I was at a concert recently and while we were waiting for the band to come out on stage a friend was singing the equivalent of a college fight song, over and over again. It was actually very humorous. Every time there was a lull in the conversation, she started up again, “We’ve got banners on the wall…”
Now, I had never heard this song before but it ended up sticking in my head and a week later, it’s still popping up! It’s amazing how something can be repeating in your head over and over without you even realizing it. It’s not a big deal when it’s a college fight song but some of the thoughts that rattle around up there are not so innocuous. Most of the time, I don’t really pay much attention to the running dialogue in my head. It’s kind of like my fan at night. White noise.
But every so often I really listen and it disgusts me. I’m reminded of a fuzzy lyric from my childhood memory (it may not even be the actual lyric)…I think it’s from a Keith Green song. Something like, “I wanna thank you Lord for being patient with me, Oh it’s so hard to see, when my eyes are on me.”
Yes! How can I keep my eyes on Jesus when I’m so busy thinking about myself? Most of the time I’m beating myself up. I’m telling myself I really suck at certain things. I’m berating myself cuz I lack the willpower to make a real change. I’m wondering if people think I’m strange or too loud or annoying. Enough already! Who cares?
The ironic thing is that when I let myself go there…when I allow myself to be concerned about what others think of me, I miss the fact that they are probably in the same boat. They’re not thinking about me…they’re likely wondering what I think of them! It’s so silly. And it’s an effective strategy of the enemy. He would love to keep me so distracted by my failings that I’ll never be free to accept the grace that has already covered over those failings. Tricky devil!
“My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) If I believed that, I wouldn’t be so hung up on my hang ups. I would get out of God’s way and let him use me more. I say, “Enough!” I’m tired of the inward focus! If I’m looking inward all the time, I’m missing God. I’m missing the hurting mom at the next table who just needs an encouraging word. I’m missing the middle-schooler who thinks she’s not good enough. I’m missing the husband who works so hard that he doesn’t see his kids for three days and it’s eating him up. Well, no more. I’m done.
A friend wrote a song that has one of my all-time favorite lyrics in it. And this is my new anthem; “Yours will be the only name that matters to me. The only one who’s favor I seek. The only name that matters to me. Yours is the name, the name that has saved me. Your mercy and grace, power that forgave me and your love is all I’ve ever needed.” (The Only Name- find at iTunes here.)
And that is all I need. His love, His approval. Period. The rest will fall into place from there. How comforting it is to realize that. The beauty of it is that he is easier to please than people are. Because he goes straight to the heart. He never misunderstands or misjudges us. If I truly desire in my heart to please him, THAT pleases him. Even if I don’t do it perfectly…he applauds the motive and offers to help me with the execution.
And I don’t have to earn his love, he gives it freely and unconditionally. Really think about that. It’s amazing! Nothing you or I do can make him love us more or less. Don’t you find that incredibly freeing and refreshing?
I don’t know about you, but I constantly need to remind myself of this truth. It’s so easy to fall back into worrying about what others think. But seriously, I’m making a commitment to stop it. Next time I listen in on the thoughts in my brain, they had better be about someone else. Or the fight song…I guess that’s okay too. 🙂