One of the things that I have and continue to struggle with is this need for attention.  This need to get credit for the things that I do.  Ultimately, this need to make it all about me.  Which it’s not.  It’s so easy to get caught up in seeking the approval of man.  An approval that has no merit in eternity and therefore, shouldn’t have any merit now.  On more than one occasion I have noticed myself wondering what someone is thinking about me when I worship or I will feel the need to receive a “thanks” for something that I did.  I hate that.  I shouldn’t do things because I want to look good.  I do things to please my God.  This is why I was so very thankful for the spiritual lesson that was taught to me tonight while working.

At Johnny Rockets every server has side work that they have to accomplish before they go home.  One of the most dreaded ones is chili station.  To sum it up: it is gross, takes forever, and basically ensures that you will be one of the last ones to leave the restaurant.  No one EVER wants chili station.  Tonight chili station was given to my dear co-worker, Meghan.  I was thankful that I was given a relatively easy side work that would get me home fairly early.  Then, Meghan asked me if I would take chili station so that she could go to a going-away party for some friends.  I was reluctant but, remembering what a friend had mentioned at bible study about ways to be a stranger,  I finally was able to spit out a “yes.”

Even though I had already said yes, throughout my entire shift I found myself looking for some reason to go to Meghan and tell her that I had changed my mind.  Meghan finally headed out for the night and I realized that it was too late now.  I was stuck.  My shift ended and I started the task.  As I was finishing up, I remembered what I was made to do: love God and love people.  I should be over-joyed for the opportunity to serve my God even through working at an over-priced, 50’s style restaurant.  I was happy when I finished and didn’t get too much of a thank you.  There was no one praising my name or paying me extra because I had done it.  And I LOVED that.  God was reminding me that I didn’t do things to bring attention to myself.  I took that chili station to serve God and in hopes that someone would go “Hmm.  I wonder why she would do something like that.”  and I could eagerly respond that it was to serve my God and him alone.

There is a story in John that I love about how John’s only purpose was to prepare the way for Christ and give ALL GLORY to him.  I was reminded of it tonight and I thought I would share:

John 3: 25-30 says:

25An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

27To this John replied, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. 28You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ 29The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30He must become greater; I must become less.

He must become greater; I must become less. John knew that his purpose was to prepare the way for Christ.  Not to make himself great.  Our flesh prompts us into spending our entire life trying to make ourselves great instead of doing things to serve Christ and lift Him up with our lives.

So please, if you ever see me getting any attention at all, remind me that he must become greater; I must become less.  That is my prayer.

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vulnerability

August 10, 2008

I have been fortunate enough to have known God for a majority of my life.  My relationship with him has continued to grow and I have finally got to the point in my spiritual growth where it is not merely an occasional “spiritual high” that i experience but a daily relationship.  One of the things that I recently had been experiencing was this desire to look perfect.  Now I am quite aware that I am, by no means, perfect.  I am completely jacked up in every sense of the word and I know that because of his love, God has granted me grace.  But I have felt this need to appear perfect.  Mainly to my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I would tell them about things that I had dealt with in the past but as far as my current imperfections, they really didn’t know much about them.  I just felt like I had to look like I basically had it all together, with the exceptions of a few minor flaws here and there.  There were things that I was dealing with that I hadn’t even let my best friends and one of my closest sisters in Christ in on.

Until last night.

My best friend just got back from a 5 week discipleship program at the camp that I go to called Pine Cove.  I was so anxious to hear everything that God had taught her and I was equally anxious to tell her some of the things that I had learned in her absence.  One of the things that she had learned was that when you are not vulnerable, you deny someone the chance to learn from you.  That truth hit so hard.  Our conversation turned into the two of us staying up till 5 confessing our weaknesses and our huge struggles.  It was hard.  And the wind was knocked out of me on more than one occasion.  But I learned something so valuable last night.  I am flawed.  And the world needs to know that.  And my flaws are part of my testimony.  And I’m not ashamed of them any more.  The only thing that matters now and will ever matter is that I has been washed white as snow because love died on a cross for me 2,000 years ago.  And anything I have done or will do has already been forgiven.

So I apologize.  I apologize for staying “on the surface” with people that I consider my family in Christ.  I am not perfect.  And I never will be.  But I have a pretty awesome God that could care less about those imperfections.

How he loves us so.