“Dad, on a scale of 1 to 10, how’d I do today?”
“You know son, I think I’d give you a 9 today! You did an amazing job!! You played hard and never stopped, and that pass scoring the goal toward the end was amazing!”
He stared quickly out the window, down at his lacrosse stick, and then back at me…
“But not a 10?”
“Son, you played amazing today, but no one is flawless.”
Why are we so driven by the one we missed?
We want to be valuable. We are driven toward proving our worth in varying degrees. Not everyone struggles as deeply with this as others, but we do struggle with it to some degree. This is an ancient enemy. In Cain’s anger, he is resolved to prove his worth by displaying his strength to God over his brother Able, and yet again his father is displeased. We’re trying to prove something that in one sense cannot be proven and in another sense has already been proven. Christ will never be more pleased with his people than He is right now. Pleasing the Lord isn’t possible in the ways we are inclined to attempt. As His people, His child, brother, son, heir, redeemer, and friend, there is nothing left to prove, Christ proved it all. We have to rest in that. Pray for that rest. Seek after that rest.
We think the answer to being a people pleaser is to be a God pleaser instead. Are you kidding me. As if it weren’t bad enough that our worth was wrapped up in another flawed person, we now think the answer to that is to turn our sites on proving our worth to the only flawless person in the history of the universe, which He created. Our trust, though itself flawed, is in the one who pleased God on our behalf, Jesus.
We do things we would never entertain had others around us not seemingly given it value. The crowd screams “This is valuable”, and from that, we drink fermented tea, we buy stretch pants that look like something out of Screech’s wardrobe from Saved by the Bell, and we eat the latest burger made from spinach, black beans, and wood-shavings. We’re not just following the crowd, we are dying for the crowd to say “well done!” We have to have our Moby Wrap just right. The fridge has to be full of LaCroix. We have to read what we’re supposed to read and watch what we’re supposed to watch. We have to “like” and “retweet” the right things. Our lifestyle screams “See I’m worthy! I’m valuable! Someone, please tell me I’ve done valuable things!”
We want to hear we’re valuable. How satisfying it is to hear, “Great job!” How rewarding to say “I did it”, and the greater the odds and obstacles the greater the sweetness or bitterness in either overcoming or succumbing. History is riddled with the comeback stories, the against all odds stories, and we package these stories in this “Get back up you can do it” mentality. No one gets a ring for bowling a 299. This is precisely why social media is killing us. How many times have we eye-rolled over the continuous “my life is so perfect” post? We hate these posts most when we are in the midst of our own imperfectionate life. Honestly, I suggest turning social media off most of the week. It’s damaging us whether we are ready to admit it or not. The verdict is still out, but it is changing us. It’s impacting us. It’s depressing us. We weren’t designed to be so globally exposed. We simply cannot keep the pace toward what’s valuable, and it’s robbing us of joy.
Rest in the promised grace given you to rest in the promised grace given you. There is nothing left to prove, Christ proved it all.
BY JOSHUA WHETSTINE – NORTH AMERICAN MISSION BOARD CITY MISSIONARY FOR MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL.