Monday, June 4, 2012

Look full in his wonderful face

Galatians 1:10 (NIV)

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Right between the eyes — that’s where this verse hit me. I went into today’s readings open minded about a topic to explore, opened up my choices of scripture and ZAP! — there it was: Am I writing this blog to win the approval of other people, or am I responding to the call I felt to begin the project?

Make no mistake, I’m getting a lot out of this work. For one thing, it has forced me to write every day, something I haven’t done since I was a beat reporter more than five years ago. And that was assignment-driven work, which was professionally satisfying but afford me anything like these posts in the way of spiritual examination. For another, it makes me think far more regularly about not just the kind of parent I want to be, but the kind of Christian I want to be.

I go through three to five readings a day looking for inspiration for the blog. So I read and think about more scripture than I use for writing. Much of it has no direct link to parenting, but it does speak to me on other levels. So even if no one read anything I posted, I’d still be finding value from the effort.

As a writer, I want people to see what I create. The more eyes the better. That’s personal ambition. Yet if what I am writing is God-inspired or simply helps people think about parenting in a new way, then I sort of feel like God might be using me to reach out to the world in a way I’ve never really attempted before. Part of trying to cultivate an audience is attempting to grow demand. If I feel like people are expecting new writing, it holds me accountable and forces me to make time to read, reflect and write.

I do like to see how many people have read a certain post. I enjoy comments, Facebook likes and retweets on Twitter. I want to feel like I am making a difference. And yes, I like the attention. I feel like denying that would be wrong. But I must be cautions of Paul’s own self analysis — if I start trying to please people — or simply myself — I am no longer serving my initial call.

My only option, then, is to continue praying about this project. Just like my parenting (and life in general), my writing here will not be perfect. There will be times when it’s far too much of my thoughts and not nearly enough of God’s. So I have to offer it to God as an imperfect offering and ask for continued strength, wisdom, focus and energy. Not my will for this work, but God’s will.

In addition to the verse from Galatians, I go back to two verses from Hebrews that did not jump out at me nearly a month ago when it came up in the lectionary.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
That brief bit from verse two inspired a hymn running through my head as I sort through tonight’s thoughts: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Absolutely words to live by.

A prayer for June 4:

Lord, I thank you for calling me to work on this project, for giving me direction and focus. It has opened your word to me in ways I had not considered and forced me to look inside myself to decide what kind of father, what kind of husband, what kind of person you want me to be. I pray for your continued guidance and inspiration, that what I write may be pleasing to you and that any discussions that result may be for your glory. Do not lot me focus on me, but help me keep the focus on you and your will. Amen.

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