September 17, 2010

Confessions of a Praise-o-holic

I'm writing at Internet Cafe Devotions today. I hope you'll read on and join me there. 

“…for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” John 12:43
Applause. Recognition. Accolades.

I crave kudos. As a writer, graphic designer and creative type, much of what I do is on display. Like a second grader during craft time, I retreat to my creative cubby wielding a keyboard and computer instead of crayons and construction paper. Hours, days or weeks later, I emerge proudly proclaiming, “Look what I made!”

Others aren’t usually as excited by my “masterpieces”  so I’ve learned to temper expectations and savor scraps of praise like gold stars on a spelling test. When I work as a professional, the money I earn speaks for itself. When I voluntarily use my skills as a ministry, payment comes in other ways. A nod in my direction, a “wow” or “well done” is typically all the affirmation I need to live another day—creatively speaking.

A while back I tackled a ministry project bigger than any I’d ever done. It challenged me to use all my creative talents, plus master some new ones as well. I poured myself into the project. I missed meals. I lost sleep. Weary, exhausted and emotionally spent I pressed on to completion and dragged the project across the finish line. And then I waited for the applause.

“Thanks, this is great,” they said. “We really appreciate it.”

Inside I railed, That’s it?! Do you realize what I’ve accomplished? Do you have any idea what it’s worth? Can you see the wounds this project inflicted? I want a parade, a marching band, a float with me on top, a banner proclaiming my greatness. (Perhaps I got a bit carried away.)

And that’s where the enemy spotted an opening. He planted seeds of grumbling. Seeds of discontent. And seeds of anger. My logical side cautioned against nurturing them, but the emotional side eagerly supplied the watering cans.  Read more...


Anonymous said...

a very good post. it really helped me at my present situation. Thank you..

JerryLyn said...

Kelli, I love your authentic, honest words...always. I always feel God's grace pouring out onto from your very personal struggles and joys. It reminds of the depth of our humanness...and our need to seek Him and use everything to His glory. Thank you for the reminders and keep on keeping on. Because your gifts--of writing, of faith, of friendship-- make the world a better place. Jer

Analisa said...

This is so excellent. It is a trick the enemy uses on us often. One day when meditating on why Satan fell from heaven God spoke to me. He reminded me of how wonderfully made Lucifer was. How he was created to praise the Father. Yet when the devil saw how much God was worshipped, he desired that for himself. The Lord said to me my praise wasn't enough the devil wanted followers of his own.

Deep huh. I have struggled more than once just like you on this one. Then I remember God's words. Thanks so much for reminding us all. Our gifts and talents are for the glory of God. When we step back from projects, or a challenging day at work. We can say thank you Lord for your help and the skills you have given me.


Good post, Kelli. It reminds me of a story I read . . .
A missionary couple was retiring and returning home after years of faithful service in Africa. On the same ship, was Teddy Roosevelt, returning from a hunting expedition. As they came to the harbor, there were crowds of people . . . all to greet Teddy. The missionary wife was so discouraged and said to her husband,"Why is there no one here to greet us?" He wisely answered, "Because we are not really HOME yet."

It will be a great day when we get to lay at Jesus feet our small acts of service, eh?


Carmen said...

LOL! I think we've all been there. I once volunteered my time at a church 5 days a week while my kids attended school. I was expected to attend staff meetings and took stuff home to do. Then the pastor wanted to add counseling to my load as an 'unpaid servant', after dismantling the counseling department (I have training in that area). That's when I stopped and took a good look. I think my journey went very much like yours, only it took a bit longer. Wonderful post, Kelli!

Sue J. said...

Thanks for your bold and honest expression of something few are able to publicly admit is an issue! I'm finding September to be a time of struggling with this very thing.

I am more sad than mad, because I know I should be acting differently. I don't even like having this kind of conversation with God, yet I know He's the only one who truly understands the thought process and the depth of what I'm feeling. And, He's the one who needs to hear my confession.

This morning, one of our pastors dissected Romans 14:4, addressing our judgment of others in light of their master. I am humbled to remember that He creates all and the Lord will make stand what He wishes.

I am just ever so thankful that His mercy and patience over me is great.