Thursday, October 2, 2014

Viral or Not...Quit Hustling!


More from the horse camp...

I am participating in this scary, pick-a-topic-and-write-every-day-for-31-days project.  We have a private Facebook page, and the subject came up about perhaps our post or blog goes viral.  A conversation ensued about competition.

Oh...it's that idol of approval/affirmation raising its ugly head.  I did not plan to write about this today, but since it is out there now...here goes.

There is a line in the movie, Luther, where Martin Luther's spiritual father says to him:

We teach best what we need to learn most.

I've never forgotten that line.  You see, I'm not an expert on the topic I chose; I need to integrate it more into my life.  It is an area that God has been speaking to me about the past couple of months, and I have far from overcome.  This is not about competition, but a tool for my own accountability. If God chooses to use it beyond that...I will be humbled...and honored.

So...what about this idol of the approval of or affirmation from others?  

Brene' Brown, one of my favorite social workers has spent twenty years doing research on guilt and shame, writes in her book The Gifts of Imperfection...

When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness—the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging. When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving.

How many of us have done the hustle for worthiness??  :::raising my hand::: I tend to do it more subtly than others (or maybe I'm fooling myself) but I do it.  I compete for "likes" on Facebook or comments on my blog or Flickr with regard to my images.  I sometimes have felt it in the church... either with those I've known for a long time or with new friends.  At times the dance for worthiness in church alone can strangely begin to feel like all of us insecures (and all of us were!) in high school.

You may need to sit down before I disclose this...with all vulnerability exposed.  My walk with the Lord has not been linear.  It's had fits and starts...I've known divorce...my son is severely disabled...my daughter has her struggles...and my story is littered with sin and failure...but also shines of redemption and restoration.

During my quiet time, I came across my story in Ephesians 2.  My true story.  The story I want to live in and own.  Want to hear it?  It might be yours, too!
1-6 It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
7-9 Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving.
This story fits me.  But without renewing my mind with it regularly...I'll fall into pursuit of that approval/affirmation idol...and out come my dancing shoes for me to do that worthiness hustle.  Such a waste of energy, not to mention all the damage it does to my relationships in the wake.

15 comments:

  1. I have been there too, so many times in the the approval/affirmation scene. Very powerful and much needed words!

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    1. Thanks, Cathy! I grew up in a church with a very legalistic mindset...good intentions, but as a very sensitive child it has pulled at my perfectionistic tendencies.

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  2. I love this. I love that way you point out that we put on our dancing shoes for us to do that worthiness hustle. That's not a dance I want to do, but wow.. we do so easily get caught up in it don't we. Thanks for your honest and the sweet reminder. I love your blog and look forward to reading more.

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    1. Jenn - I just saw these images from Saturday Night Fever and the whisper "do the hustle"... I tend to be a very visual person. (Now I can't get that song out of my head..."Do the Hustle.")

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  3. Denise, thanks again for stopping by my blog (Fragrant Ink) today. I'm delighted to meet another kindred 31Day spirit! Thanks also for introducing me to yours. Your vulnerability is refreshing. I love how God works (and is magnified) through our weaknesses -- and we all have them. I look forward to visiting you again soon!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Cathy. I love how God can use the internet for His glory.

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  4. Thank you for this Denise. ..it is all so true and so easy to get caught up in

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  5. Such needful thoughts that you have shared.

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    1. Things I need to hear from time to time...

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  6. This touched my heart. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. You hit the nail. That dance is hard to stop when the music keeps playing so loud.

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    1. Ain't it though? I love to dance...but for worthiness it is an exhaustive futile exercise.

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  8. It is so difficult to let go of the wheel, eh?

    xoxo

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Every comment is read personally by me and is deeply appreciated!