A Quiet Heart Is…Not Seeking to Please
I see so much of myself in my daughter. It is really cute when she cocks that hip out and stands just like me or when I watch her in ballet class and remember just what it was like to be in front of that mirror.
It isn’t as much fun when I see my strong willed defiance in her. The way she can argue with a wall. Yep, that’s me, too.
I also see so much I want to protect her tender little heart from. She is so compassionate and caring but that comes with a dark side.
Like me, she is a people pleaser. She just got the cutest little hair cut. She proudly sent off her 8-inch ponytail to help make a wig for a woman who might have lost her hair to cancer treatments. She sports this sassy stacked bob now.
Her main concern, though, is what everyone else will think of it. “Mom, do you really like it?” she asked me at least ten times the day she got it cut.
She also wants desperately to please God. I will never forget when we were having a discussion about a Bible story and I was trying to help her see that God gives us guidelines to live by because He has our best in mind. I asked her to imagine there were no rules and she could do whatever she wanted. A look of fear came over her petite features. “But I want to follow the rules,” she squeaked. “I want to make Jesus happy!”
Oh sweet girl! I want to make sure she understands that following rules isn’t going to make Jesus love her anymore than He already does and that breaking them isn’t going to make her fall out of some sort of favor with Him. I try to talk often, as I did today, with her about how God sees the heart and cares more about knowing us than us following some list of rules.
But I know the source of her fears. They are mine, too.
I daily struggle to focus more on faith than deeds. The aim to please, the way I was taught for so many years to understand the Bible – so much has conditioned me to think I have to do to be some sort of Christian ideal.
There is such a fine line between doing to please and doing out of loving obedience. I have always focused on the second half of Jeremiah 17.10 that says He will “reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
As my daughter and I were talking about the heart today I read the Message version of this verse: “But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind. I get to the heart of the human. I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.”
My need to please lessened it’s grip on my heart a bit when I read those words. God knows our hearts and cares more about the why than the what. If we are staying connected to Him and we mess up, He knows us as we really are. Not as who we want Him to see. Not as who we hope our actions show us to be.
Whether we are six, thirty-four, or seventy-five – this is difficult to understand and hard to do.
Today I am trying, though, to quiet my heart, knowing He sees me. He knows me. And He loves me no matter what.
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