___ posted June 28, 2011 by Monica Romig Green
This week, God helped me to notice that I, too, have a life-long tendency to do the “right” things for the wrong reasons. I am a performer. I work hard and tend to get a lot of work done in the process. People seem very pleased with this part of my character. I seem dependable and capable. I like being seen that way.
But this week, I’ve started to notice the “heart” behind a lot of my work. When I get a task to do, almost immediately a feeling arises in me that involves fear and guilt. A voice starts playing in my head with words like “got to,” “should,” and “or else….” It’s a harsh and threatening voice that is there to push me into action. And, I sense that it’s so ubiquitous that I’m only seeing a fraction of how prevalent it is in my life.
A part of me tries to make excuses for allowing this kind of motivation to reign in my life. After all, who is it really hurting? I’m the only one who gets a verbal beating up in the midst of this. Everyone else is just happy with the results – my work – so it’s really a victimless crime. Right?
I don’t think this is how the Lord intends for me to go about my work and the tasks of my life. Guilt, fear, shame – aren’t these the things that Christ died to free me of? Living a life filled with threatening “shoulds” and “or elses” does not sound like a life of love, generosity, grace and truth. And, I’ve come to learn enough now of how God’s Kingdom works, that I bet it is not a victimless crime. As I’ve been busy beating myself up, what opportunities to give or receive love have I been missing?
I don’t know how to fix this life-long habit of mine. I only know the One Who wants to free me from it. I wonder what it will be like to invite Christ to be with me in this place where I force myself to work. A part of me is afraid of what will have to change, but another part of me can’t wait to be set free.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Mathew 11:28-30
When Jesus talks to the Pharisees, He points out that their actions may look pure, but their hearts are not. They may be doing all the right things, but their hearts – their motivations, their reasons and their feelings – are in the wrong place. This is what angers Jesus so much about the Pharisees. And He warns them again and again to change this in their lives.