– Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator
I didn’t even know they existed. Then slowly, during the Battle for the Heart process I came to realize they were there, and have been since a young age. Though unintentionally inflicted by other people, they are wounds that have been with me for as long as I can remember.
“Striving to hear well done”
I have always desired to excel in everything that I did. I thought this came from a desire for excellence. However, I now realize that from early childhood I was taught by my family and friends that if I was successful, particularly at sports or academics, then I would receive love and praise.
For more than 20 years I pursued excellence and achieved it in many ways, thinking that would bring satisfaction. But I found it to be a dry well and, in the end, it gave no real joy.
I had a deep longing to hear “well done” – A desire I discovered through the Battle process that was put in me by God. But because of the message I received from others, I believed that I had to be successful in order to get this longing satisfied.
That striving to hear well done transferred over into my spiritual life as well. Unbeknownst to me, I began to view God as a God who would give me praise and approve of me if I was successful. From my perspective, success in the mission field meant thousands – if not millions -of people were coming to know Christ and giving their lives to our savior. I began to believe that I would only hear well done from my Lord if I achieved that.
But is that the Gospel?
“Resting as the beloved”
I’ve come to recognize that these scars have caused me to try to earn my own praise instead of believing that I was chosen by grace and saved by grace, not as a result of my work but His work on the cross. In those moments when I am tempted to fall back into old patterns of thinking, I have been able to turn to the Lord and surrender that desire. I have begun to look to Him and say, “Father, I’m desiring to hear you say well done. I want to trust that you have good intentions toward me.” As I do that I am able to rest in the truth that he loves me and says to me, “Well done. You’re my beloved son.”
This has completely changed my outlook on my relationship with God. It has completely changed my outlook on the work that we do on the mission field. No longer do I feel like I’m laboring for a king, as if to earn his praise and his approval. But instead, out of the joy of being approved, I labor.
“Are you living like you’re already approved or trying to be approved?”
One Step Further:
- Perhaps you are saying to yourself, “I know that I know that we should live out of an already approved heart rather than trying to be approved.” But does what you think you believe truly match what you live out of on a day to day basis? What do your actions and reactions reflect about your true beliefs?
- Are there areas where you need to repent and surrender the desires of your heart to Him to be met only by Him?
- Will you trust that He’s a good Father?
- If not, what is holding you back and keeping you from trusting Him?