October 17, 2014

Living by Scorecards {Is No Way to Live}

I didn't give much notice, but I've started sending out an occasional newsletter. (Occasional is the operative word.) I decided that I'd like to be able to communicate with you, my blog readers, in another way besides the blog, a way that feels a little more intimate, for those who want that sort of thing. Below is the post from the newsletter I sent to email subscribers this past week. In the future, I won't share this exclusive content here, only in the newsletter. However, it offers an example of what you may find in future newsletters, along with book recommendations, links to other blogs that I love, and, eek!, special offers related to the release of From Good to Grace in March. If you subscribe to this blog in any way other than email and would like to get future newsletters so you can be privy to these sorts of things, you can sign up here. I would be so grateful. And now back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Last Wednesday I sat on my back porch with a 20-something girl I'm discipling and we shared with one another the core lies we believe that lead us around life like a dog on a leash. At least that's how it's felt to me lately--leashed, chained, led to places emotionally that I don't care to go.

Our core lies, as the author Sarah Mae says, are based on what we put our worth and value in apart from God. They cause us to self-protect, build walls, and leak venom. And they block us from loving God and loving others.
I looked up at the young woman and spoke my lie out loud. I am only as loved as my performance. My examples could go like this: I must maintain relationships (and I am always the responsible party) or I won't be loved. I must be conscientious or I won't be loved. I must meet the expectations of others or I won't be loved. And my flip-side examples could go like this: If I am responsible enough, I will be loved. If am a good enough friend, I will be loved. If I do what I think others want me to do, I will be loved.

When I process this with my husband, he said, "You live for the scorecards. And that's no way to live." That's it exactly, I thought. It's usually subtle and subconscious, but when I'm not doing well emotionally, I perform and then look for the scorecards to go up as a validation of my performance. The thing is, life doesn't offer many scorecards. Life isn't an excel spreadsheet where little formulas make calculations of our worth. Life isn't meant to be performed for results; life is meant to be worship.

I had to think about my husband's pronouncement further. After all God has done in my life, why do I still sometimes live for the scorecard? Why do I still fall for this core lie that I am only as loved as my performance? I mean, I truly have come to a place (a place I never thought possible) where I believe with all my heart that God loves me because of Christ. I believe He actually delights in me, and that He delights in each of His children who have trusted Christ.

And then a sneaky little question rose up in my heart: Is it so wrong to want others to love me?

I could see my heart in that question. I know God loves me, but I fall for the core lie when my desire to be loved by others trumps the knowledge of God loving me. I make idols out of the love of others (not to mention my performance and abilities). And when I make gods out of others, they crumble under the weight of such expectation, because they aren't meant to stand under it, and I grow frustrated and resentful.

But when God's love is my sole desire? When I rest in the completeness of His love for me? What love others give me is such a blessed, joyful gift to receive. I'm able to love and be loved in return, without the crumbling weight of expectation.

Where there are no scorecards to be found.

Let's live as loved by the best Lover today.