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March 10, 2008

Food for Thought



Somewhere in the demanding schedule there must be a place for becoming refreshed in spirit. As important as it is to be recognized for what we do, there must be a time - regularly - for the sweeter experience of being loved just for who we are.

Henri Nouwen confesses: "I'm like many pastors; I commit myself to projects and plans and then wonder how I can get them all done. This is true of the pastor, the teacher, the administrator. Indeed, it's true of our culture, which tells us, ?Do as much as you can or you'll never make it.'? I've discovered I cannot fight the demons of busyness directly. I cannot continuously say no to this or no to that, unless there is something ten times more attractive to choose. Saying no to my lust, my greed, my needs, and the world's powers takes an enormous amount of energy.

"The only hope is to find something so obviously real and attractive that I can devote all my energies to saying yes. One such thing I can say yes to is when I come in touch with the fact that I am loved. Once I have found that in my total brokenness I am still loved, I become free from the compulsion of doing successful things."


Excerpted from an article in Spiritual Refreshment, a downloadable resource from Gifted For Leadership.

Comments

“Once I have found that in my total brokenness I am still loved, I become free from the compulsion of doing successful things” What a powerful statement. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Like most humans, I crave approval and acceptance. To be a nonconformist means I might disappoint those I love. Yet the instruction is clear. Seek to please God alone.

Sometimes my drive to feel worthy prevents me from offering my unique contribution. So I’m learning (though not perfectly) to value others’ service without feeling compelled to duplicate their contribution.

When I face the PTA superstar mom, I resist the temptation to devalue her commitment in order to alleviate my shame. Instead I express gratitude to her and to God, for her devotion to my child’s school.

I’m also learning (though not perfectly) to reject the idea that someone else’s list determines my worth. I probably have less free time than my friend with a housekeeping service, but more energy than my other friend in chemotherapy. In general, I’m pretty ignorant of other people’s personal challenges so it’s dangerous to applaud or condemn myself based on how my accomplishments stack up to theirs. I simply do what I can, yielding my agenda to God.

I really want to respond to this thought. I have lived on that street called "Trying To" for so many years and I have a few behind me now; single mother, working two jobs and 5 children two of them with a disability. All the time knowing that my relationship with and to the Lord was less than I wished it to be and yet no time, no time to really get into it. I have learned that relationship with the Lord is a contiunous state of being. Oh absolutely we must be into Scripture getting the Word programmed in but reading requires but a little time and then there are tapes of the Word and cd's and sermons and gorgeous worship music which we can take with us when we go. I have learned to take frequent stock of communication with the Lord and often at a traffic signal cast my mind to the Throne giving God acknowledgment, just remembering Him and being thankful that He is aware of me.

Steve, are you assuming that everyone who is busy is doing it for recognition and to earn love?

From the different blogs here it seems like busyness is a "disorder" flowing out of our desperate need to feel accepted, loved and significant or to be recognized. Low self-esteem seems to be the common denominator. Is it possible, as Joyce has hinted, that the body of Christ is conforming to the world rather than the Kingdom of God when it comes to how we determine our sense of worth or value? (self-esteem vs. self-worth).

While I agree with you that many are busy for the wrong motivations I also think there is another reason. Some are busy because the harvest is ripe but the workers are few? That 20% of the body of Christ is doign 80% of the work of evangelism, discipleship, equipping, etc?

I agree with you about love. Once we have received the truth that we are loved, not because of anything we have done but just because we are God's child, then we are freed from the compulsion to earn His love.

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