Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Whose approval are you seeking?

This month has been a significant change of pace from the busy summer we had traveling. We haven't had many weekend plans and have been able to get to sleep early on weeknights. In short, it was exactly the type of month I knew we needed, so we could rest physically and mentally.

However, have you ever been looking forward to downtime or relaxation only to find yourself uncomfortable in the quiet? I realized this weekend that I was frustrated with not having a "plan of action" for Saturday or Sunday. Come Sunday night I couldn't point to anything I had "accomplished" other than having a few friends over Saturday night and going grocery shopping.

Why couldn't I accept the gift of rest? Why was I uncomfortable with the quiet?

I joined the She Reads Truth community yesterday, and we are reading through the book of Galatians. The verse that stuck with me all day: "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10).

I think most people can connect with the struggle of seeking others' approval. Whose approval was I seeking by being restless during the blessing of a relaxed weekend? Why do most of us feel like we need to point to an accomplishment at the end of the day... or maybe only people (like me!) with "Achiever" as their number one StrengthsFinder theme have this struggle?

Needless to say I was convicted by the Galatians verse above and reminded about a sermon I'd listened to that morning on Luke 10:38-42: The story of Mary and Martha. (To read the verses, scroll to the bottom of this post.)

The majority of times that I've heard this passage explained it centered around not preoccupying ourselves with busy-ness. But it's so much more than this. During this time in history, Martha was doing exactly what was culturally expected of her: making dinner preparations and serving guests. What was shocking, as John Ortberg points out in Who Is This Man?, is that Jesus calls her to learn and be a disciple instead - which was solely a man's job in this day.

Jesus isn't telling Martha not to serve; He's uncovering her real intention behind serving. Be bold. Understand why you are serving. It's pointless if you're only "serving" others to ultimately serve yourself. To prove you have what it takes. To show that you can be the best host. To get others' approval or attention... there are so many reasons that our service toward others is because of selfish motives.

What is your heart seeking when you serve? Seek first the kingdom of God, not an earthly righteousness to prove your worth.

Mary and Martha: Luke 10:38-42
"Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” 


  1. Beautiful post. Make sure you link to it on "She shares Saturday"!

  2. Found your post through She Shares - beautiful post. I share both your "achiever" tendency and a struggle with the quiet when rest finally arrives. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Thanks for you comment, Amy - and your encouragement that I'm not the only one who struggles with this!