God is plowing my heart with a little book by Brennan Manning called The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus. Even though it is deeply convicting, I have been able to read it without guilt because Manning has been a voice of grace in my life for years. One exerpt that has stayed with me:
The only possible way to move out of our obsessive self-awareness and into the life of Christ is to surrender ourselves and let God be God. Such a surrender involves mining the field of our hearts and searching for this pearl of God's truth hidden deep within us: we belong to God. This precious discovery makes security, pleasure, and power look like cheap painted fragments of glass (Philippians 3:8) . . .
This loving awareness of being the child of the Father moves us out of a life spent pursuing our base desires and frees us to pursue the kingdom of God . . . We can present ourselves simply to others: "Here I am. It's all I've got." In humble self-awareness and sovereign freedom, we can truly be for others without fear of rejection or concern for their usefulness to us."
I read this page the night before a meeting with a man whom I really wanted to impress--so that he would want to work with me, so that I could position myself professionally for future gain, so that I would feel good about myself. I was consumed with how I would present myself, what I would say, how I would manipulate him into thinking well of me.
Reading this excerpt put everything in my heart right again, as though something that had turned upside down was put right. Without guilt or self-condemnation, I was reminded of who I am--and Whose I am--and that I don't have to fear rejection from others or look for ways to make them promote my agenda. I can simply be a child of my Father and allow him to reveal to me what comes next.
I went to my meeting and then to another similar meeting the next day and in both cases, I was able to be my best self--the self that rests in Jesus--and to care for the person across from me without being obsessed with what they could do for me professionally. This little book, hard to read on several levels, has been a real blessing.