“When I strive for excellence,
accomplishment, performance, worthiness, righteousness, I will receive love from others and from self.” This is the unconscious lie I have believed since high school, perpetrated on me by the world we live in, outside the Church and inside too. I never understood why I have been such an over-achiever. I always thought it was a good thing to be ambitious, hard working, dedicated, conscientious, concerned about my appearance. I never understood that what I’ve been looking for, is love.
It was really helpful for me to go through World Harvest’s Sonship Course, and to spend the next 29 years discipling others to live out of the reality of being unconditionally loved by the Creator of the Universe. In fact, I am convinced I would never have been able to look inside to see the major dysfunction/neediness I see today, had it not been for years of soaking in the Good News of His unconditional love for me. But I came to realize, that I needed something more than His love. I used to be a world-class people pleaser, desiring love from others through my performing well, appearing well, or loving them well, but that has dissipated over these 29 years, to where today I don’t feel the need so much for others to love me, admire me; I now have more of a healthy indifference; the idolatry has significantly dissipated. Most of the time it’s none of my business what others think of me.
But. It has become my business what me thinks of me. I’ve begun to see how much I need me to love me. And when my focus is on performing/accomplishment/goals/judging-myself-and-others, I’m distracted from loving the real me, and Jesus, and others. I am using me, to get what my flesh thinks will bring me self-love/self-acceptance. My flesh is woefully deceived. My performance addiction or my judging addiction or my appearance addiction will never satisfy my need for me loving me, just as I am, just as Jesus loves me. Jesus doesn’t love me more when I do more, do better: He loves me just as I am. My performance/judging/appearance addiction — another way of talking about my flesh, doesn’t care about the real me: it only cares about my perceived worthiness/righteousness in the eyes of others and myself, when I win, and delivers self-contempt when I fail. This is not self-love, but conditional self-love. Lousy love. No love at all, really. My flesh uses me to get what it wants, to get what it thinks will satisfy my craving since childhood that I never understood I had — my love-vacuum. Human accomplishment, reputation, somebodiness, will never ever satisfy a love-vacuum, because a love-vacuum needs unconditional love. Jesus created us humans this way. But not even the unconditional love of Jesus satisfies my love-vacuum. Unless. I am enabled by Him, to accept, enjoy, love, myself, unconditionally, just as He loves me unconditionally. I’ve believed for 29 years that Jesus loves me, just as I am, and now I’m coming to also experience the love of Dave for Dave, just as Dave is, the inner Dave, the true Dave, and this is satisfying my soul, filling my love-vacuum. Ahhh. Priceless.
All humans have a love-vacuum, and most try and get it satisfied by performance, or relationships, or judging, or better, by Jesus, but as long as the devil can keep a believer from loving him/herself unconditionally, the believer will be a workaholic, performance-aholic, over-achiever or under-achiever, constantly judging others and self, living on the edge of burnout or in the middle of misery, without joy and peace unless things momentarily go his/her way.
So these days, when I notice myself intense, hurried, or judging others/self, it’s a red flag, indicating that I’ve been snookered again, into a performance-based, pride-based, strategy to fill my love-vacuum. Conditional self-love never works, never satisfies. Pride. Thank You, Jesus, for thwarting my attempts at getting my need met by performing/judging, instead of me enjoying the me You have been creating over these 71 years. Just as I am, warts and all. Thank You that I don’t get distracted from unconditionally loving You and others, when You enable me to unconditionally love myself. Thank You for opening my eyes to see that dying to self, is dying to selfishness, dying to conditional self-love, dying to pride, dying to achievement-addiction, judging addiction, appearance addiction, being wise in my own eyes, leaning on my own understanding. My flesh would love some of the credit for this awakening that is only due You. Get used to disappointment, Dave’sFlesh/ShepherdDave.
My flesh needs worthiness, but my soul needs love. Love from Jesus. Love from Dave. Unconditional. A loved soul is a loving soul. Loving others, even enemies. Loving Jesus, and His perfect plan for my life, which includes suffering, sometimes brutal suffering, for my growth in Jesus-dependency.
–DumbSheepDave, experiencing like never before, the abundant LIFE, that his ShepherdJesus promised, hoping the pre-believers around him are noticing the difference Jesus is making
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