God really got my attention the other day when He told me I had to stop abusing the wonderful works He has been doing in and through me by His Spirit. He showed me that I was looking every which way for affirmation and appreciation from others after God did something new with me. If I had a word of prophesy, I would pray that certain people would come up to me later and shared how they had been affected. If I spoke in a public setting I hoped they were listening and growing more impressed and interested in me.
I was running to and fro in my mind after others who might become fresh converts to the delight-of-Elaine’s-fellowship-and-gifting. I thought God could mend my broken or retarded relationships so easily if only He could stage it so that their hearts were softened towards me as God used me to bless them.
Well, God had other ideas. My expectations and motivations needed to be turned around. With all that He was doing to bless me, I was responding, this is wonderful, Lord, but I just don’t understand–why are those people (pointing my finger W…A…Y over there) not showing any signs that they are in awe of what You’re doing with me? I need that, Lord. There is either something wrong with them or something wrong with me–and I don’t think it’s me!
How wrong I was. How I needed to be humbled. I thought God’s main purpose was to give me spiritual and relational success. I thought, and continue to think (to my shame) that I’m really very important to what God is doing and that others should see that. I get angry and disappointed when people appear to miss or dismiss me.
Yet, what a gift all of this to me! I get to see my pride in bold strokes upon the canvas of my heart. I see a blackness that cannot be reconciled to the image of personal purity that I keep alive while I am busily finding all the faults in others. It is at times like this that I discover that I am the one who is marring God’s grand mural.
I am the one who doesn’t want to be a two-dimensional character who belongs in a community of other two-dimensional characters. I look at everyone else emerging from the paint splatters on the wall around me and I have no problem recognizing what they are supposed to be. Yet I am disoriented when the Artist takes some time to apply His paint brush directly and specifically to me.
I don’t know how to translate the glory of such attention: this must mean I am more important than all the others, right? I mean, why else would God neglect all those other characters to focus just on me.
A thought that never occurred to me until now is that maybe I need His focus. I need to see and feel Him so close or else I would tremble with doubts and fears that He has forgotten me. Perhaps I would fail to recognize how close He keeps me to His heart if He didn’t make sure I was so close to the beat of it. And if I couldn’t see His marvelous behaviors up close I would not realize He had any attraction at all.
I would forever see myself and myself alone. But when God and others prevent me from continuing in that line of death I should be grateful. How much I would miss if I should always see myself in the dim light I prefer!
“Do you think I am trying to make people accept me? No, God is the One I am trying to please. Am I trying to please people? If I still wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” — Galatians 10:10