Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Who are you living for?

Today's post is short and sweet...just a few thoughts on my mind I wanted to share before they slip away. (That's kind of a re-occurring, busy-ness induced problem I've been having lately—can anyone relate?)

"Who are you living for?"

That's the question that I think drives all of the other important questions—like, "What's your motive?" "What's your goal?" and "When is enough enough?"

Lately I've been tempted to live for others. And I don't mean that in a Mother Theresa, completely unselfish, serving others kind of way. I'm talking about basing my self-worth on the opinion of others and/or spending too much time thinking about what they're thinking about me. Am I pleasing them? Do they notice the work I've been doing? Do they see me as valuable? Am I proving myself to be an asset? Do they think I'm successful? So exhausting. PS: Social Media Syndrome—also known as "only posting images that make my life look perfect"—often folds into "living for others," too.

The danger: People have bad days, and they get upset, and they have expectations that we won't always be able to meet. Meaning as hard as we try to people-please, sometimes we're going to miss the mark. If our identity is rooted in the way other people perceive us, we're bound to go through mental and emotional anguish every time those people express disappointment in us...or don't comment as much as we thought they would on our Instagram posts. (Trust me, I've been there.)

At other times I realize I've been living for myself. Taking care of myself. Thinking about myself. Thinking about myself some more. Investing excessive amounts of energy into "growing my platform" (what does that even mean?), "building my brand," "developing my connections," "extending my reach,"and so on and so on and so on.

The danger: A self-centered lifestyle that eventually acts as a repellant to other people. General lack of energy. The distancing of friends. Fixation on controlling a future we'll never be able to see. Saying the words, "I'm a failure" when things don't go according to our plan.

So, so badly, I want to live for Christ. To die to myself daily. To care only about how He perceives me. To live my life according to His standards, go about my work on this earth without vain ambition, and minister and pour out to others without wondering what I'll get in return. To stop worrying about my future and caring so much about earthly outcomes and results. To remember that I can't take any accomplishments or praise or accolades with me when my time on this earth ends. To invest my time and attention on eternal things. To fix my eyes on Christ alone, and live for His glory instead of mine.

The benefit: Unshakeable identity and unwavering peace—neither of which have anything to do with my circumstances, my performance or the recognition I receive from others.

Please know that I'm a student here, not a teacher. I'm still learning how to re-focus the gaze of my heart on a daily basis...and this is my prayer for everyone else doing the same:

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:9-11

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