Acceptance and Affirmation.
There was so much depth to his lesson that I wont be able to get into here, going through and explaining point by point about how Jesus came and fulfilled scripture and subsequently became everything that we need, replacing and ideally ridding us of that need to seek acceptance and affirmation from other sources. Examining my heart I couldn't help but realize how easy it is to slip away from the Lord, though always covered by His grace and he never moves from me, it is so easy to pull away from Him, allowing my heart to fill up with emptiness and longing.
Longing for acceptance from those who don't identify with my strong Christian lifestyle, seeking compliments from family members indicating that I hold value to our unit, gravitating towards friendships that nurture and breed self confidence. Longing for affirmation from others about the way we raise our kids, about how beautiful our home is, about which talents are gifts and which blessings are treasures. As church began my heart was aching as I realized how easily, quickly and often I put my hope and trust in other people instead of in my Lord and in what He has done for me and what He speaks to me through His word and prayer time.
All of this is going through my mind as we begin our first worship song. Glory to God, glory to God, glory to God forever.
Both of my boys have now loved this worship song, also one of my favorites. It reminds me that everything we do, the reason we are made, all that we have been given, has been done to bring Glory to God.
But, have I been living my life to bring Glory to God? Is that what motivates me when I'm working my butt off to clean my house to have the women from church over, or am I motivated by fear of what people would say if they saw how big of slobs we can be? Have I been slaving for hours over the boys Halloween costumes to bring Glory to God? When I'm tired and cranky at the end of the night, do I snuggle with Micah because I'm grateful to God or to spare myself the pain of having to put him back in bed 15 times in 8 minutes? Is my exhaustion overwhelming my ability to sing praises or are my praises underwhelming? Are the statuses I put on facebook genuine or manipulated to trigger "likes" from 26 people in a matter of seconds? Am I motivated by pleasing the Lord or pleasing myself? Pleasing others?
I love how the Lord works. How He and He alone can ever so smoothly tie a poignant Sunday School message together with a worship service. When I told Brian last night about how I felt our Pastor's message and his had worked together he looked at me funny and asked "how so?" Pastor had talked about our gifts, and the importance of using those gifts, in our church and in our community. If we aren't using our gifts we are squandering what we have been given. Not exactly a perfect line up to the source of our acceptance and affirmation except that the song had put me in a mindset where I was thinking about how I live my life, what my motivations are, who I'm trying to please.
I spend a lot of time being and doing. I float through life one obligation, meeting, to do list, at a time. I often go days without stopping to ask what God wants me to do in a situation, how I could be more effective in my ministry, how I could use my specific gifts and talents to bring Glory to God. Obviously the Lord has been stirring in my heart on these issues for a while but yesterday was the tip of the iceberg, the giant glaring sign that I need to again refocus my heart and seek the Lord in ALL that I do, and do it ALL for His Glory.
I went forward at church and cried out to the Lord, asking Him to show me how I can use the gift I know that He has given me for the church and more effectively in this space here, my community. I have been affirmed over and over by many women whom I trust and know that the Lord is using to encourage me, but I quickly get discouraged and doubt my gifts and talents. I offered all of that up to Him yesterday and vowed to trust Him and to plow forward, to forge a way for myself in this space and await His leading and directing with what I can do with this specific gift for my church. I prayed for wisdom but also that my motivation and passion would be ignited and not get quickly stamped out by laziness and doubt. This morning in my devotional time, the Lord let me to James 1:5-7 and felt like they are exactly what I need to add fuel to the fire, though they aren't fluffy feel good verses, these verses spoke volumes to my heart today with where I have been and where I don't ever want to be again.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.
Writing it all down here, felt like a good place to start.