Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday, Fourth Week of Lent: Remembering who I am

“He professes to have knowledge of God and styles himself a child of the LORD.” – Wisdom 2:13

“I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” – John 7:29

I recently did an inventory on my life to look at how much time I spend trying to get people to accept, like or praise me. The results were unreal. I was shocked to learn that nearly half the things I do on a typical day are motivated by an insatiable desire to be accepted, liked or praised. I’d like to share three of those places in my life so that perhaps you might relate.

My job – Sure, I absolutely love my job, but when it comes down to it, so many of the things I do are not out of a place of freedom. So often I am doing things to uphold my reputation, to “look good.” Lord, help me to look to you as my only motivation in my work.

My prayer – This is a strange one to admit, but I reached the conclusion that at least half my formal prayer times were done because I didn’t want to let down the Lord. I suppose this isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it does show that even my prayer can stem from a place of fear. Lord, forgive me for not fully accepting the reality that you have no expectations for me.

My friends – I was able to see that I have been staying in touch with certain people only because I don’t want to disappoint them if I cut them off. That isn’t love, I realize. Fear of disappointing my friends leaves me unfree to love them fully. Lord, I need you to help me be authentic in my relationships.

I am fully convinced that the overwhelming drive to be liked is always a result of forgetting where I am from. It’s that simple. While we believe Jesus was without sin, this does not mean that Jesus may not have felt that inner tension about wanting to be liked. He was human after all. But he stands as our lasting symbol of freedom because he found a way to remember the deeper Truth: “I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” Over the course of his life, Jesus must have learned how to pray in a way that would help him remember who he was in the eyes of his Father. And in remembering this, he was free to be completely himself, even at the risk of disappointing quite a few people. Lord, teach me how to pray so that I can remember who I am.

Tony Cortese

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