Have you ever tried to reach out to someone but failed? Have you ever tried to help someone, but felt unappreciated? Have you ever tried to do something for God, but it didn’t work?
If so, I totally understand. Many years ago, God brought a young lady into my life, at what seemed the perfect time. During her regular visits to help with my son, I could clearly see she struggled with various life issues. I could clearly see her pain. I could clearly see she had major insecurities. And I could clearly see that I was the one to help her with this. I thought, “God has a plan for me to work on this one”.
Boy was I dead wrong.
I tried and I tried – and I tried some more – to pull her out of her shell. I tried to pour out words of encouragement. I tried to smile all the time. I tried to help her whenever she needed it. I tried to be flexible with work hours. I tried to tell her about God’s love. I tried to be super careful with feedback. I tried to take an interest in her life. I tried to ask her one hundred questions. I tried to offer food. I tried to offer help. I tried to make jokes.
What didn’t I try? I tried it all.
What did I get back? Nothing. Silence. In fact, what I got back seemed to be irritation and annoyance.
I felt so discouraged. I felt devalued. I felt frustrated. I felt angry, both at her and at God. Didn’t God see how much I was doing? Didn’t God know how bad she needed help? Didn’t she see how hard I was trying to be there for her?
This mission was a big FAIL. It failed because I totally missed the point. I am embarrassed to say that I was pursuing another’s heart with completely the wrong motive. It wanted to fix her. This motive left a mess in its wake.
When I felt my love was blocked, I tried a little harder. I gave a little more. I pushed it on her because I didn’t want to be rejected. I was seeking value based on her response. My heart may have been looking to love her at first, but after a couple of rejections set in, I was looking for even more love, admiration and appreciation. This was about “My Mission” not “God’s Mission” and therein lies the problem. The result? I felt rejected and she felt smothered. Not only was she trying to do her job, but she was also trying to satisfy me. We were both frustrated.
When we look to others to fill us and to approve us, we miss God’s plan. We miss his work and his miracle. When we work by our might it turns into a fight. When we work by his might, it is a delight.
So what are we to do?
We are to pray, to listen and to obey – in his timing. We are to trust him. We are to do what he calls us to do, not what we feel we need to do in order to garner a “feel good” response. We are to do our part, independent of other’s reactions. Then, the Lord will approve us as we move forward in his calling. Our love is not reliant on others. It is reliant on God’s love for us. This means, we don’t need to over work or over try. He will give us just the right direction. Our works are for him – and by him.
When we listen, hear and love as he loves, not as we love, we are in his will. He blesses this reliance with our hearts great desire – acceptance, love and purpose.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:6)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (Psalm 27:14)
When we wait, God makes our love great.