Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Problems with Being Impressive

As women, it's not easy to choose to be vulnerable. It's not easy to choose to invite those people over instead of worrying what they will think of the house. It's not easy to offer the dinner invitation because they might not like the food. It's not easy to reach out to people because we can't control their reaction to us or what we can offer. 

As a woman, I know that we want to appear competent to other women especially. We seem to have our own special code that excludes men that we use to judge ourselves and other women.  "I abide by these standards and convictions. I (do or do not) work an outside job. My home is always immaculate. My hair is never out of place." These lists always- and only- highlight the ugly sin of pride. Truthfully we don't have anything to offer in ourselves. There is nothing impressive about any of us. And that's the point; God wants to get the glory for all that is done through our lives. 

Impressing other leads us away from our priorities. It's easy to let go of the important things because they are not valued by society. We leave our small children to go work a job (I know, this is not always wrong, but often our motive is.) Our society does not value the work of a mother, or a father for that matter. My children, and this work God has given me, are important because He says so. 

We would spend extra time cleaning our home to impress another woman instead of resting so that our spirit could better reflect Christ. Our home is clean, but it's lived in. It's not a museum to impress people; it's a home where our family grows. And sometimes that rest is necessary for my spirit to best reflect Christ. But taking a short nap doesn't display the best "busy-ness" that "Oh, I haven't sat down in hours in preparation for your coming" does. 

We skip our Bible reading for about anything because who really thinks we are impressive for being women of the Word? And yet, there is nothing more important for success at this work we are called to than being faithful to the Scripture. (Josh. 1:8)

Impressing others does not emphasize Jesus. We want to control our image; we want other to view us with admiration. What about Jesus? What about desiring for Him to be glorified in our lives? All that focus on me does not push others toward Jesus with my life. Yes, we prepare for our work. Yes, we schedule our rhythms and adjust our day to the demands. But why don't we quit pretending that we are perfect? Quit pretending we have it all together and point to Jesus. Jesus is what makes anything work. I am nothing special. My rhythms, my work habits, nothing about me is special. It's all based on principles of God's Word and God can work that same transformation for you (and it will probably look different). I want my life to point others to Christ, not to myself. 

I want to be a blessing to others instead of trying to impress them. That might mean opening my home when it's not perfect. After all, her home isn't either and that might be encouraging. It might mean taking a meal that's not 100% homemade or organic. I might drop by with pizza or a frozen casserole, or a gift card.  It might mean I share a book title that's been helping me through some questions instead of pretending that I have all the answers. It might mean I offer openness and acceptance even if I don't feel accepted or liked. 

When we take our eyes off ourselves we can see others. We can see their needs, their insecurities, or at least know they are there regardless of what cloak they try to hide them behind. We can look through the eyes of Jesus. We can lose our pride, our snobbishness, our self-centeredness, and offer what we have been blessed with instead of withholding it out of fear. 

May we lose sight of ourselves and focus on Jesus. And through Him, really see the other people in our lives. 


  1. Thanks for the encouragement, I needed the reminder. It's so easy to get caught up in the ideas that we need to do this as well as so and so, etc. When I was in high school, I read Gal. 1:10, where it asks if we are seeking to serve God or man. That verse has challenged my perspective for years.

    I have found it really easy to get into the trap of comparing myself to others as I struggle with CFS (chronic fatigue). It's hard to accept that I just plain cannot keep up with all of the housework and work and etc., but God gives us freedom from that trap. What a gift!

    Praying for you and the baby (and the rest of the family). :)

    1. God's full of gifts, isn't He? I have to remind myself of these things over and over; that's why I write them! I love the reminder of that verse in Galatians. I didn't even think about that one! The Bible is so rich!

      And thank you for the prayers! I really appreciate them. We are praying for you too!