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For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10 (ESV)                                                                                                                                                                                 

Less of me, more of You.  That has been my prayer.  See friends; I am woefully prideful.  I constantly war with it.  Less of me, more of You.  It has become my mantra of sorts.  Less of me, more of You.  I don’t think I fully comprehended what I was asking for until I found myself privy to a little event that no one else will even remember.

It had been a long day at Natalie’s craniofacial clinic.  There was a lull between our doctor visits, so we were sent out to the waiting room.  There was one specific couple that I had been watching all day.  They cradled an infant, indicating they were new to this, and eagerness marked their faces – evidence that they were mustering up the courage to talk to some of the seasoned veterans (ahem, me).

I plastered a big smile on my face and gave them my most welcoming and knowing look.  They politely smiled back, as they walked up to a different family and introduced themselves.

Hi, my name is Suzie, and this is John.  We just had a baby born with a cleft lip and palate.  We were just wondering if you could share your story with us and answer a few questions.

I deflated.  I wanted them to chose me.  I wanted to tell our story.  I wanted to wow them with my wisdom and insight.  Instead, I was overlooked.

I began comparing.  I was taking stock of all my assets, and no matter how I stacked them, I came up short-handed.  Why were they so much better than me?  What makes them so much more desirable?  I became engulfed in a fog of jealousy, self-doubt, and pity.

For a while, I was so blinded by emotion that I could not see the happenings around me. But, my pity party was soon interrupted by an irate father on his cell phone.  He was furious, and he was letting everyone know it (by the use of colorful language with little regard to the children around him).

Earlier in the day, I overheard the man make another call.  It was to his ex-wife.  He wanted her to know that she was late for her son’s appointment.  She never came.

Now the father apparently lost it under the weight of the grueling day.  He had other places to be.  His son had other appointments to go to.  His ride didn’t show up.  His ex-wife didn’t show up. He was stranded with his son. I imagine he felt embarrassed and helpless. He didn’t have time for the hassle he was experiencing, and he lost it.  He had to resort to screaming profanity on a cell phone in the middle of a waiting room because that was all he had left.  (Given the same set of circumstances, I am not sure my reaction would have been much different.)

It wasn’t the angry man that held my attention, though.  It was his son.  He was nonchalantly reading a book as if his father’s temper tantrum was par for the course.  The boy was completely unfazed. His hard expression whispered of his hard life, but his mannerisms were gentle and caring, and so fragile.  There was also something about him that bore a strong resemblance to my very own son.

My heart stings were fiercely tugged.  I know that look.  I have worn those shoes.  I had to do something…but what?

Immediately, I was answered. “Pray for him.”

What!?  You just want me to sit here and pray?

You don’t want me to self-righteously stare down my nose at the father, while covering my little girls’ ears as I tsk-tsk and shake my head at the poor, unfortunate circumstances of this little boy, in hopes of shaming his father into better behavior?

You don’t want me to try and catch the boy’s eye – to give him and wink and a nod and let him know that he isn’t his father and that no one is judging him?

You don’t want me to give that little boy a hug and try to mediate for his father, so I can swoop in with my cape and tights and be a hero?

You don’t even want me to regale anyone with my witty stories and charisma as a distraction from this deteriorating scene?

“Pray.”

Can I at least just offer them a ride? I make a splendid martyr.  I can sit here with Natalie so that she can finish her visit.  Nate can chauffeur them where they need to go.  People will see my good deed and like me.

I mean you, God.  They will like you.

“Less of you.  More of me.  Pray”

God heard my prayer and wanted to make me less.  Right there, in the little corner of a waiting area of a large clinic, He used my words, and He broke me.  He told me to shut up, sit still, and let Him handle it.  He said that He would answer my prayers, even if I don’t fully comprehend what I am praying for.  He showed me exactly who I was – a pleaser of man, not a servant of God.    I prayed for forgiveness, and I prayed for that little boy.  The truth is, I can’t stop praying for that little boy.

And that little boy will never know it.  He will never know me.  God will move in that boy’s life, according to His will, exactly as I have prayed, and on Earth, I will never get accolades for it.

Which is exactly how it needs to be.

I wanted acclaim.  I wanted esteem.  I wanted people, whom I thought were worthy, to like me; therefore, increasing my worth by association.  I want applause for saving the day.  I wanted to show people how good I was.  I needed their approval to increase my value.

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,  Colossians 3:23                                                                                  

God showed me his grace, mercy, and love that day.  I know this seems lame.  I know that it sounds like an insignificant event.  But it changed me.  God used those events to minister to my heart, because He loves me.  Through Him, I am worthy.  Through Him, I have value.  I don’t need to seek the approval of man.  I just need to open my heart to The One who saved me.

 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.  1 Timothy 1:15

This is me, becoming less.  (Pray for me, friends.  This is hard.)

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