Guest post by Ashley Parizek.
Have you ever said yes to something you heard God asking you to do? Encouraging a friend, serving a neighbor, trusting God’s best for your job/finances/spouse/family/kids, starting a Bible study, sharing the gospel? You started with the best intentions. But over time, you realize you now want affirmation for your sacrifice, you are desperate for recognition. You are frustrated because the outcome doesn’t look how you wished it would. Now you want to take shortcuts to get there instead of being patient and continuing to trust the Lord. You don’t want to humbly apologize because being right in this moment would at least make you feel a little less like a failure…
First of all, I want to tell you, you are not alone. You are loved and seen and your hardships are valid.
Second, I want to invite you into a deeper understanding of our fallible hearts and a possibility for growth in these moments. There is a dangerous assumption that our motives will always stay pure because our initial intention is good. Unfortunately, that is not true. This is an area of human weakness that is so important to be aware of, because the “slipping away” can happen subtly and slowly. If our motivations have become impure, we risk acting out in blatant disobedience. So it is healthy to check in with our present motivation and to be honest with ourselves. Asking God to bring us back into alignment with His heart and the initial intentions He placed inside of us.
Now before we spin out into paralyzing fear that halts us from taking any steps forward in our life or shame ourselves into a pit of self-condemnation, take a deep breath… Remember, this is an opportunity to recognize our need to course-correct, not to condemn. Condemnation is never from our loving Father. Remember, He knows us, He knows our condition and our desperate, ongoing need for Him. Recognizing that our motivations can slip away from God, is like swimming in the ocean and knowing you need to check how far you have drifted off every once in a while so you can make your way back to the starting point. It’s a recognition of our humanity.
We cannot maintain pure motives on our own. We will have to confess our anxious thoughts and depend on God to draw us back. Knowing this should feel like a weight is being lifted off of our shoulders. What a relief that we don’t have to hold up a perfect reputation; that when we feel the tension in our hearts towards sin, we don’t have to hide it or be ashamed of our selfishness. We are invited to bring it before the Most High and to allow Him to draw us back in.
Pray Psalm 139:23
So you might consider praying Psalm 139:23 as a rhythm for your life. In some seasons it might serve best as a daily rhythm, but regardless, surrendering our motivations regularly will serve to keep our hearts pure and intentions aligned with the Lord.
What motivations do you need to recommit to the Lord today? What situation in your life has become full of frustration? What dream is clothed in anxiety? Ask Him to search your heart and to know your anxious thoughts. And then receive the peace that comes from walking in step with the One who purifies your heart, who knows you and loves you immensely.