While I was spewing instructions to the boys today, I heard myself say, "I don't care about how many toys are on the floor, I care about your attitude and whether you are working with cheerful hearts." My own words hit me like a fat piece of humble pie, right on the face. "I am not looking at the toys on the floor, darling, I am looking at you."
The boys were discouraged that despite their effort, toys and messes kept appearing on the floor (how this happens we will never know). I knew how they felt. I was discouraged about the six loads of laundry that have yet to be folded, my preparation for the upcoming conference continued to be delayed, the schedule was not kept, baths were not given, diapers were not changed, the car needed to be fixed, dinner still needed to be made.
But the Lord was not looking at the mess, he was looking at me.
There is sometimes a great temptation to make our prayer and worship to be about us.
Lord, look at all that I am doing for you! Look at all that I am sacrificing! Wasn't that a good prayer? Look at all the good things I am offering!
But the Lord is not looking at my sacrifices, he is looking at me.
Obedience is better than sacrifice. Obedience requires faith. Faith that seeks understanding, faith that may not yet fully understand.
Hans and I hardly got a wink of sleep last night. The boys took turns crying throughout the night for different reasons, and before I knew it, the sun was up. At breakfast, I was ready to give up. I felt perfectly justified to be perfectly unpleasant and unkind. My less favorable option was that I could carry on and fulfill my duties—cheerfully. But I didn't want to be cheerful. From where I stood, I couldn't see where joy and energy and motivation would come from.
The Lord wanted me to trust him, not because I know how everything would turn out, but because he is faithful and he is mighty—to work in my heart, to work in the children's
hearts, to work in and through the
circumstances of our lives for his glory.
The Lord is not looking at the mess, he is looking at me.
Is my heart seeking after him and his purposes? Am I carrying out my tasks with a cheerful, non-freaking-out attitude? Am I working for his glory, or for my own glory? Am I working to serve others or to serve myself?
Instead of looking at the mess, I need to look to the Lord.
I need to look to the Lord, because they are watching me.
I need to look to the Lord, so they would look to him with me.