Tag Archives: recognition

Never be Left Out

It’s hard to feel left out no matter how old you are, especially when things like work and church start to feel more like social clubs. We even feel left out of things we wouldn’t even be interested in if we were invited. Somehow we think we should be invited regardless of our level of interest.

I remember when I was a kid, and I would want to invite every person in my class to my birthday party so nobody was left out. My parents would usually set a limit on how many people I could invite, and then my mom would tell me not to talk about the party at school because it might make someone feel left out. Let’s face it, we are going to have times when we are left out and it’s okay. We might be left out of a work meeting, a wedding celebration, or a big decision. While we might consider being left out of these things a disappointment, we should celebrate being left out of other things that our colleagues, friends, family, and neighbors have to deal with. No one ever said, “Wow! God didn’t even think of me when that person was diagnosed with cancer. How dare him!”

Instead of looking at the “what” we were left out of, let’s look at the “why.” The only why we need to consider is that it just wasn’t God’s will. You got left out of a promotion. It wasn’t the right job, the right time, the right boss. You got left out of a group get-together with your fellow church members. You were meant to spend alone time with God or maybe God prevented you from getting in a car accident. Maybe God knew you wouldn’t have a good time.

I recently heard a sermon that convicted me of feeling bitter when God does not live up to my expectations for him. The message was taken from Luke 7:18-35. John the Baptist is in prison, and sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he is in fact “the one who is to come.” The pastor explained that John had more evidence that Jesus was the Messiah than any other living person, and yet he questioned Jesus because perhaps Jesus did not live up to John’s expectations for him. Maybe he expected Jesus to break him out of jail, or any number of other expectations.

Does God not care about you because you get left out? Does he plan on you being alone forever? Does he plan on you making minimum wage forever? Does he want you to feel lonely, rejected, and even unwanted? No. He wants you to feel closer to him than ever before. He wants you to fill up on his love to share it with others. He wants you to share about a time when you were lonely with someone who is feeling lonely or left out now. What you are going through is just a season, and seasons have an end, a transition. Seasons also help nourish the earth in some way, and they will nourish your soul just the same. You will come out of this season of feeling left out with a stronger faith, a more moving testimony, and a whole lot of new friends. People will be drawn to the love of Jesus you reflect after spending all that time with him. No promotion, party, outing, or meeting can create the relationship you grow from one-on-one with the Lord.

One last word of advice, if you feel left out, try inviting people to do things often and accepting invites whenever possible if the invites are to do something that interests you. If you haven’t been invited, perhaps it’s because you’re not around to invite or maybe you are hard to reach. No matter the reason, God is doing something in you during this time, and you need only trust in him to finish that work.

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Bragging won’t Help your Self-worth

In the late 1990’s television show Ally McBeal, Ms. McBeal’s assistant Elaine has a recurring case of inflatable head, not a physical head swelling, but a verbal puffing up of her ego. Feeling nostalgic the other night, I watched a few episodes on Netflix, and immediately felt self-conscious and even a little convicted. I know at times, when I feel I’m not getting recognition, I have resorted to puffing myself up to feel better, to feel accomplished. In the show, the writers even have Elaine’s head physically growing as she brags over her achievements small and large.  Am I just as irritating when I brag? More importantly, why do I find recognition and praise so important to my self-worth?

Pretty much from birth my parents instilled in me a sense of right and wrong, a strong set of morals, especially in regards to keeping my word, integrity, and dependability. If I say I am going to do something, it is very rare that I will not come through. It amazes me that so many people are willing to break their promises. Because of these morals, I have clung to the rules in many areas of my life. I don’t like it when my coworkers don’t do what they supposed to do or when someone at the grocery store cuts in line. In many ways I am like the Jews of Romans 3 who believe that everyone should follow the law of Moses. They believed that since there is this set of rules for Jews, that everyone should follow those same laws in order to be as good as them.

God corrects this thinking, however, in Romans by recalling earlier scripture in verses 10-18 if Romans 3. Paul clarifies in the verses that follow, saying, “…so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” It’s almost like he’s speaking directly to me and fictitious character Elaine. Paul, who by the way, I think also liked to brag, is saying something to the effect of, “By judging others you are only putting that same judgment on yourself.”

When we puff ourselves up, when we brag, we are in turn, subconsciously, putting down others. When we list all our accomplishments without acknowledging others, we are in turn downgrading the accomplishments of others. The alternative is to humble ourselves before God, thank Him for giving us the gifts he has given us to achieve the things we have achieved, and we will start to see appreciation for others flow out of that.

Today’s sermon was “Does my service within the church really matter?” Some people are feeling like it doesn’t, while others might be feeling like their service is the only one that matters. When we look at the bigger picture, it all matters. I work in a hospital five days a week. A hospital operates like a machine. If the doctor is not there, then the clinic could come to stand still, but in the same way, the housekeeper must be there to stock the toilet paper and empty the trash. Each person has an important role in keeping the whole operation running.

Let’s start our week humble to give God the glory, to appreciate each other, and to put our self-worth in God’s hands and not in the mouths of men. Praise God for the many people He uses in our lives, for every one contributed to where we are today.