It’s sheer irony that I’m writing this at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon.
This post has been gradually constructing itself in my head for a few months now, through the ups and downs of assignments and writing projects and stress and joy and all the lovely and not-so-lovely things that my life’s made up of.
Every day, around four o’clock in the afternoon, I get this feeling I can’t quite explain. It’s something of dread, of feeling as though I’ve wasted the day, this overwhelming sense of not-enough-ness.
And Fridays, you know, “Thank God it’s Friday?” Those days send me into a panicked frenzy…because there’s something that’s taken me a few YEARS to fully understand, but it’s been here for a while:
It’s the feeling that the weekend’s finally here, but I haven’t done enough.
That I can’t rest because I have more to study.
More to write.
More to prepare.
More to think about.
More work to do.
More places to go.
More, more, more.
And so Fridays, and four-o’clock-in-the-afternoons have become a day and time for me when I feel inadequate.
And as I’ve grown this year, I’ve seen the spiritual parallel.
Sometimes we walk through the Christian life feeling insufficient, incompetent, inadequate. We see our lives and say we should probably sin less, give more, be more joyful, witness to others more frequently than we do, and then at the end of the day, we’re unsatisfied with where we are.
I used to think that was a good thing. That dissatisfaction prompted us to be holier, to perfect our identity.
But identity must be found in Christ alone, otherwise, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.
There is absolutely no way to perfect the identity before us that is already complete. Why? Because we already share in the holiness and blamelessness of Christ Himself.
It’s often hard to let this truly resonate, because we see our un-holiness, our imperfect-ness, our struggles and depravity. On a smaller scale, this is why I tend to dislike four o’clock and Fridays – because I see the work as not ever being done.
Yet this is exactly why Christ came – we weren’t enough, and so He took upon Himself the payment for that, and in doing so, He granted us what we did not deserve. He granted us newness of life.
“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
This identity speaks volumes.
It tells us, “The work has been done. Rest, child. Rest.”
If Christ has made us complete, who are we to argue that? Who are we to insist we’re not enough? Who are we to base our concept of our identity on things that can change, on our own imperfection?
It’s bizarrely tempting to succumb to the work-more mindset, to bury ourselves in to-dos and forget about the just-beings.
At four o’clock, I need to be reminded that what’s done is done. That I did what I could, and I can resume tomorrow.
And all throughout my Fridays, I need it to be repeated that it’s alright to take a rest, regardless of what I’ve gotten done during the week.
And in the lives all of us live as Christians, we need to keep in mind that we have been made complete in Christ, that the work has been accomplished solely by what Jesus has done. That who we are is defined by Him, not by our work.
Whether I’ll ever grow to love Fridays or four o’clock or not, I don’t know. But whatever your four o’clock is – whatever makes you feel like you’re not enough – when it hits, remember who you truly are.
Remember the cross that gave you life.
Remember the nails that set you free.
Remember the blood spilled to make you holy.
And remember the Jesus who lives today, to take away your guilt and shame, to give you an identity that transcends all others.
Especially on the hard days.