“Watch me, Mommy! Watch me, Mommy! Watch me, Mommy!” My daughter’s words invade my far-away thoughts, bring me back to the present, and I turn from the kitchen sink. With outstretched arms she twirls and twirls until she falls into a heap of tangled limbs and giggles. I laugh and clap and return to the dishes. “Again, Mommy, again.” She repeats her trick and once again I applaud her performance.
She lives for my applause.
Too often, I find myself doing the same. I do things for the praise and applause of others. I long for their kind words and approval of my actions. Again, the words of Dallas Willard convict me:
“One thing that will block or hinder a life that is constantly interactive with God…is the desire for having the approval of others.
There is nothing inherently wrong with being known… the issue here is one of intents and purposes… not are we seen doing a good deed, but are we doing a good deed in order to be seen. In any case where we use, on ourselves or others, promised recognition as a motive for doing what should be done for its own sake, we are preempting God’s role in our life.
Our intent is determined by what we want and expect from our action. When we do good deeds to be seen by human beings, that is because what we are looking for is something that comes from human beings. God responds to our expectations accordingly. When we want human approval and esteem, and do what we do for the sake of it, God courteously stands aside because, by our wish, it does not concern him. God does not like to be present where he is not wanted. And he knows when he is wanted and when he is not.
On the other hand, if we live unto God alone, he responds to our expectations – which are of him alone.”
If I live my life as if only one opinion matters, my expectations will be of Him alone.
Dancing for all of the various audiences in my life is exhausting, and unlike my daughter, I will fall in a tangled heap of tears.