We live in our own little cocoons, where we see what we see, hear what we hear, and feel what we feel. We are consumed with ourselves. As Donald Miller, in his bestseller Blue Like Jazz, put it: it's as though we are the star in our own epic feature film, and everyone else comes in and out of the frame as a supporting cast. We are the hero or heroine of this movie - our own story.
Like any well-written novel, our personal story will involve peaks and valleys, comedy and tragedy. Good moments and bad. And, we really like the good moments: when we get the girl, land the job, win the prize.
But what about when things aren't great? What then?
I tend to be even-keeled. I don't have "high" highs, and I don't have "low" lows. I stay in the middle for the most part. But, like everyone else, I much prefer for things to be going well. To be "in the zone." To be well-liked. To be appreciated and valued. To be praised and acknowledged. I really like for good things to come my way. It's so much easier, right?
There's a serious problem with this, however. All of this provides a false sense of security and self-worth. In looking to others (and things) for affirmation and adulation, we miss the boat.
We are built (by society) for accomplishment. We aim to please. We do things in the hopes that someone will notice and let us know how great we are. We are attention-seekers and like to be rewarded for a job well done.
But, what happens where there is no tangible reward? What do we do when we give and serve and love, and no acknowledgement is offered? What if there's no "atta boy" or high five?
The answer is not easy, but it is simple: we keep giving our best. And, when possible, we give even more.
Colossians 3:23-24 says this: Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. (NLT)
This is another element of faith - not seeing our reward, but being confident that the Lord sees our devotion to Him, and that He will reward us in His own way - which will be infinitely better than anything we could receive here.
If you find yourself in this place right now, I want to offer you some encouragement. Your spouse may not see your efforts. Your boss and co-workers may not appreciate what you are doing. Your clients and customers may not understand the decisions you make, and are looking elsewhere for a place to give their business. But, if you are working with an attitude and heart that serves Christ, you will be at the head of the class. He will notice, and He's got your back.
Don't base your attitudes and work ethic on your feelings. Have confidence in the Lord and His abilities to provide exactly what you need, when you need it.