Friday, September 3, 2010
I respond quickly to praise, but what if I'm not praised? What if no one notices what I've done? What if I'm too exhausted and tired to accomplish much? What if I don't blog for months? What if I don't have a house to tear down and rebuild after a flood? What if I don't have a trip to plan, a purchase to make, a home improvement project to organize, a company to run...What then? Am I good for nothing?
Our world tells us that in order to be successful, you need to be busy. You need to be on a track to a brilliant career; you need to write the next #1 song; you need to be the mom most involved in your kid's school; you need to be a mom and HAVE a career outside the home; you need to be a mom and NOT have a career outside the home; you need to...you need to...you need to. The list goes one and on. You fill in the blank. The world defines worth and success by what we do and how much of it we do...the more the better.
The Lord commands us in Deuteronomy 30:15 "to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you..." He also says, "(I have shown) you, O man and woman, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
We have the instructions for living a full life of increase and goodness. We have been given simple, yet complex commands from our God about how we should live. The commands are simple because they are straightforward. They are complex because His commands do not align with what our society, culture, nation tells us we should be doing. God's commands go against the grain of "more, more, more" and, instead, say, "less, less, less." "Less is more" and is a hard concept to convince ourselves of. What if we stopped trying to convince ourselves, and, instead, just tried to obey God, act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God?
What if that is all we had to do today? Get up. Try hard not to sin. Treat others with kindness and mercy and walk with the Lord ALL DAY. If our day were filled with the simplicity of loving God, ourselves and others well, would there not be a change in the daily pressure to do more, have more, be more? What if we followed God's will for our lives and "always (tried) to be kind to each other and to everyone else. (Were) joyful always; pray(ed) continually; (and gave) thanks in all circumstances"? (I Thes. 15-18).
I'm not saying that we don't need to take care of our responsibilities at home, at work, to our friends and spouses. I'm saying, what if we took care of our responsibilities in a different way? What if we walked confidently in God's ability to provide and to use us for His great pleasure? Surely, He would direct us to get done what needs to be done, to take care of who or what needs to be taken care of.
What a huge relief that would be, right? We could let go of our anxiety? We could be kind no matter how others treated us? We could always be joyful? We would pray all of the time? We would give thanks even when our circumstances were less than awful? Could we be peaceful and content in God's love for us?
Of course, the answer to these questions is a resounding "YES!" Again, though, we won't do it. We push the thoughts of pleasing God aside and pour ourselves into pleasing others and expecting others to recognize what we do and convince us of our worth. Why do we do that, especially, when so many of us know...WE KNOW...that we aren't supposed to live a life based on what we think others think we should do or be?
I am guilty of, believing that you give me worth. If you are impressed with something that I can do...If you are amazed at how well I accomplish everything on my plate...If you praise me, then I will feel satisfied...except when you don't praise me. What then? That's when I crash. If I don't get some kind of positive reinforcement or praise, I am good for nothing, which is, of course, a BIG FAT lie! It's Satan's favorite lie, and he uses the sin of the world to convince us of its truth.
When the Liar plants the questions and encourages feelings of worthlessness through the seeds of self-doubt, is when the he has the opportunity to sabotage our thoughts. He has so many clever tools all around us, and there is no doubt he will use them. HE WILL USE THEM. He will hit us over the head with the lie of worthlessness.
We must flee the enemy, push aside these thoughts to the point that when they re-enter, and they will, we just laugh and say, "I know that trick, and I won't fall for it! I have a God who loves me with an everlasting love. His love never ends. His Spirit intercedes for me when I am weak and when I am strong. My God has called me by my very own name. I am His and He is mine. God's love for me gives me worth beyond measure, exceptional, brilliant worth. I am worthy only because of His mercy, and because of His mercy, I am worthy." God's love does not change like the shifting sands. It does not come and go based on my performance. God's love is permanent and unconditional.
Let's encourage one another to live a life confident in our worth to God. There is no other opinion that matters. There is no boss, no spouse, no friend, no parent, NO ONE who gets to fill our cups except Jesus. The good news is that He has filled our cups to overflowing. Like a cup held under a running faucet, He fills us to overflowing. He will fill us to the point that we will, as my friend and author, Nancy Guthrie says, "slosh out Jesus everywhere," The challenge before us is that we must stand under the Right Faucet...the faucet of Living Water, the Spring that gives Life everlasting and without measure. The question stands, "Who's your faucet?" The answer, though, is up to us.
Posted by Laura Lyn Donahue at 11:25 AM