The Observer Effect

The slightest hints leave the greatest impressions. A comment on a blog post, or an innocuous question about what I’m doing in my day doesn’t seem to produce much initial effect, but then I find myself feeling more pressure when writing blog posts (is this post defensible on every point? what criticism might it generate?) or repeating the conversation in my head (was my time really well spent today? why am I asking for so much time anyway?) trying to find an imaginary conclusion where my actions need no justification.

Galatians 1:10 says quite clearly that we’re to win God’s approval, not that of humans. (There’s a whole back-and-forth about who actually is watching, anyway, although I’m sure people notice he things I don’t expect them to notice, and the things I think might be noticed might go by unobserved completely). And what is it that God calls us to do but (in Ecclesiastes 11) to be diligent in our work, not for the results, but in obedience to God, who has already set out work for us to do?

So it is that I write to record my working against the automatic reaction from potentially being observed to focus on my work. For me, winning God’s approval requires resting in His Word, knowing that it offers shelter from the perceived pressure of others, and yet still guiding me from my erroneous thoughts.

Featured photo from the Hetjens-Museum in Dusseldorf. I’ve definitely gained an appreciation for pottery and ceramics after having seen so many on display; one of my go-to gifts is local-made pottery because there’s something about the glaze and roundness that I could stare at all day. This one just made me laugh.


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