Self-Improvement Didn't Save Me. Jesus Did

Hi guys! This post today is going to be a kind of storytime/personal post mixed with social commentary if you couldn't tell from the title.

At the beginning of 2020 (if any of us can remember that idyllic time), I broke up with a guy. It had been a difficult relationship and definitely not in God's will for me to date him. After we ended things, I threw myself into self-improvement.

During my relationship with him, I had neglected myself, my relationship with God, my sleep, my health, my family, and much more. So, what did I do?

Well, the devil led me from a toxic relationship into another toxic relationship: a toxic relationship with self-improvement.

If you've been on the internet, in shopping centres, or just lived in the Western world at all these past few years, you'll have noticed a huge surge in self-improvement, self-help, wellness, and self-care products. Everyone tries to convince you that if you just take up yoga, buy that face roller, or wake up at six am, you will become a better person, or your life will be revolutionized, or you'll become totally better at everything.

Books such as Girl, Wash Your Face (self-improvement masquerading as a Christian book) and Untamed, have seen a rise in popularity at the intersection of Christianity and self-help, especially for women struggling with self-esteem, productivity, and wellness.

While well-intended, these books lead women away from the one who can save them, JESUS CHRIST, and lead them toward self-acceptance and self-empowerment as a false saviour.

I would know. I almost fell prey to these lies.

During my self-improvement "journey" of 2020 to mid-2021, approximately, I tried everything.

Well, maybe not everything, but I think you know what I mean. I meditated, I woke up early, I exercised every day, I ate healthily, I lost five pounds, and basically, I did all the "that girl" things. I set goals, I did my best to accomplish them, and I pushed myself and my life to its most ambitious limits.

I still do a lot of those things, and there's nothing wrong with any of these practices in themselves.

However, I was doing all those things, and I was still miserable. I was still bitter, angry, resentful, hurt, and broken inside. I was so confused and lost.

If I had done all the self-improvement things; if I had bought the gua sha, started stretching every night, and read 12 Rules for Life, why was I still miserable? Why was I still sad?

Because those things couldn't save me. They couldn't fix me. They couldn't fill up the hole in my heart from my breakup that told me there was something wrong with me, that I was unlovable and unable to be in a healthy relationship. No matter what "healthy" things I did to improve myself, I wasn't letting Jesus change me. I believed that self-empowerment, instead of self-denial, would be the key to my happiness.

I was relying on myself... to save myself from the problems I had caused and the pain I had inflicted on myself. I was telling myself that if I just tried a little harder, pushed myself further, and did a little more, then I could be perfect. I could lead a perfect life, be the perfect woman, and it wouldn't matter whether my ex or anyone else cared about me.

However, I was lying to myself. I could not and still cannot, and never will be able to save myself. I will never be perfect on my own. God calls us to be holy as He is holy, and He calls us to do so based on His power and grace, not our own strength. God calls us to do so many difficult and great things, but we do them not in our power but Christ's.

Is it wrong to set goals? Is it wrong to have healthy habits? No, not at all! But we need to ask ourselves why and how we have those goals and habits. Are we setting goals so that the world will love and recognize and accept us? Are we setting goals so that we can be admired by the world?

Or are we setting goals that align with our purp

ose, to glorify God? Are we developing healthy habits because we're the temple of God, not because we want to look good or show off to others on the internet?

At the end of the day, you cannot save yourself. You can't fix yourself. You can't create yourself.

God is in charge of you, He is sanctifying and changing you, and isn't that so much better than doing it all yourself?


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