Monday, July 29, 2013

Playing With Fire

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

This has been a big struggle for years and years.  Seeking the approval of man, keeping man (or wo-man) happy with me at all costs.   It drove me nuts when I found out or even just thought that someone 'might' have a problem with me, might not like me, etc.  Even though I've been set free from the crippling addiction that I once had, Satan will throw arrows my way every so often to see if I will entertain them.  Some of what I worry about is very silly - embarrassing to admit.  "Why is it that she has not attempted any contact with me this summer?  Why does she comment on everyone else's facebook but not mine?"  (Let's just face it - facebook can just be a bad place to hangout when you aren't prayed up, huh?  Can I get an 'amen?!')  So does it matter that she's not contacted me at all?  The old addicted me would say YES!, obsess about the thought AND do everything in my power to get my 'fix.'  My approval fix would come in the form of making contact with this person...but not because I want to have contact, but so I can hear the magic words that make my world better for that moment - "no, everything is great, you're fine!"   And there's my high!  My world is okay for the moment.  I'm in control and everyone is okay with me.  There was a point in my life that I didn't even realize this is what I did and why.  Now, as a recovered approval addict, it's hard...still.  The minute a thought like these are thought, I have to put my foot down, like squashing a stray hot ash escaped from the fire.  If I entertain the thought, I'm fanning that hot ash and giving it what it needs to suddenly become an out of control, blazing inferno.  It's a lot easier to stop it with a squash than to try to battle a forest fire!  But I have to be honest, sometimes I just want to play with the fire...

The past few months I've been kind of blah...and since I was already down and really not doing much for God, I don't think I was necessarily a target for the devil.  This past week I've become excited about some opportunities to serve God and His Word has become alive again.  I've talked with a few sisters in Christ and was loved on by my leadership group at church.   I could tell the minute that I began feeling more joyful and hopeful that the attacks began again.  Thoughts that I should not be thinking, fanning the ashes...

The verse says, 'if I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.'  God knows that I used to try to please man and am still tempted often.  If I am STILL trying to, however, I am ineffective for God's kingdom.   I will continue to fight this battle - man's approval will get me nothing.  I want to be a servant of Christ more than I want anyone to like me.  

Help me Lord, to be a good fire fighter - to squash out the thoughts immediately and to focus on being a servant of Christ -- not a pleaser of man!

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix /

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Primary Concern

I grabbed the book "After The Boxes Are Unpacked" off of my shelf again this weekend.  It's been almost two years, so I felt a little weird...but there was a chapter tucked away just for me still.  Chapter 11 'A Place in Your Heart Called Loneliness' was just what I needed.  How many times lately have I said I'm lonely?  Ugh.  I'm so tired of it.  This little nugget of advice is what I needed to read:
Don't try to fill up your life with people, things, or activities to escape from loneliness.  The emptiness you feel should first be filled by God; then He will bring the right people into your life to ease the loneliness. 
Similarly, my sweet sister-in-law just suggested a month or so ago that maybe God was wanting more of me.  More of my time.  I think she was onto something there!  
My sweet sister
Advice that would have been helpful two years ago probably.  Did I jump in too fast?  I was afraid of becoming lonely when we moved here so I did everything I could to get involved, filling my life with people and activities.  I did what I do best and took control and tried to make things work.  Some of those activities proved to not be the best for me and slowly I'm seeing bit by bit where I fit in.  It is definitely slow-going though.  And I have to guard against comparing how others have adjusted in less time.  Now that my life isn't as noisy, I can tell I'm missing something.  It's not ice cream, even though I've unfortunately tried to fill it with that!  I can't live my life being dissatisfied with my circumstances and where God has me and longing for what I don't have.  I must take this pain to my Father, who knows what it is like to be lonely, and make Him my all...and He promises to give me what I need.  Luke 12:31 promises, 'He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.'  

Father, please help me to believe your promise in Luke.  Help me to make You and You alone my primary concern!!