He justifies me.

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The only Person in this universe whose opinion counts delights in you!” – Tim Keller

Here we go again.

Does she notice? Does my supervisor notice? That every time we “evaluated”, I was cringing inside? I must have finally perfected the art of looking stoic whenever the topic came up. Yay me. Sigh.

What was it with evaluation that made my insides churn?

I tried to identify them: was it the fact that every week, my stats almost always never matched my goal? Or the subsequent great frustration that never failed to follow after finding that I had, yet again, fallen short of this goal? Or the knowledge that no matter what I do, I cannot seem to muster enough motivation to find ways and make plans (or follow the plans) to improve?

And then comes the lie, that temptation, to rationalize away my behavior — Don’t be hard on yourself. You’re just an intern.

It was this baggage I carried through two Leadership Training Conferences in La Union and Isabela, through the Volunteers’ and Interns’ Summit at Quezon City, and even through the personal retreat in Baler where I hoped to hear clearly from God.

But I returned home physically refreshed and with new, rich experiences, yet with heart still heavy.

Who knew it was back in Baguio where I’d have that aha! moment?

I was listening to Tim Keller when he said, “What justifies you?… The only Person in the universe whose opinion matters delights in you!”

It was one of the most humbling, embarrassing and yet enlightening moments I’ve had ever.

Have I fallen into the trap of believing that my ministry results are what justifies my existence on this earth?

It’s the performer in me, I’m afraid, the “fallen-ness” in me that looks to other things for justification, for importance, for purpose. It’s what pushes people to look to other things, people, and even something as seemingly spiritual as “ministry” for comfort, for delight, for relevance. But earthly things cannot give all these forever. At some point, we all arrive at this realization, and it is this realization that prompts people to conclude that life must be meaningless.

And yet… God is just there, holding out His hand and arms. He justifies my existence, gives me meaning and worth, and makes me relevant.

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