|Picture curtesy of HGTV|
I wrote a blog the other day about God's discipline on my life. Another area of discipline for me has been in how we view ourselves in relation to the situations and people around us. I've heard several people in various places lately make comments like "I deserve this" or "I just want to be recognized for this" or "I need to do this for me." Most times I have been the one saying these things.
But why do we think that? Who are we that we deserve anything? Don't hear me wrong, I am not saying we all deserve bad things or that we shouldn't all catch a break sometimes, but these phrases really have me thinking. I am often starved for positive attention, reinforcement, and recognition. I want and sometimes crave for people to recognize what I am doing behind the scenes. If they don't I judge them and more often then that I judge myself. Sometimes, the more I go unrecognized, the less I give of myself. I no longer want to pour myself out for them (many times for God). How is that biblical? Its human nature. Its definitely how we are built as a human race but how is that thinking biblical? For those of us that say we believe in and trust in what the bible says, how does this way of thinking coincide?
Those questions are ones that God is throwing at me when I feel unseen, unnoticed. It is also been a question I had as I spend more and more time indoors away from people, excluding myself in the name of rest or recharging. Again, I am not saying rest isn't important. In fact, rest (in Christ) is very biblical but sometimes I excuse my lack of effort in giving of myself in the name of rest. Most of the time it’s not rest, its laziness. I am an introvert at heart. I much prefer time with 1 or 2 people over coffee or wine than I do big crowds but often in the city that's hard to manage. To spend time with all of the people I care about means a lot of time we may not have. So instead of trying to make it work, I excuse myself and allow for the crowded arena to be my connector. It usually leaves me feeling drained and irritated pushing me further and further away.
I am not saying all of this as a judgment towards anyone. I am speaking straight from the sweet discipline of Jesus on my life. Pruning and cutting away at the selfish, self centered, sinner that I am. I am learning alongside all of this what true rest in Christ means and how its not focused as much on physical rest rather its focused on trust and the filling of the Holy Spirit in us through Christ and the Word of God. Doing has always been my thing and my way of earning respect and admiration so finding rest always meant NOT DOING which was hard for me to do. Sometimes doing means controlling the situation or someone’s views of who I am in that context and to that I should rest, I should flee. The rest I need is the kind that puts my trust and hope in Christ and his desires for my life and not necessarily from the act of doing. Maybe "doing" more is what I should be doing but not as a conduit to getting but as an overflow of who God is in my life and the love He has for the people in my life. I came across Hosea 10:12 a few weeks ago. This was part of a pruning process God has had me in. "Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you." I've been lazy, apathetic, unmotivated, especially in relation to my faith, my relationship with Jesus and the relationships He has clearly put me in.
This lesson I have been in came to somewhat of a head this week, when I had a moment of "O Pity Me". I was upset that someone hadn't noticed something "proving" to me my importance (or lack there of) in their life. I felt misunderstood, angry, sad and forgotten. I sat there in the moment, going "God, what is wrong with me that they don't care." I felt Him softly remind me that He cared. That's He saw me. That He hadn't forgotten me. What this one person saw or didn't see wasn't important. It didn't matter. What mattered was that the Lord, who knows the hairs on my head, the birds in the air, the flowers in the field, the one who doesn't miss a thing, sees me for who I am and who I will be. I'm reminded through that, that my need to feel "seen" has been too much of a part of who I am. It was pushing me to be someone other then what God was calling me to be. Its still there, that need, but I am realizing more and more that the One who matters does see me and loves me beyond all I can imagine.
This realization is pulling me slowly out of a need to self fulfill and into a desire to be poured into by Jesus and poured out into the people/relationships He has blessed me with. I still have a lot of growing, pruning, learning to do but feeling the slight pull of the dead weight off of me has brought joy, relief and more then anything Hope!
Luke 10:40-42 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 - My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power.
Philippians 2:1-8 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Matthew 6:5-8 - "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.