843 Acres: Cutting the Anxious Cords of Approval

by Bethany

M’Cheyne: Deut 7 (text | audio, 4:21 min)
Ps 90 (text | audio, 1:53 min)
Highlighted: Deut 7:6-8

Mother-Made: In I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson, Kate Reddy returns home from an overseas business trip at 1:30am only to discover that she has forgotten to make mince pies for her daughter’s school. Instead of baking them from scratch, however, she carefully distresses store-bought pies to give them the appearance of being “mother-made”. She puts icing on top because “they are too evenly colored, and everyone at school will know I haven’t made them myself.” Then she begins worrying about her nanny: “If Paula sees the Sainsbury’s cartons in the bin, she will spread the news of my Great Mince Pie forgery on the nanny grapevine.” So she retrieves the cartons, wraps them in yesterday’s paper and carries them to the outside trash: “Finally, with the evidence of my guilt disposed of, I follow my husband up to bed.”

Comparison: “Comparison is rife with danger,” says social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson, “but it’s understandable why we do it. We’re human beings and we naturally seek information” [1]. There is a difference, however, between comparison to gain information and comparison to gain identity. Do we look around us to determine what the world is like or to feel better (or worse) about ourselves?

Love: When the Israelites were about to enter Canaan, God knew that they were going to compare themselves with the other nations. Yet he wanted them to know that he alone was their identity. Through Moses, he told them, “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers” [2].

Prayer: Lord, You say to us, “I love you. Not because you are better, smarter or more put together than anyone else. I just love you.” Knowing that we are your treasured possession is the only way to cut the anxious cords of human approval. Forgive us for seeking the fickle approval of others and cause us to long for your unchanging, just-because love. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] Alina Tugend. “Comparing Yourself to Others: It’s Not All Bad.” New York Times. July 1, 2011. | [2] Deuteronomy 7:6-8

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