Friday, March 10, 2017


As I headed into my goal setting for 2017 I felt I first needed to take a step back and work through how I got off track in 2016.  In this post I briefly mentioned some changes my organization went through, and while it ended up being a net positive from both the organizational and workload perspective, there were also some impacts that I did not foresee going into it.

As new leaders came in I found myself having the urge to prove something while also questioning alot of what I was doing.  As John Eldredge puts it in Walking With God I'd "moved out of the restful posture of faith and assurance." Having been in my role for a few years, I'd become very comfortable with both the people and expectation aspects of our previous leadership and the reality is that while there is always room for improvement the way I had things set up and had been operating had been working well for 3 years.  

The issue, I think, was as Eldridge says "We give our hearts over to so many things other than God.  We look to so many other things for life… Especially the very gifts that he himself gives to us--they become more important than he is. That's not the way it's supposed to be. As long as our happiness is tied to the things we can lose we are vulnerable."  (Walking with God). A lot of prayer and intentionality had gone into how I'd formed my role and organization and had chosen to operate.  As with all things earthly there was plenty broken and non-ideal but I had also not gone about them willy nilly and shortcomings aside I think God was still well pleased. 

The crux was that I had put too much stock in the gift and position God had blessed me with, I was worshiping the gift (or title and responsibility) instead of the giver and had lost sight of the fact that I had not gotten there on my own nor would I remain so that way and when the questions came my pride became at stake and I was easily rattled. I had shifted to servanthood of man and my own ego as Paul writes in Galations 1:10: "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." and holding others opinion/approval above Jesus leads us to being held hostage by them.

We live our lives struggling with being worried about what we think others are thinking about us--which sounds ridiculous when you really think about it and our thinking could be and usually is completely off base.  As Ortberg puts it, at some point "you realize nobody was thinking about you anyways.. (but) that information does not alone bring true freedom. When our identity is wrapped up in whether or not we are perceived as successful, we are set up for approval addiction. Our sense of self is on the line."  (The Life you've Always Wanted)

The solution to this is in those times "When I catch myself comparing myself with others or thinking 'I could be happy if only I had what they have', then I know I need to withdraw for a while and listen for another voice… it always asks of self-absorbed children 'What are you doing here?'  When Jesus spoke, he was free from the need to create an impression. He was free to speak the truth in love." (The Life you've Always Wanted)

When we become Christians our framework for approval changes.  We are inherently approved by our belief in Jesus as our savior and as this song so harmoniously states we are no longer slaves to others but his children and ultimately no one else's opinion matters which should be both encouraging and empowering to us. 

Matthew 10:37 says: "Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."  Loving Him most allows us to love not only our father, mother, wife, children and others the right way, but also ourselves from the right motive, because He first loved us.  We will fall short otherwise. Loving Jesus means our allegiance and affections are grounded in Him and loving him is the only requirement for approval.   

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