I have always identified with the elder brother (Luke 15:11-32). I’ve always been a rule follower, and have also always craved recognition that I’m doing the right thing. It doesn’t have to be something big – even just a recognition that I cleaned my room before I was asked, worked hard in school, etc. I know I’m not perfect, but can you please tell me that I’m at least a good person?

And then came last Thursday night, when I came home sobbing from my first mini-trial. For some reason, the professor had it out for me that night. I couldn’t do anything without getting a comment from him in his condescending tone of voice. I walked out feeling absolutely awful. Sure, I made some stupid mistakes. But I had put work into preparing, and I felt like he thought I was an idiot and didn’t know anything. You don’t have to tell me that I’d make a good trial lawyer – but can you just recognize that I’m doing my best and trying to learn?

There was another thing that bothered me, though. I knew that I had prepared and did my best. So why was I so upset about what the professor thought? In the grand scheme of life, his opinion doesn’t matter.

And remember the first point on my contract with myself?

I will work as unto the Lord, not unto man.
Colossians 3:23 – And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.

By far, this has been the hardest provision to keep.

On Thursday night, AnnaGrace prayed and thanked the Lord for allowing that particular professor be my observer, and for allowing him to say the things that he did. All I could think was, “Why, Lord?” I know He’s using this to make me more like Him, but I sure wish it didn’t have to hurt so bad sometimes.

As I reflected on Thursday’s experience over the weekend, I realized that I crave man’s pleasure. I want human recognition that I’m doing a good job. In doing so, I cause myself a lot of undo stress. If I’m doing the best I can and working unto the Lord, what does man’s opinion matter? 

The sermon on Sunday was perfect. The pastor was preaching on Mark 2:18-3:6 and the topic was restlessness. He said that Jesus’ point in the three stories in this passage is to teach us that the greatest barrier to our rest is trying to be good enough. Our work doesn’t make us worthy of rest; Jesus’ death on the cross did that.
I’ve been mulling over these verses the past couple of days – I’ve been reading 1 Peter over and over again for several weeks now, and it never ceases to amaze me how I see something new every time.

1 Peter 4:1-2
Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the 
same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.
As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for
evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
This is what I want my life to look like. I want to live for the pleasure of God, not of man. I want to find my worth in Christ, not in anything that I have done.
I want to be untethered from my desire for man’s approval. 

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