make a careful exploration of who you are.

Friday, February 22, 2013

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." - Galations 1:10

I'll be honest. A lot of the time I slip into that scary place of Sunday morning Christianity (or really, Sunday evening because our Church rents a building that another Church owns, so we have Church at night...but that's besides the point). Or the place of Youth-retreat Christianity. Everyone knows that place. Everyone loves that place where your heart's only cry is for Jesus and Jesus alone. But then. Of course. It's hard to live in Sunday morning Christianity when you have to deal with Monday morning reality. Or is it?

I feel like we as Christians have slipped into an apathetic realization of who we are as the body. I'm not trying to generalize more than I ought and I'm not pointing fingers at anyone (or, if I am pointing fingers, I'm speaking about myself). It's as if we've traded core values for piecemail theology that pleases us at the moment -- splicing and dicing the Bible in order to make our own interpretation of it.

I care about the poor...sometimes.
I donate to charities...sometimes.
Someone else will care for the orphans.
I deserve this new ____.
God didn't call me to here (wherever that may be).

Newsflash. Because we're His, we're called.
God didn't say, you will be witnesses, He said, you are.

And when you're something, you can't be just content to be. You have to do. I wish that that was a duh moment for myself, but so often I find myself needing to continually be reminded of that truth. Otherwise it's like calling yourself a photographer and taking no photos, calling yourself a writer and writing no words, calling yourself a musician and playing no piano, etc...and so on. You get my drift. If we call ourselves followers of Christ yet nothing in our lives point to Christ in us, then we're living out half-hearted Christianity at best.

At the heart of my struggles to totally follow Christ, the fear of others opinions is one of the largest stumbling blocks. What will others think of me. What will others say. What if I come across this way? What if I lose friends / followers / business? What if people don't take me seriously? What if I face persecution?

And then. If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Oof. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around it. But are you sure, Lord...? Really, all of it? Can't I just care a little? If I bought this new dress, I'd be trendy! And if I don't post today, then I'll look like a bad blogger. Or, what if I don't network -- what if people don't like me? And silly things like that. I get so wrapped up in this material world around us and caught into the never-ending cycle of trying to please man, even if it's unconscious, that I lose sight of what truly matters and WHO matters more than anything else. Especially in our current culture, where everything is out there and anything can be shared in two seconds, there's an overwhelming pressure to appear to have it all. And what that looks like is different to some people. Maybe it's having it all together. Maybe it's wearing what's trendy. Maybe it's having a lot of business and shooting everyday. Maybe it's traveling to fancy places or eating green or owning half of Anthroplogie for your home.

And I'm not saying those are bad things in and of themselves. But when the need to impress others and to appear like we have it all replace our need for Jesus and our desire to be more like Him, then it's time to step back. If I am still trying to please man, I am not a servant of Christ. Putting it into present tense makes it all the more real.

I do know this. Doing or not doing things because we're afraid of receiving (or not receiving) others approval is only a waste of our time. Not only that, but it quenches our gifts, nudges us away from total abandonment, and keeps us from complete pursuit.

"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." - Galatians 6:4-5

Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others.
If I am still trying to impress man.

It hits home.

Right now, no easy way to wrap this post up. It's all a bit messy, and that's okay. Still mulling these things over and wondering about them. Meditating on His words. I'd love to hear what's on your heart.


  1. I'm in the same place right now, and actually just wrote some personal words from my heart this morning. It's so, so easy to engulf ourselves with the busyness of everyday life. To read God's Word, but not actively obey Him. Sometimes I feel as though we are such sponges; we go to church on Sundays, Wednesdays, retreats, etc., we soak Him up, but never pour out. Yet we cannot be leaders unless we are learners and growers. We have to abide in Him AND bear fruit. We fear change and man's opinion, yet how can we grow in Him if we aren't transforming our sinful self? If I'm not changing, I'm not growing. It's so much to think about. God's word is so convicting and life-altering.

    1. "...we soak Him up, but never pour out." So true, Jessica!!!

  2. "It's hard to live in Sunday morning Christianity when you have to deal with Monday morning reality." Ohhhh. Yes. I am SO GUILTY of that. On Sunday morning, I'm all, oh, I should pull out my bible / pray more often! And then Monday morning hits and I stumble out of bed with other things on my mind, forgetting to even glance at the bible on my nightstand. It's a terribly convicting thing. Thank you for this.

  3. This is almost exactly what poured out from my heart and into my journal last night. I've been in this place lately, too. Thank you for sharing - good to know it isn't only me. :) x

  4. Oh goodness gracious. This is just exactly what I needed today, right now. I find myself in a place where I am overcome with the glory of Christ and the incredible grace He gives… and I want to shout it to the world. But there's something that's stopping me. It's that voice that says "but what if they're offended by it or what if they reject me?" but I need to remember that if I'm trying to please them, I can't please Christ. Truly being a servant of Christ means to serve him always, especially when we may run into persecution. Impressing man is not the important thing. Impressing man is a pitfall (it is, perhaps, my greatest pitfall). Thank you so much for these words! It's so comforting and exciting how perfectly the Lord plans things; how he can use one of us to encourage another of us in the body of Christ in our struggles.

  5. Thank you so much for posting this - very challenging to me! Sometimes I feel like my Christian life is not as active as it should be - like I'm just existing here in my own little town not really trying to do much for the Lord; not really trying to take His Word forth. And Sunday mornings, we "have it all together" and determine that this week will be "different." And I personally so easily forget the things I learned, and don't meditate on them. So yeah. Thanks again for posting this! :)

  6. This was so good for me right now. God didn't say, you will be witnesses, He said, you are. And when you're something, you can't be just content to be. You have to do. That's exactly what I've been feeling lately, exactly what I've been trying to put into words, but of course you've done a much more excellent job than I could've done.
    And Galatians 1:10. Pretty sure God was speaking directly to ME when He told Paul to write that. Thank you, Hannah, for not being afraid of others' disapproval and writing this post.

  7. Oh this is hard for me to wrap my mind around too. God wants us to live to please Him and not men. Easier said than done. Basically we would be completely humble if we did that. And God seeks after the humble. I want to be more humble. Reading this makes my mind search and think hard. What are my reasons for doing things? I am not to be impressed with myself? I would have a heart of thanksgiving for every thing I'm given, every pleasure, every talent if I began to not be proud of my work. Is that what you're saying? Oh, I'm just having a hard time working through this in my mind. When we do things not to impress others we will be enjoying what we're given and working at using everything for Gods glory.

    I struggle with worrying about what people think of me, but I want to please God more than I want to please men. And i know that God wants us to seek to please Him alone. It's is hard to keep that perspective at all times. Thank you for this post. It's gotten me to think.


  8. This is exactly what I needed to hear. This post is convicting, but oh so true. Thank you for this :)

  9. Hannah, this is beautiful and I am so grateful for your honest words - they really hit home.

    Anne Marie

  10. I feel really convicted + inspired now.

    Thank you for sharing what's been in your heart, Hannah.

  11. that was seriously so beautiful + so honest. i've been thinking over this exact same thing, lately, especially with reading the book "radical" by david platt. who am I living for? when I step back and really take a look at that, I realize most of the time, I'm living for myself/the approval of others/material comforts/etc. most of the time it's not Jesus (or it's Jesus after everything else), and I'm ashamed to say that. I've been really thinking about HOW I can change that in my life, because in all honesty, everything I do should be all for Him. reckless abandonment. that should be my main pursuit.