Because if you're anything like me, you wrestle with a perpetual desire to please. This desire for approval, often insatiable and dangerously all-consuming, rears its ugly head in nearly all of my relationships and endeavors. And it does so quickly and quietly and mostly subconsciously.
But lately I remember:
Work willingly at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
I often associate this command with a call to motivate and persevere, a call to avoid apathy.
More recently, it's been about God freeing me from myself. My results-obsessed, competitive, and achievement-driven self. The self that wants to please and exceed others' expectations. The self that is never satisfied with the results. The self that is convinced perfection is attainable. The self that always could have done better. The self that is worn slick from these lies.
Two things I know: We work unto the Lord. And our Lord's yoke is easy and burden light.
If what we do, if who we are, is genuinely for the Lord, the efforts that flow from a heart attuned to God must be sufficient. If this is true, it is the ultimate vindication because our pursuit of God, and not whether we perform or obtain approval of others, is what we can control. We need not live life exasperated by our failure to please or obsessed with our success at it. This is particularly so in light of the fact that we've already pleased God because Christ stands in our place.
In sum, working for God not only motivates, but liberates.
God is freeing me from this approval addiction, and I pray that's true for you.
"Work willingly at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people." (Colossians 3:23 NLT).
"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:30 NIV).
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade." (1 Peter 1:3-4 NIV).
I have a serious, serious case of the Octobers.
Much love to you,