In a recent prayer time, God gently confronted me. He asked me this simple question. Are you going to be a slave to your to-do-list today, or are you going to focus on bringing me glory? Here is another way of posing the question for both you and me: Are you working tirelessly to bring yourself glory as the “perfect wife’, “perfect mother”, perfect Christian, etc, or are you releasing your day to God and asking him to show you what to do and what NOT to do in order to bring HIM glory?
Oh man! Busted. To be honest, I tend to drive myself to always do more and do it better, because I want to look good in other people’s eyes. I become exhausted and stressed in the process. The good news is that God didn’t design us to be people-pleasers. Yes, we are to love people, but our focus shouldn’t be on doing whatever they want. Our focus also shouldn’t be trying to look good in people’s eyes. The Bible reminds us in Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?”
I am confident that if you and I were both to release our days to God and ask Him to guide us, we would find much more peace! We would be free of performance-exhaustion. We would find freedom from approval exhaustion. Instead, we would be free to follow God’s promptings, which will lead to greater joy and peace than we’ve ever known. In fact, if you listen for God’s voice, he might even tell you to take a nap or relax while listening to praise music! God’s Word promises that those who seek to follow Him (instead of following their own agenda) will enter peace! (Isaiah 57:2 says, “For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace.” And Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
If you’re a follower of Jesus, you can expect that God is constantly transforming you to be more like his son Jesus. His Holy Spirit is gently but consistently convicting us of both known sins and subtle sin patterns in our lives, and he’s urging us to turn from those patterns. He’s urging us to choose to be more Christ-like. 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory For me, he’s been slowly and gently convicting me and transforming me in the area of subtle self-focus. And I know I’m not alone in this pattern!!
We ALL tend to be subtly self-centered in our relationships. We want and expect others to make us happy, do things our way, commend our wonderful deeds, make us feel valuable, always treat us fairly, make us feel loved, and on and on. However, as we become more mature Christ-followers, God is urging us to be Christ-like in our relationships. He’s asking us to do what’s best for others instead of focusing on how others should treat us better! Take a moment to really absorb what God is saying to us in Philippians 2:3-7 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant…
What does this look like in your relationships? How is God asking you to course-correct? It might mean actually confronting a loved one caught in sin and discontinuing a conflict-avoider pattern where you’ve made it easy for that person to stay stuck in a destructive sin. It may mean choosing to reflect Christ around your rude boss by being kind and humble no matter how he treats you. It may mean using a respectful tone with your husband even when he has disappointed you.
Reflecting Christ in every relationship is challenging for sure, but the eternal rewards are worth it, AND, you may very well find when you get to heaven one day that your Christ-like interactions with others impacted people so much that they became true followers of Jesus as well!