Focused on the Pleasures and Purposes of My Father

I’ve had a bit of an email exchange of late with someone who has struggled with visiting her parents because they always pressure her to sing for their fellowship when she’s there. She didn’t like the pressure and having been a performer in the past, she was concerned that being in that venue would trigger those old appetites for performance.

Our conversation was a bit about the difference between honoring our parents with love and respect and being manipulated by them. Honoring our parents doesn’t mean we do everything they ask. That’s control and co-dependence and a host of other things that aren’t healthy for them or us. But I also mentioned that the work God was doing in her would really make performance tasteless over time. That’s the way it has worked for me. When you start this journey you think you’re going to die giving up the old ways you enjoyed seeing your gifts touch others. But in time you come to see how empty that is, and when that’s true you’ll never be lured back to it again. That allows you to freely go in those environments when he asks you to to help trigger hunger in others, without fearing that it will drag you back into the same old bondage again.

This is her resonse. I love what she wrote here, especially about keeping our eyes focused on the pleasure and purpose of our Father:

Thanks for getting back to me, Wayne. I so relate to your experience. I believe that I have offered my gifts to be shared with my parents and their church because I really have come to a place where I just want to bless them and encourage them. I don’t need to prove anything to them, and you’re right, they probably won’t be able to comprehend what we’re talking about. But I also feel in my heart that I’m weak, and could easily get sucked into these old patterns of performance. I spent some time with the Lord on these questions today, and He put me back in that wonderful, safe place of freedom with Him.

Over the past few years of listening to him, asking tons of questions like a child, and receiving healing, he has shown me that my performance-tendencies came from the fear of disappointing others. He really, really HATES fear! And today I was asking him what is the lie behind the fear that I’m feeling creeping up again. Here’s what he said the lie is: “If my parents (or other authorities) don’t affirm me, I’m a ‘bad girl’. I can’t be trusted. I’m ‘in sin’.

And here’s what he spoke to the lie: “If that’s true, then I’m a bad boy, I can’t be trusted, and I’m a sinner too. In fact, that’s what the Pharisees accused me of. I overcame because I stayed tuned in and focused on the pleasures and purposes of My Father. You do what you do in freedom, when it originates with the Father. Fear and frustration come when it originates in your ‘need’ to please others.†His grace is such a SAFE PLACE and there is no manipulation or love withheld in him, even if my choice isn’t “rightâ€.

What great language! Freedom in Father is unlike anything this world can offer. It can take you right back to where you used to be, to incarnate his love there, without being victimized by the expectations of others or by the fear that God will withhold his grace if we make a mistake. What a truly safe place to be!

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12 Comments
  1. Kevin January 22, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    Just a short while ago a scripture memory song for the verse “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee,” was playing on my iTunes. “Stayed on thee” seems appropriate for another way of saying “focused on the pleasures and purposes of my father.”

    – Kevin

  2. Kevin January 22, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    Just a short while ago a scripture memory song for the verse “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee,” was playing on my iTunes. “Stayed on thee” seems appropriate for another way of saying “focused on the pleasures and purposes of my father.”

    – Kevin

  3. Pam January 22, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    Wow! That speaks volumes to me. Thanks,

  4. Pam January 23, 2007 at 12:49 am

    Wow! That speaks volumes to me. Thanks,

  5. Dave A January 23, 2007 at 8:16 am

    LOVED that. Thanks.

    Dave

  6. Dave A January 23, 2007 at 11:16 am

    LOVED that. Thanks.

    Dave

  7. Aida January 24, 2007 at 4:30 am

    I can really relate to this. In the past, I have always enjoyed speaking in front of a group. Part of the fun was planning what I would say, jokes included. As the opportunities to speak stopped and Father focused me attention on him, I lost the desire to speak. Several months ago, I was asked to speak at a “para-church” women’s group. I accepted but, as the time drew near, I began to dread it and wondered if I should cancel.

    After sharing my situation with the Lifestream group and as a result of their wisdom and counsel, I felt that I should speak and not plan but speak only what Father gave me to speak at that moment. That’s what I did and the effects were different. I didn’t end up with that intoxicating high I normally experienced. I’m glad I spoke because I came to know Father in a new way.

