion of best.
God knows the difference, and He knows that I don’t always give my best even if others think I am. What’s more, He knows that even when I am giving my best, I often fail to do so for the right reasons, for His glory rather than mine.
What prevents me from always giving my best? When I do feel like I’m giving my best, why do I feel the need to seek the recognition and approval of other people?
As I attempted to evaluate myself in a way that will move me toward my absolute best for God, I asked myself the following questions:
- Does the goal sometimes hinder me from doing my best? In other words, am I focusing too much on the future at the expense of the present? Can I take my mind off my vision, at least partially, to focus on what I’m doing in the moment? Am I out of balance and need to redirect myself by Focusing on the Now?
- Are my goals temporal or eternal? Do I focus myself more on that which will one day “pass away”? (John 1:17) Or, do my goals reflect my belief in eternity? (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
- Do I need to see to believe, or am I willing to believe without seeing? Do I need to be quiet and silent for a while like Zacharias to overcome my doubt? (Luke 1:5-25) Do I have simple faith in God to be faithful as He has always proven Himself to be? Am I willing to have the faith of a mustard seed knowing He gives me the faith I need to accomplish His will? In other words, am I willing to walk by faith and not by sight? (2 Corinthians 5:1-9)
- Am I willing to accept that I need to wrestle with doubt to have faith? Am I willing to think and question and wrestle and struggle to see that He really is true and faithful? Am I willing to have faith even when I can barely keep up and feel like I might drown?
- Can I accept that trials are opportunity for growth rather than simply obstacles to my happiness and comfort? Am I willing to allow God to help me, knowing that He allows trials (i.e., tests) to build my faith? (James 1:2-4)
Faith plays a vital role in my doing my best. When I let God control my faith, it blossoms and strengthens. When my faith comes from my life circumstances, whether I face trials as well as if my focus lies in the temporal or the eternal, I am allowing my faith to be directed by forces other than the author and perfecter of my faith. (Hebrews 12:2) When my faith is misdirected, so are my efforts, and both eventually fail me.
When I allow my focus to be on anything except God, my growth becomes stagnant, and my attitude begins to stink. When this happens, I am unable to do my best. Either that, or my best becomes focused on that which does not go on into eternity.