We Weren’t Created To Be Complete - Paula Murray
Updated: May 12
Paula captures the importance of community. In this article, she highlights how important it is to walk in line with God and suggests that it is more like running a three-legged race than running alongside Him. Bottom line: We were not created to be self-sufficient.
I like to think of myself as being self-sufficient, if I want something done I’ll just get on and do it, I don’t need to rely on others. Life was hard growing up and there wasn’t anyone to fall back on.
I learnt to take care of myself. We all have a story. But self-sufficiency puts up walls, it limits the inclusion and need of others, and more often than not God. The closer I walk with God the more I realise that being self-sufficient isn’t what God intended for us.
God designed us for community, to need each other, to rely on each other, and ultimately to need Him and be in a free relationship with Him. We see the beauty of that painted so vividly throughout the bible. The beauty of the relationship of God in 3 persons with such distinct roles that flow together, the outpouring of His love through generations time after time for such undeserving people like me.
The relentless pursuit of God is for no other reason except He loves us and wants a relationship with us, and then there’s the church being referred to as parts of the body – we simply weren’t designed to do life on our own.
Genesis sets the scene of how God intended things to be, a beautiful picture of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day to be with Adam & Eve. "'Where are you?' He called." (Genesis 3:8-9).
I often wonder if Adam and Eve were perfect before they ate the fruit or if they were just unaware of their inadequacies before God and simply at ease in their relationship with Him. They were “naked and unashamed” (Genesis 2:25), which is something for us to strive for – to feel bare in God’s presence, at ease, completely unashamed despite our sin and imperfection, knowing that Jesus has made it all possible.
Our shame becomes a barrier to God, but He wants us to be confident of how He views us. “So let’s do it – full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going.” Hebrews 10:22-23 (MSG). This is the scene God has set for us, the relationship he longs to have with us.
So back to being self-sufficient. I won’t lie, God gave me characteristics that I battle with. I am incredibly shy, I struggle in social situations and I long to break free of the mould I’ve been given.
I see outgoing people who express themselves so well; genuine, kind, caring people, for whom connecting with others just comes naturally. For me it’s such hard work. So there-in lay my question – “God, how am I supposed to make a difference for you when I struggle to share you in the way I long to? Why would people even see the need for you through me?” Which is when God impressed on me that we’re not made to do things alone. He’s not made us to be enough within our own selves.
The closer I walk with God the more I realise that being self-sufficient isn’t what God intended for us.
We were never supposed to do things in our own strength. In fact the bible refers to our righteous acts as being like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Not that there’s anything wrong with doing good things, rather it’s the act of trying to do these things on our own, independent of God, on our own merit.
It’s simply not enough in his sight. He wants us to rely on Him, he wants to do life with us, to complete us. And so although my inadequacies frustrate me, God will become enough in these situations when I include Him in it. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
A few weeks ago Grant spoke on a verse and I love the essence of it: “through us he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognised by those on the way of salvation, an aroma redolent with life.” (2 Corinthians 2:15; MSG)
As we use our talents and gifts as an offering to him, and let him step in to our weaknesses we will enable God to work into each situation. And by having this intimacy with God in our journey with Him, we will start to see the world change around us as people smell His fragrance and breathe in the aroma of Him.
I’ve always pictured God on the sidelines of the race I’m running, observing, cheering me on. I realise now though that He’s running the race with me, by my side – much like a 3-legged race, which can be pretty clumsy to start with, but once you start to get the rhythm and timing right it’s a beautiful display of working together.
I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.” (John 15:5-8; MSG)
Where are you God called? How often does God come looking for us, just wanting to be with us. Let us be present, at ease in our relationship with Him, living life with Him and others, longing to let Him and each other complete us as He intended.
Paula works as an Undergraduate Programme Manager at AUT. She was born in NZ but grew up in the UK where she met her husband Andy at the church youth group. They emigrated from the UK 23 years ago and have two amazing teenagers which led them to getting involved in Tribe & then becoming parent leaders for Fusion 4 years ago. Paula loves reflecting on the journey that God has been leading her on and seeing how His power has worked through her weaknesses. // Photo credit: Chris Grobler
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