    Performance never fully satisfied the longings of my heart. Following the high, I was always left with a low. Now I’m learning that the only thing that fully satisfies is following Jesus wherever he leads.

    Aida

  8. Aida January 24, 2007 at 7:30 am

    I can really relate to this. In the past, I have always enjoyed speaking in front of a group. Part of the fun was planning what I would say, jokes included. As the opportunities to speak stopped and Father focused me attention on him, I lost the desire to speak. Several months ago, I was asked to speak at a “para-church” women’s group. I accepted but, as the time drew near, I began to dread it and wondered if I should cancel.

    After sharing my situation with the Lifestream group and as a result of their wisdom and counsel, I felt that I should speak and not plan but speak only what Father gave me to speak at that moment. That’s what I did and the effects were different. I didn’t end up with that intoxicating high I normally experienced. I’m glad I spoke because I came to know Father in a new way.

    Performance never fully satisfied the longings of my heart. Following the high, I was always left with a low. Now I’m learning that the only thing that fully satisfies is following Jesus wherever he leads.

    Aida

  9. louise January 25, 2007 at 9:16 am

    i love what yousaid about parents. i struggle with my parents constently on this. it is so hard when you are taken on a different journey than your parents, and they do not understand the journey that God has taken you on.

  10. louise January 25, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    i love what yousaid about parents. i struggle with my parents constently on this. it is so hard when you are taken on a different journey than your parents, and they do not understand the journey that God has taken you on.

  11. neil January 25, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    Lovely, insights. Thanks.
    I guess the expectations I’ve struggled with most have been the unreasonable and unrealistic ones I’ve placed on myself. These perfectionist tendencies have led to driveness and frustration and guilt etc so these words from Peterson’s paraphrase in Isaiah 30 really hit home a couple of years ago:
    “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me
    and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.
    Your strength will come from settling down
    in complete dependence on me–
    The very thing
    you’ve been unwilling to do.
    16. You’ve said, “Nothing doing! We’ll rush off on horseback!’
    You’ll rush off, all right! Just not far enough!
    You’ve said, “We’ll ride off on fast horses!’
    Do you think your pursuers ride old nags?
    17. Think again: A thousand of you will scatter before one attacker.
    Before a mere five you’ll all run off.
    There’ll be nothing left of you –
    a flagpole on a hill with no flag,
    a signpost on a roadside with the sign torn off.”
    18. But GOD’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you.
    He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you.
    GOD takes the time to do everything right – everything.
    Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.

    And Louise, I know how hard it was to head off in a different direction from my parents when my Heavenly Dad called us out of the institutional church where my parents were pastors. Over time He restored our relationship and we didn’t have to do anything other than love and respect them while staying true to what our Heavenly Dad had told my wife and I. He really is in the business of restoring relationships.

  12. neil January 26, 2007 at 12:37 am

    Lovely, insights. Thanks.
    I guess the expectations I’ve struggled with most have been the unreasonable and unrealistic ones I’ve placed on myself. These perfectionist tendencies have led to driveness and frustration and guilt etc so these words from Peterson’s paraphrase in Isaiah 30 really hit home a couple of years ago:
    “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me
    and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.
    Your strength will come from settling down
    in complete dependence on me–
    The very thing
    you’ve been unwilling to do.
    16. You’ve said, “Nothing doing! We’ll rush off on horseback!’
    You’ll rush off, all right! Just not far enough!
    You’ve said, “We’ll ride off on fast horses!’
    Do you think your pursuers ride old nags?
    17. Think again: A thousand of you will scatter before one attacker.
    Before a mere five you’ll all run off.
    There’ll be nothing left of you –
    a flagpole on a hill with no flag,
    a signpost on a roadside with the sign torn off.”
    18. But GOD’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you.
    He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you.
    GOD takes the time to do everything right – everything.
    Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.

    And Louise, I know how hard it was to head off in a different direction from my parents when my Heavenly Dad called us out of the institutional church where my parents were pastors. Over time He restored our relationship and we didn’t have to do anything other than love and respect them while staying true to what our Heavenly Dad had told my wife and I. He really is in the business of restoring relationships.

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