I’ve grown to love Wednesday mornings, the day my weekly blog is published. I wake to the WordPress notification… “your stats are booming”. I welcome new website subscribers, typically now, people I’ve never met. My personal email inbox is full and public comments begin to hit. My hot coffee tastes even better as I admire my work, and notice my blogs reach and impact. I savor each comment allowing it to stroke me, to encourage me and build me up enough to do it all again.
A flimsy house of cards
Only in hindsight though, did I see the flimsy house of cards that I’d erected. Two days later, still walking tall, a simple, innocuous, off-hand comment from a close friend, gutted me. A criticism. It was minor, probably fair, and she likely meant nothing by it. But it sucked every ounce of air out of my sail. In a blink, shoulders slumped, my writing mojo decimated.
Days later, blowing into my own sail with all my might, trying to get something going… NOTHIN’.
How can a multitude of positives occur and one small insignificant negative completely derail a person, I wondered? I prayed and spent time in the word in search of insight. I needed a spiritual answer to my real life question. And like a petulant child I wanted it now. Frustrated, I shut my laptop and walked away. Inspiration still buried deep beneath the sludge.
I stewed unproductively. Eventually, resigned, in the stillness, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me “WHY? Why do it; why do any of it?” In my experience, my nudges, hunches and whispers from the Lord are not crystal clear answers. More typically they’re like tiny breadcrumbs that He uses to attract my attention to redirect my mind and steps. Knowing His character, I bet the breadcrumbs have been there all along, I’m just too busy striving or too preoccupied to notice them.
Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
I’m an Enneagram 3. According to this ancient spiritual personality test, three’s are ambitious, competent, energetic and overly concerned with what others think of them. Threes are highly motivated to succeed, not for money or power, but rather for validation of their worth. Recognition is their drug.
Of course it’s the aim of my writing to please God. But the enemy is intelligent and looks for our weak spots to pounce.
The applause of my fans captured my attention. And I fell hard. Satan twisted your kind encouragement making it into poison that I depended on to perform. It was like a sugar hit. And an insignificant criticism, caused the crash.
It it true, you can’t change something you don’t own. So here it is, my confession. I love being loved and praised by you!
Lesson wasn’t done
Transparency alone isn’t enough. Transparency that doesn’t lead to transformation is nothing more than self validation. It allows me to hide behind the easy goal of being the best version of me. A goal that remains vague, and defined by what I determine is good and wise. Without transformation I’m in charge and worst of all, my worth is insecure and measured by a fickle world.
So Jesus… “you want a piece of me?” “NO”, My Lord responds, “I’ll fight for ALL of you!”
God wants more from His faithful followers, than nice, striving pretenders. He wants us to yield to His transforming power to reflect the very image of Christ.
Sanctification is the hard and sometimes painful process to accomplish that. The Holy Spirit is at work in us but we have a role to play. Our responsibility is to submit and cooperate and obey. You won’t find those naturally occurring attributes on my resume. Sanctification isn’t easy or comfortable. Even though harder, it’s always better. And, best of all, our worth is measured by the cost the Lord paid for us, the priceless life of His son. In the end, because He’s in charge, sanctification accomplishes holiness, refusing to settle for fleeting happiness.
2 Corinthians 3:18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
Unless you’re an Enneagram 3, perhaps you’re relieved because you can’t relate. But here’s the thing. You have your vulnerabilities and temptations too. And if you’re reading this, I suspect we have more in common than not. My greatest temptation is not to deny God and go rob a bank. My temptation is to pursue loving God on my terms as I try to look like Christ. I do the right things for the wrong reasons. Maximizing comfort and convenience, my goal gets perverted and I scheme to make holiness look a whole lot like happiness.
The result… Much more than just lack of inspiration. A soul of unrest. A flimsy house of cards. A faith built on sand.
The Holy Spirit posed a legitimate question. Why? And in my attempt to figure that out…I see where I fell off the rails. The goal in this Christian life is not to try harder, do more, impress others to think better of me. Rather the goal in this Christian life is for me to look more like Christ. And if others notice me in the process, that should point them directly to Jesus.
While I still love hearing from you, I’m writing for an audience of One. And He’s jealous for my affection. He has no interest to share the throne of my heart.
He asks the same of you…why?
