But Jesus takes his orders from the Father
Mark 1:35-38 Before daybreak, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well. … That is why I came.”
John 5:19 Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing.”
Are you a people-pleaser? I certainly have been. I love knowing people are happy with me and with ways I try to serve them.
But do I shape my own sense of wellbeing around other people’s happiness with me? Ah, there’s the rub, right? Because in fact I am not responsible for whether other people feel happy.
Jesus made it clear to his disciples right away that he took his orders from the Father, not from them or from the people surrounding them. I’m sure this bothered some of the disciples.
And to understand the Father’s directions, Jesus had to spend time with him. Again and again in the Gospels we see him doing so.
I love the concept of having an audience of One, making my Father’s pleasure the center of my life. If I am spending time with him, submitting my priorities and desires to him, and following his direction as well as I can, I can better keep my balance I terms of all the other voices in my life and my natural desire to serve and care for the people I love.
Here’s another lovely passage from Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love. The meditation is titled, “Set Boundaries to Your Love”:
You give whatever people ask of you, and when they ask for more, you give more, until you find yourself exhausted, used, and manipulated. Only when you are able to set your own boundaries will you be able to acknowledge, respect, and even be grateful for the boundaries of others … The great task is to claim yourself for yourself … True mutuality in love requires people who possess themselves and who can give to each other while holding on to their own identities. … You must learn to set boundaries to your love.
Later, Nouwen says, “the identity that makes you free is anchored beyond all human praise and blame. … Only God can fully dwell in that deepest place in you and give you a sense of safety. Don’t let others run away with your sacred center.” Amen.
Here’s a song to make you smile, a flashback to 1955. In light of this post, think of the lyrics directed to the Father.