(Hi! I’ve just begun a “31 Days to Fan a Gift into Flame” series. It’s been so great to seek God about developing my ability to teach the Bible. Right now though, I’m working through a handful of fears that have intimidated me for a long time. Thanks for joining me. I’d love to know your thoughts.)
Fear #2: What do you think?
I’m a words-of-affirmation junky. If you wanted to make me feel like a million bucks, you’d just have to come up with one compliment and repeat it every few minutes. Each time, your words would make me feel like jumping to the moon. I’m not kidding.
Have you ever played “Hot-or-Cold” with a child? You hide a little treasure, and the child sets out to look for it. When you say, “You’re getting hotter!” she knows she’s on the right track. When you say, “You’re getting colder” she changes direction until she hears “hotter!” again. When it comes to speaking, I’m prone to play this game. Sometimes, I rely on other people’s feedback to guide me along. If they like what I’m doing, I’ll do it more… and MORE! If they don’t like it very much, I’ll change direction and do anything to get that affirmation back.
I’m afraid I’ll let people – and not Jesus – fuel my fire of speaking. I’m afraid that if I haven’t heard a compliment in a week, I’ll quit.
When I brought this struggle to my Heavenly Father, he reminded me of a few things:
1. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. If I seek the approval of other people, I’ll be receiving feedback on my outward appearance. If I seek the approval of the Lord, I’ll be receiving feedback on my heart. The Lord is much more interested in a contrite, submissive, and worshipful heart than He is in a sensational speech. I’d prefer His feedback.
2. God gave me the ability to speak for His glory – not my own. When I crave approval from people, I’m serving myself. But when I crave approval from God, I’m serving Him. Compliments, positive feedback, and praise cannot guide me. Christ – and His gospel – must be my lighthouse, my coach, and my reason for speaking in the first place.
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. -Galations 1:10
3. I live by faith in the gospel, which doesn’t change and cannot be improved upon. Regardless of the feedback I receive – be it praise or criticism – my surest measure of “successful speaking” is whether or not I taught the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I have been crucified with Christ.
It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me. Galations 2:20
When people encourage me and give positive feedback, I will savor its sweetness, but I cannot let it become my god. I am praying that all feedback – both positive and negative – results in praise to God and points us to Christ. In good and bad times, may I keep my knees bowed before the One who gave me all things for His glory, and not my own.
How do you face this fear?