by Tara Sun
“It’s my girl-boss era.”
“Manifest your destiny.”
I scrolled through Instagram one day and saw those quotes plastered across my feed. At first glance, these phrases are empowering and exhilarating. The message of manifestation and girl-bossing exudes an air of confidence that is attractive. It’s a bold proclamation: shouting from the rooftops that there is nothing stopping us and the positive outcomes we desperately ache for can be achieved by sheer willpower.
Truthfully, however, this belief that if you visualize it and repeat it and work hard at it—it will happen— is deeply hurting us and our relationship with Christ.
The manifestation movement promises its own definition of success and fulfillment. But it’s an empty promise. The enemy of our souls would love to see us join in because he knows it will drive a wedge between us and our good Father. The belief that we are enough on our own and powerful within ourselves is exactly what got Adam and Eve into trouble in the first place. And like the world’s first couple, I too am prone to operate out of self-sufficiency, instead of abiding in, growing with, and depending on the True Vine (John 15).
The girl-boss, “I’m in control” movement, feels like a carnal struggle to prove our worth, strength, and success. But I have some really—and I mean really— good news. News that releases us from the exhausting weight of trying to convince the world that we’re enough…
Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us that it is God’s grace—and nothing we do ourselves—that saves us. Our purpose is found in following His plan, not ours. The sheer fact that God alone saved us, grace alone upholds us, and the Holy Spirit alone empowers us tells us that we are not in control, and that’s a good thing. It shatters the lie of manifestation into a million pieces and offers us a better reality: that God is God—a good and better Author—and we are not; and yet, God mercifully weaves our storylines into His.
King Solomon once said, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). First of all, friend, I need you to know that planning, desiring, and dreaming is not a sin. Our good and loving Creator hard-wired that into our DNA. Those are healthy reactions to a responsible life. But we dare not forget this and turn our planning, desiring, and dreaming into a death grip onto control, instead of a death-grip dependence on God, trusting Him to have his will, and not our own.
Girl-bossing will only run us ragged. It will only overburden us with a weight we were never meant to carry. That is one of the loads that Jesus came to make easier and lighter (Matthew 11:28-30). Open-handed surrender and trust are heavenly gifts that release us from striving and free us up to walk in eternal purpose. Once we truly grasp that reality, we don’t have to search elsewhere for purpose, fulfillment, and success.
The world is searching for worth, purpose, success, freedom, and peace. That’s why we are tempted to run after bright and flashy things, like the idea of manifestation. But praise be to God that we have a better way. We get to take the pressure off and rest in the unchangeable truth that God is Lord and we are not. We get to celebrate the fact that our inability to establish our steps is not weakness, but an opportunity to find strength in God and the story, more beautiful than we could ever imagine, that He is writing for us.
It is time to lay down control and manifestation, and it is time to surrender your story at the foot of the cross.
Tara Sun is the author of Surrender Your Story: Ditch the Myth of Control and Discover Freedom in Trusting God. Tara passionately teaches women how to know, love, and live God’s Word through her podcast, Truth Talks with Tara. Her greatest joy is time spent with her husband and son. For more of Tara’s words and encouragement, follow her on Instagram.