There is a very fine line between doing something because you cherish and need others to like you and doing something for others because they like what you do.
Please read that statement very carefully. It's important, I think.
Late last year, my family and I went on vacation and enjoyed a wonderful trip to Arkansas to visit my grandfather. Now, when I take a break, I break. I relax in as many ways as possible including leaving my razor at home.
For most of my life, I have been clean shaven. A few times I have worn a goatee. Once I grew a patchy beard because of a Halloween costume. Rarely have I gone long with any sort of facial hair. Generally, it gets itchy, and I don't like trying to maintain it. It's easier just to shave it all off.
Ah, but as vacation ended, the girls in my house all had something to say about Daddy's (and not to be left out) and Hubby's scraggy look.
"Daddy," my girls said, "Don't shave!!!" They like the tickles when Daddy kisses them goodnight.
My wife likes them for other reasons. Apparently, they add a piece of attractiveness to her. I'm very cool with that.
The only person who didn't like the whiskers was Junior. I don't blame him, but he was outnumbered.
I kind of liked the look as well, and it kept me from having to shave. I decided to keep the scruffy look--in part because the ladies of my household loved it.
Now, I certainly didn't need their approval to keep the whiskers. I didn't need their affirmation to go with the scruffy look. It's not my satisfaction that is important. I didn't need my ego stroked, but it does give me great joy to see the smiles on the faces of the ladies in my family. I didn't adopt the scruffy look for my sake, but I adopted it for their sake.
Same with a new hat I purchased recently. My wife likes Indiana Jones--it's a child of the '80's thing. Right after Christmas, my family and I were in Bass Pro Shop. I saw a hat that closely resembled Indiana Jones' hat. I tried it on. I showed my wife. She gave me one of those looks. I said, "I have a new hat."
I didn't need the hat.
I didn't want the hat.
I never would have bought the hat.
But, it gave my wife pleasure.
I love my wife.
It is my desire as her husband to do things that please her--not for my sake, but for her sake.
Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Treat others as you would have them treat you.
I want others to treat me and do things for me because they know it is something I like, not because they feel some sort of obligation to make me happy; not because they need me to like them; not because they want my approval.
I believe this is a grace-full approach. Works-righteousness tries to earn anothers' approval by doing things for that person. Grace does things for another simply for the sake of the other whether approval is gained or not.
That's why I am now sporting a scruffy look and wearing a rumpled up hat.
And I'm cool with that.