A child young and beautiful praising the Lord, hands in the air waving and swaying to the beat of the music, her voice raised for all to hear. A painting of innocence, a wondrous moment of pure delight in life.
Is it possible to taint such a moment. Sadly, the answer to that is Yes. As the child grows up she notices she is being watched and smiled upon by others oowing and awing over her faith. To the point, in fact, that she starts noticing when others are not watching her when she is worshiping. This was my moment last Sunday at worship service. I stopped smiling at my daughter as she worshiped and I entered in to God's presents myself, eyes closed. There was a tap on my shoulder to get my attention, to get my eyes back on her arms raised and this time little dancing jig before the Lord. We were in the front row at church and that was not embarrassing, or what frustrated me and asked her to settle down. No, it was the fact that her innocent worship had turned from telling God "I love you!", to "look at me I know how to worship God."
I love my daughter so very much and I am seeing myself in her when I was her age more and more. She is very needy in the way that she must have approval of her actions and words and when she fails to please others she is devastated.
One of my prayers for her is for God to help her to learn to be Christ centered and not the Center of Attention. How does this process take place? How can I help my daughter grow in Christ and not in the desire to please others?
I looked inside myself and I asked God to show me my journey and how I have come to place him as my Center instead of being self centered and desiring the crowds of attention? Then I found myself asking another question. Does that little girl dancing and doing the right things for all to see and admire still exist inside of me? Has she ever grown up, or is she still seeking out attention, to be heard and seen?
I think as adults we have to be in constant pursuit of God's will for our life. That we need to keep ourselves and motives in check by making sure it is our daddy's attention we are seeking not the world around us. But as I say this I realize that even this can be a state of stagnate growth.
Let me explain in child like terms. Picture a child always seeking attention from her momma. She pouts in the corner, interrupts carelessly because her every need is more important than phone calls or anyone you might be talking to. She cries whether she is hurt or not at even the possible need of a band-aid. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with this. Children will be children; they are growing and learning. Children have parents because they need them. However picturing these moment with my kids, their attempts to get my attention, I realize in those moments their actions do not prompt my desire to stop everything and pay complete attention to them. A pouting winy child is hard to love and adore. Why? Because life is all about them, their needs and their wants, and all about them getting what they want. As adults we know that is not what life is all about, at least I hope we know.
I think as we grow spiritually, as we draw close to our daddy Jesus, we can fall into this child like behavior. We talk to him and tell him things and He listens, but when he speaks and it is not what we want to hear we ignore him. We decide to just keep pouting and wining over not getting our own way and complaining about how miserable our life is and asking him to change it.
The only way for us to change is for us let God grow in our center. For God and his will to be our center. For God, his love, and will for us to be more real than anything the world has to offer, including relationships. When we give our life to Christ it is no longer our own to live. It can no longer be about whether we are comfortable, heard or seen but rather about how God's love can be spread, his word be heard, and His death on the cross to save us lost, be received.
1 Corinthians 14:20 Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly, mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
So how do we go from mere infants in Christ, to living a Christ Centered life? How do we go from always tugging at our daddy's pant leg for attention or desiring the attention of those around us in order to feel good about ourselves and gain a false self worth, to living our lives for the benefit of others and God's glory not our own?
This is the journey I am on through the bible and prayer. Not that I have gone from total infant to adult in the Lord spiritually. I do not believe I have arrived. I think I still say things just to make people laugh, to have a feel good moment, a self pat on the back. Is that wrong? Heart motives are behind everything we say and do. We are all growing and have not arrived to our full potential. I feel like this journey from here to there and remembering the steps in between I have already taken will help me to know the ones up a head I know I still need to take. Perhaps this is a journey Christ is asking you to take as well. If so pray and ask him to show you through his word and life experiences how you can grow and make him more the Center of your life.
Lord let us be less and you more. Lord let you be the Center of our lives. Grow in us from the inside out and help us learn to grow from the stage of needy children to servants of others, being your hands and feet humbly, unselfishly out of our love for the lost, not for an empty pat on the back or smile of approval. Bring understanding of your word and help us keep our dates with you to listen to you speak as we read your word and chat together about it.
Praise you Jesus for teaching us how wonderful it feels to serve you unselfishly with out thought of reward. Praise you Jesus for giving moms and dad's the love their children need even in their most difficult to love moments. Praise you Jesus for being our perfect example of unselfish serving love, and life lived to the fullest for us. Grow me and others on this Journey from Center of Attention to Christ Centered.
Amen in Jesus Name