One of the things I often encourage women to do is Evaluate Everyday Emotions. I’ve learned that paying attention to what sparks my anger, defensiveness, or snarkiness, helps me get to the core beliefs I have about myself and about God. When I notice those emotions, I’ve been asking myself 1) why did I react that way, and 2) what does God want me to know about it.
This process takes a lot of time, energy, and active waiting. It often feels pointless and painstaking, but recently it’s led to a difficult discovery:
I like to be noticed.
Although teaching the Bible, serving in the inner city, and many other things I do, originated with good intentions, I’ve discovered after being hurt doing those things, that my motive can evolve into the desire to be seen and appreciated. So, I’ve started asking God what He wants me to know about that. Amongst many answers, one came when I was reading The Rest of God, by Mark Buchanan. He was talking about how inbred in us it is to do, chase, pursue, and exhaust ourselves, oftentimes, just to feel significant. To be noticed.
To feel like we matter.
And when you read something that brings you immediately to tears, it may be God sweetly whispering – “This is what I want you to know.” I think God was helping me realize that mattering to Him still isn’t enough. Although I want mattering to God to mean more to me than mattering to people does– it doesn’t if I crave appreciation and accolades. But I don’t know how to change that. Even though I know that no pursuit, praise, or platform can make me feel significant, I don’t know how to quit trying to matter.
So, I’ve been asking God for help. I’ve been praying, reading Scripture, and listening for weeks. And recently, I finally heard something.
While journaling and reading my Bible, I thought of a beautiful, successful, and talented friend. I remembered talking to her after she’d been hurt in a relationship. Her posture was hunched, her face downcast, and in her eyes, I saw the weight of her self-imposed sense of inadequacy. I remember wishing she could see herself from my eyes. I wished she could step outside herself and see how valuable (Mt 10:31), capable (Ph 4:13), known (Ps 139:1) and loved (Rm 8:32) she was. That’s when I heard it.
“Laura, can you step outside yourself? Can you see yourself like I do?”
Mark Buchanan said, “In quietness and rest is your salvation, God says. But we want to flee and amass horses, chariots, accolades, pats on the back – just about anything to bolster our sense of security and worthiness.
But none of those things can.”
When I feel unnoticed, unappreciated, and unseen recently, that whispers been challenging me. I’ve been trying to retrain the condemning voices I usually hear and listen instead to God’s voice. I’ve been trying to step outside myself and see myself as Christ does. And so far,
The view is much better from here.