Measuring the Negatives
Some things we do without even trying. For me, “measuring” is one of them.
I measure myself constantly. Through inner dialogue, I judge my performance, productivity, and potential as a Christian, wife, mother, daughter, friend, Bible teacher, speaker, writer, mentor, and so on. Most every role I have comes under inspection.
Am I ………
In my flesh, the cup seems to stay half-empty because there is ALWAYS some aspect where I should be better. (My work as a recovering perfectionist is ongoing.)The battle to stop measuring my performance, productivity, and potential is real and ongoing. Jesus shows me that there is a better way to spend my mental capacity. Click To Tweet
Unfortunately, this also happens in regard to others. I measure them by evaluating whether they have met my expectations. It could be –
an absence of support,
a broken promise,
an unreturned email,
a disappointing conversation,
an unkind word,
a lack of consideration,
a kind gesture ignored,
a text forgotten,
a lack of affection,
a feeling of being judged or misunderstood.
When these type of circumstances happen, others come up short in my expectations. By measuring their performance or intention, it is just as harmful as when I measure my own.
Why I Need to Stop
In recent years, I have learned this isn’t the way I’m supposed to process life. Through faith, I recognize the fault of this habit but because it is second-nature to me, I can do it without even realizing it. Only after I start suffering the consequences am I able to notice what I’m doing.
I love how God puts 2 and 2 together for us in order to help us break free from the sin that so easily entangles. Over time, I have begun to notice how this mindless habit of mine is at the root of two very destructive end results.
2 Results from Measuring
- measuring myself- discouragement
- measuring others- resentment
The harm doesn’t stop here because discouragement can lead to hopelessness and despair while resentment can lead to bitterness and cynicism. These add up to a life less than what we can have through Christ.
These two outcomes from measuring are nothing less than schemes of the enemy. Christ has taught me the profit of tracing back negative emotions to examine the root. When that is done, insight can help us know what the problem truly is and who stands to benefit.Discouragement and resentment are nothing less than schemes of our enemy tempting us into living our life in bondage. Click To Tweet
When I am discouraged or resentful, sin abounds and my joy in the Lord comes to a halt. Therefore, I know the problem resides in ME! I am either growing in the Lord or not. Just as there are only 2 sides at war (God vs. devil), there are only 2 possibilities for who is to gain and who would lose. As I examine the root of my emotions and their corresponding outcome, that helps me know if it is from God for my good and His glory or from the enemy for my harm and his purpose.
What Can Overcome This Temptation
Reading yesterday through Luke 17:11-19, I learn of another weapon that will be useful against this scheme of discouragement and resentment.
11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Jesus is teaching about the responsibility of thanksgiving and praise. When God grants our need, we should celebrate that! As Christians, we can fervently plead for God to act on our behalf but oftentimes when He does, we don’t take the time to acknowledge it as He deserves. We move on to selfishly enjoy the blessing without being grateful. We should passionately celebrate God as much as we pleaded for Him to intervene on our behalf.
As I read this passage, learning from the 9 who did not offer thanksgiving or praise, I am reminded of my tendency to measure. Instead of focusing on what God has done, is doing, and will do, I am choosing to focus on the negatives. It is so easy to spend our time wanting more blessings while we ignore the blessings already granted.
So what can help fight against discouragement and resentment?
Instead of measuring myself (which is the opposite of humility because that means to think of myself less) or others (which is a sign of pride because I feel that I deserve more from people), I can use thanksgiving and praise to help me stop this inner habit that leads to harm.
Why This Is So Important
By meditating on God’s character and His activity on my behalf, I experience less discouragement/resentment and more joy/hope! This ends up having an even greater outcome than expected.
2 Results from Thanksgiving and Praise
- My freedom
- God’s glory
Thanksgiving and praise can end up freeing me from the trap of measuring myself and others. As I circle back more often to celebrate God and His grace to me, I walk in the freedom He intended all along. He receives the glory as I focus on His goodness. This is a win-win for the Kingdom of God and a lose-lose for the kingdom of darkness.Thanksgiving and praise are two ways to bring glory to God that also help bring about our own freedom from finding fault. Click To Tweet
Practicing a healthy faith ends us helping us in more ways than one. Just as Jesus said to the Samaritan that his faith had made him well, so our faith helps us overcome the strongholds the enemy uses against us.
Living a life of freedom is one of the best ways to bring glory to God! By measuring less and celebrating more, we can do just that!