Pleasing the Boss?
___ posted February 28, 2012 by Monica Romig Green
Equating my performance with my value is a great personal weakness of mine. When I feel particularly insecure, my wicked heart will rise up and, suddenly, I’m treating God like an idol that I need to manipulate in order to get from Him what I think I need. I treat Him like He’s going to be disappointed in me if I don’t finish my tasks.
But, that is not the God I serve. My God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. He’s not an object for me to use to get what I want. He wants us to spend time together because He is my Father and He loves me, not because if I don’t He will be withholding or displeased with me.
When I recognized I was in a season of relating to God in this unhealthy and sinful way, I confessed it to Him. I received His forgiveness and then asked Him for help to break the cycle. “Lord, is there anything I can do on my part to help keep my heart from this sin?”
His answer surprised me: “Love Me.”
I thought that the Lord would direct me to receive His love more deeply, since insecurity is at its root. But instead He invited me to focus my heart on Him. What Jesus identified as the greatest commandment was my greatest help in this struggle.
As I obeyed and began to intentionally change my focus in prayer, I realized again that God knows my heart so well! If I were to simply focus on receiving His love, I still would be tempted to perform in order to get it! But by focusing my heart on Him, spending more time feeling and expressing my love for my Savior, my eyes are drawn away from my performance anxiety and into the gaze of the One Who loves me back more than I could ever express or imagine.
I learned long ago that God’s commandments are loving and for our good, but I still am amazed when I experience this truth afresh in such a personal way. Thank you, my Loving Lord, my Rock and my Salvation.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. – Isaiah 26:3
Lately, I have felt myself falling into what for me is an occupational hazard. Because I work in a Christian ministry, I have found my times in prayer with God can easily turn into “work” in my heart, something that I have to do to earn God’s approval and blessing on my work. In my heart, I can easily go from being a child of God to solely being God’s employee, where my prayers are about appeasing the Boss to curry His favor, anxious about what He thinks of my performance.