Have you ever heard the saying, “A good deed is its own reward.”? It used to be, people knew and lived by the understanding of this truth. Yet, in the most recent generations, there has been a slow slide into the mentality of, “What’s in it for me?” Even though we see many people doing good things, that’s always wonderful; most often, these actions today are motivated from the outside.
Let me explain. Today, high praise is poured out as a torrent overwhelming the little psyches of children, inundating them with a lifestyle of ‘everything I do is a big deal’ mentality. Awards ceremony after awards ceremony pushes an aspiration related to celebrity orientation. You notice the word “celebrity” it’s the same root as the word celebrate. Whoop, Whoop, Whoop!
To be truly healthy, lives need to learn to find their courage from within, not from the externals; what others initiate. This is not to say social acceptance isn’t somewhere on the list but acceptance of ourselves, yes, even our inadequacies is vital for overall health.
I can almost hear the reaction of many in response to that statement. So here is what I mean in context. Just because a person accepts themselves in no way suggests there isn’t major room for improvement. In fact, it is the very opposite. The paradox is, when a person continually tries to change themselves, out of self-rejection, there is an inner narrative going something like this, “If I need to change, this must mean I’m not good enough. If I’m not good enough, I must not be acceptable either. So I don’t fit in; therefore, I must become someone I’m not so others will like me then.”
Can you just see the thought dominoes falling? The more we try to change ourselves out of personal doubt, the less ‘truer’ we become and the less we are truly accepted for who we are. Eventually, many of us lose track, and the cycle goes round and round. Yet, we’re trying sooo hard; this just doesn’t seem fair! Does it?
Well, the reality is, we are doing this to ourselves. In our search for acceptance, we neglect the most important relationships of all. Our acceptance of ourselves, where we are, compared to where we think we should be, or who we are toward the whole world we interact with, compared to the true self we so often suppress and neglect, and the relationship we have with God, are the key. “It matters not what has been done. It matters not what others have won. It’s lesser still what they expect, if what they want will misdirect, the one you are down deep inside, and cause withdrawal and you to hide.” Volpe Verte, In Search of Soul, 1987.
Real-life is about authenticity, especially to God. Being that He is absolute truth itself, reality is His essence; only what’s true will ring a bell with Him. The interesting thing is, when we think about God, so many of us think about hiding aspects of ourselves and try to clean ourselves up before we attempt any kind of interaction with Him in prayer. The irony is, He already knows we are a major mess. He has made the ultimate compensation for our inability to fix ourselves, in any permanent way, with His own Life. This took all the judgment and force of accusation away, so He could then see us through this wonderful act of covering, protective Love. It took all He had, while in this world, to destroy the power of what was accusing us.
All this, so there would be nothing but Love left; if we accept His gift into our heart; by asking Christ to bring it with him and live inside. Inside; where the pain and self-denial, fear and even hatred used to ravish our souls. God will not gloss over the truth we are mired in. Yet, he is able to accept us. As the hymn goes, “just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.” This is acceptance in its truest form. After coming to accept Him as Lord, any changes we make in our lives are out of genuine growth, free from inferiority, fear or the coercion of peer pressure to fit in. He Loves us!
The overcompensation we put out there, to assure others of themselves or us, may seem kind, but like too much icing on a cake, it can overpower the flavour of its content; it cultivates co-dependent behaviour and weakens our identity. God, acting in Love to save us, before we ever knew, assures us of an identity of favour in the eyes of the only one who can see what’s true about us anyway. Romans 5:8 says, “But God has made clear his love to us, in that, when we were still sinners, Christ gave his life for us.” BBE
B.C. Forbes said, in an article in Business magazine, called, Thoughts on the “Business” of Life, “The man who has done his level best, and who is conscious that he has done his best, is a success, even though the world may write him down a failure.”
The Bible says, referring to Jesus, in Hebrews 12:2b, “who, in view of the joy set before him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame.” BBE
That joy was His good deed; the opportunity won for our new life. It was to free us from inner condemnation; if we will accept his embracing of us and let him hold our hearts. This is its own reward.
Instead of becoming enslaved to the applause of others, let it be just a small dusting on the cake. Then we can get the substance of our life from the cake itself, what’s deep inside. But it takes getting the ingredients right. [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]