Looking for Love

After a few years… you will know that your deep and insatiable desiring came from God all along, [that] you went on a bit of a detour, looked for love in all the wrong places, and now have found what you really wanted anyway.

~ Richard Rohr, ‘Breathing Under Water’

“Set your heart on the kingdom and his goodness, and all these things will come to you as a matter of course.”

Matthew 6:33 (Phillips)

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

“Do you think you are a people pleaser?” He asks. I hesitate.

“I think abuse… makes you behave in a certain way. You always put your feelings last. It’s taken me a long time to not be like that, but I used to be, definitely.” I say.

Later, the words echo around my head. Do you think you are a people pleaser? Do you think you are a people pleaser?

I am puzzled. Why has this question stuck and no other? I know my motives are not based on approval from others. Not any more. In fact I’m quite indifferent, although I always do try to consider how someone is feeling. I’m hyper-aware of other people’s feelings. I hear a tiny voice in the back of my head, asking the same question over and over. Behind it is another question, but I don’t want to acknowledge it.

All day the question pops into my head. Finally, I talk to God about it, aware that I can’t hide from whatever is lurking behind it. It is as if God now asks me, “Do you think you are a people pleaser, Sandy?”

“Well, no.” I reply in my head, “Doing things because I want the approval of people is not right, not for a follower of Christ.”

Again the same question, “Do you think you are a people pleaser?”

I finally allow myself to look at what’s been hiding behind this repeated phrase, and give answer, “No, but I am a ‘God pleaser’.”

 Drat!

Is being a God pleaser a bad thing? No. Yes. It seems to be the best of motives. It can so easily be mistaken for the best of motives. The trouble is I know full well that nothing I do, and nothing you or I or anyone could ever do, can earn God’s love or even His attention. Not even Jesus earned His Father’s love. God doesn’t want a desperate-to-please puppy dog. That’s not relationship. That’s not love.

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Image from idpinthat.com

 

 

So what does love look like?

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve [got] nowhere. So no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

1 Corinthians 13:3 (The Message)

Having the Right Heart

Amaziah… reigned for 29 years in Jerusalem… He did what was right in the sight of the LORD, yet not with a true heart.

2 Chronicles 25:22 (NRSVA)

file When [God] had removed [Saul], he made David their king. In his testimony about him he said, “I have found David, son of Jesse, to be a man after my heart…”

Acts 13:22

…wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 

James 3:17

Serving God is not about getting it right all the time. It’s about having the right heart – a yearning for the goodness of God alongside a knowledge of my own flaws. Jesus said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” precisely because of this. He knows we will make wrong choices, but loves us anyway.

God is always good (even though we are not).

Haitch as in ‘Orse

“Now,  what’s the matter?”

“Oh, it’s silly I know but, well, I just don’t know how to make a soufflé.”

“Is that all? I’ll help you, Miss – er..?”

“Dubois. Martine Dubois.”

“Percival. Percival ‘iggins. Haitch, high, egg, egg, high, enn, ess.”

“Higgins.”

“No, no, no: ‘iggins. The haitch is silent, as in ‘orse.”

~ ‘The Chef that Died of Shame’

Hancock’s Half Hour (radio), 1955

Despite the fact that Tony Hancock died before I was born, I have long been an ardent fan and was thrilled to find the complete (surviving) episodes of series one and two on audible.com. Some of the humour may be dated, but much of it is as funny as ever, like the extract above, delivered in the usual deadpan style.

Humour seems to live in symbiosis with sadness. I wonder why. I recall going through a very dark phase a few years ago where the only thing I could tolerate was humour, most notably Christian author Adrian Plass and his Sacred Diary series. It was an essential part of my recovery. Nowadays, after I’ve listened to my daily dose of Old Testament, New Testament and Christian book, I love a bit of humour. It’s like the perfect dessert. Keeps me going till the next meal.

A heart full of joy and goodness makes a cheerful face, but when a heart is full of sadness the spirit is crushed.

 Proverbs 15:13 (AMP)

Motives: A Bit Skew-Whiff

Dear God

Please help me to not have wonky motives. I know I can be like that sometimes. A lot. I want to be so in love with You that my motivation is always about You, instead of me. Only I’m a bit wonky, so I need You. A lot. Thank you.

Sincerely

Sandy xxx

 

The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out. But I, GOD, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.

~ Jeremiah 17:9-10 (The Message)