Why do any of it? Why read your bible, why support your church, why pursue friends who encourage your faith, why read this blog? Perhaps you could benefit from some honest soul searching. Look for the breadcrumbs.
Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you for your uncompromising character. Thank you for your relentless love and grace that wants more than just a piece of me. Help me to yield to the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work in my life. Help me to develop the qualities you deem important. Inspire my writing and use this blog for your purposes. Amen.
ONLY For His Glory,
A Servant of Christ, Debbie Hucke
cheryl gish says
An eye opener! We all can learn from this. Thank you. Come Holy Spirit come.
Good to hear from you Cheryl. Come Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lynora Bayless says
Such a good word Deb. If we’re honest, it’s a battle we all face. I think the biggest struggle of my life is to stay dependent on God and not say, through my actions, “I’ve got this.” He made us just enough like Him that sometimes we want to be Him. How would I find that ancient personality test?
Hi Lynora, https://enneagramtest.net/. Here is one version of a shortened free test. My daughter tipped me off to it. It’s popular with college kids it seems. We read the book together… The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan. The book was helpful to understand people we love better, what are trigger points and conditions they thrive in. A new spin on Meyers Briggs. After you take the test, I’d love to know how you scored. I have a guess. 🙂
Anne kole says
Oh Debbie! You have hit me right between the eyes today . When I honestly look at my motives for doing good things and achieving goals, a lot of them are so people will think well of me. And hopefully God will get some of the glory along the way. Shame on me! I am thankful for God’s eye-opening reality check. And I am reminded of Psalm 23:3 which says “He leads me in paths of righteousness for HIS name’s sake.” Not for my praise or reputation, but for his. This goes against my usual thought patterns, and it is hard. God truly wants all of me and I need to pray for him to transform my mind and heart. Only the Spirit can teach me and change me.
Between the eyes… ouch. Anne… I’m delighted this was convicting. And your vulnerable admission delights His heart. For His Glory.
Ouch! So much on target. All of me. Thank you for the inspiration.
Amen Mary. Hope you are healing. Debbie
It never ceases to amaze me how the Holy Spirit works! Ironically, this pass weekend we celebrated Pentecost Sunday and here your words speak of how he convicts us and set our path straight! As you say the bread crumbs are always there and the reaction to criticism can come but our Lord wants all of me. He doesn’t seek our perfection or want us to seek comfort but wants me to sink into him!
Thank you for reminding me to spend more tome with Him!
Thank you for being someone I relate to in my journey with Christ. I must be a E3 too
God bless you always!
Jackie, Here is the free test you can take. https://enneagramtest.net/. Let me know how you score. Enneagram threes UNITE. 🙂 I love how we serve the same God even though we worship at such different churches. Good to hear from you sister.
Paula Koy says
Thank you for your blatant honesty! Your words touch so many & so many of us can relate. We all seek validation of some sort in our human world. But being able to recognize our misplaced goals…is huge! I just thank Jesus that He brings me back on track when I wander. May He continue to bless you & your work!
Paula…. misplaced goals are so subtle aren’t they. Thank God for His grace. Amen.
John Reith says
On target! We need to keep our eyes on the goal, which is that we are in the process of being conformed into the image of Christ. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” The best part of the process is that “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.”
My life verse John. Such a relief! Phil 1:6. Thanks for your comment.
Ginger Horner says
Your message this week really hit the nail on the head as far as I am concerned. I try hard to be a Christ like person but I know I miss the mark. In trying to be more Christ like—who am I trying to please??? Yup–other people. Once a people-pleaser, always a people-pleaser? No! By staying in the Bible and His word we can become more Christ like. Thanks for your blog and reminder today, Debbie, as I know that others are in the same boat as I am and I know we will follow Christ more fully.
I’ve always admired anonymous good deeds. That may be a good antidote for us. Do something for someone that no one will no about. For His Glory.
This was written just for me, I am sure! I so relate and thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. I needed this TODAY! Thank you. Praise the Lord.
Praise God that He had a word for you today. Come Holy Spirit. Thank you Judy.
I have had a tough week too and can really relate! Thanks for your insight – have those 3 tendencies too and it can complicate things to say the least! Thanks so much for sharing!
It’s real for sure and can be so subtle. I’m glad you see the danger. For His GLory. Debbie