“You Just Need Jesus”

Her words confounded me. They came at a time when, though I was a “good Christian girl,” I found my heart paralyzed.

My freshman year of college brought anxiety like I had never known. Anxious thoughts crippled me. I lived for a semester and a half in a prison of dread—dread that I might out-sin the grace of God. I did my saintly best to overcome the attacks and lies that filled my heart and mind. Quiet times? You better believe it. Several a day, in fact. Prayer? Scripture reading? All the time. (And, of course, I made it a point to journal about the passages I read.) If only these efforts had been enough. The anxiety and shame left me defeated and my striving only sapped what little remained of my strength.

It was in this broken place that Liz, a kind and gentle lady on staff with Cru, found me. Sitting across from me on a beautiful day in Vail, Colorado, Liz patiently listened to the overflow of my heart. She saw right through the efforts that I thought made me spiritually impressive. This wise and loving woman realized that my abundant, obsessive quiet times revealed, most of all, a heart that failed to grasp the Gospel. My behavior evidenced that I placed my hope of rescue not in the blood of Jesus, but in my own efforts to make myself righteous.

On that beautiful day in Vail, Liz said it: “You just need Jesus.” I just need Jesus? How could I, a long-time Christian who knew plenty of Scripture and had more quiet times than anyone I knew, need Jesus? Didn’t I have Jesus? Wasn’t I doing everything possible to make Jesus pleased with me?

Ah. That was the problem. I thought my frantic religiosity could earn the approval of a holy God and at the same time break the chains of anxiety from my heart. Liz’s four little words pointed me back. Seven years later, when I reflect on the redemption story that Jesus is writing in my life, I always return to those four words. “You just need Jesus.”

Authority, Decisions and Submission

Every time our superiors at work make a decision, we support it 100%, right?

Right. I consider myself a loyal employee, but I recently found myself struggling to support a decision made “at the top.” This decision directly impacted me and resulted in a very difficult week as I bore the brunt of angry fallout from person after person who outright hated the change, change that I did not make and did not even agree with. Had I been given a voice in the process, I could have offered practical input based on years of frontline experience.

One of the higher-ups did seek my feedback, after-the-fact, so I took the opportunity to articulate my concerns. However, neither he nor I actually made the decisions, and even after sharing my feedback, the situation remained unchanged. I felt angry over what I considered a bad decision and for having to taking the hit for it.

In the midst of this frustration, I felt Jesus gently convict me to honor and respect my superior’s decision, even though, in my mind, I had “the right” on my side. I was reminded that regardless, Jesus Himself establishes authority and has placed me under that authority. By submitting to those in leadership over me, I actually submit myself to Jesus. With this stirring in my heart, a Christian man at work asked me how I was feeling about the situation. After I told him, he echoed what the Holy Spirit had spoken: as an employee, God calls me to submit to those above me. “Your job is actually quite easy,” he said. “You just support their decisions and enforce the directives they give you.”

While this principle has some exceptions (for example, if leaders ask subordinates to do something illegal or immoral), I realized I had taken on far more of a burden than Jesus intended for me to carry. After sharing my observations and suggestions with management, I have the simple job of obedience, obedience to those above me and ultimately to Jesus. With that hierarchy in mind, my job becomes much easier.

Resources

What kind of character is God looking for in the workplace? Check out this 1 page Bible study.