The Attention and Acceptance I So Desperately Crave

Let me give you a little glimpse into my psychological weirdness.

I like to spend most of my days wearing a giant butterfly costume. Just kidding. Let’s try this again. What I was going to say is that I don’t like to be the center of attention. On my wedding day, I didn’t enjoy the fact that everyone was there just for me and Jen. I don’t like birthday parties in my honor. I would make a terrible politician. Mostly because I don’t know anything about politics, and because my campaign slogan would be: “I’ll get this figured out someday!”, but also because I don’t like being the center of attention. In all honestly, I’m kind of introverted, and I don’t need a whole lot of relational acceptance to be happy. As long as Jen, Charis, and Ella love me, I’m good.

Now here where’s the weird part comes in. In spite of my introverted personality, I crave respect, honor, and attention. I’m a pastor, which means I’m up in front of people a lot. I want people to think I’m a great speaker. I want people to want to listen to me. I want people to read my books and to tell me that, other than the Bible, they’ve never read such an incredibly profound piece of writing, and that, if I wouldn’t mind, please sign this 8.5 x 11 glossy photo. I don’t like to be the center of attention, but I desperately want attention!

I know, weird.

But I don’t think that I’m a total nut job. At least, I tell myself that. Because everybody falls into these categories in some way or another. Everyone wants to know that they are accepted and fit in and are not an outsider. Everyone wants to be noticed in one way or another. That’s why we buy the latest in fashion and get?tattoos?and join clubs. We want someone, anyone, to welcome us. To say that they accept us.

All these longings and desires, which will never really be fulfilled on this earth, point to a day when they shall be fulfilled. Not by other people, but by God himself.

It is written that we shall “stand before him”, shall appear, shall be inspected. The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please God…to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness…to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son – it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is. (C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, 38-39)

I want to labor and live for the day when I will hear the divine approval. No amount of acceptance or praise on earth will ever compare to hearing the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I want my cravings and ambitions for acceptance and praise to point me to the day when those cravings will truly be satisfied by God himself.

Give me one pure and holy passion // give me one magnificent obsession // Jesus give me one glorious ambition for my life // to know and follow hard after you (One Pure and Holy Passion, Mark Altrogge)

+photo by lanier67

Comments

  1. Ajay says

    Thanks for this, I really struggle w/ this and what you described totally describes me. Always need this perspective.

  2. Nancy D. says

    Amen! And oh, oh, oh….that's your dad's song?? About 1/2 a year ago I desparately wanted the words to that song and couldn't find it anywhere. Where can I find the rest of the words? I went to IUP and attended your church 20 yrs. ago while there and came to love it. Only in the last 2 years have I discovered "reformed" theology and am now in a reformed church. God's sense of humor, and his ways of weaving things into our lives is amazing. BTW, I love the song God gave you to share with us — "O what a glorious mystery you are". Our church sings it. There you go — an opportunity to reflect the praise back to the LORD!!

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