Why Are You Doing It?

I remember sitting among 400 pastors when the air was sucked out of the room by one statement.

Have you ever been in those situations? Someone makes a statement, and it’s as if everyone that hears it takes a unifying deep breath of air. The truth in the statement rocks them all to their core simultaneously.

On this occasion, my pastor, Pete Wilson, was on stage teaching at Catalyst in Dallas. He was talking about reaping what we sow in life and how many of us—those in ministry in particular—wear ourselves out sowing all of the wrong things and then are surprised when we reap those things.

He gave examples around topics I write and speak on all of the time. He talked about busyness. Rushing around. The hero complex. Trying to be the Savior. Doing everything for everyone. He was speaking my language, and I was on the edge of my seat hanging on his every word. Then he said the statement that I still can’t shake today, years later.

“But men and women, there’s a difference between doing something to be loving and doing it to be loved.”

The room gasped. Every single person in that room was hit with a rock of truth and conviction in that one statement.

There’s a difference between doing something to be loving and doing it to be loved.

And friends, there is a difference. I’ve been wrestling with this statement for a while and what that truth means in my own heart. And while I can’t tell you how to perfectly define in black and white what that difference is, I’ll tell you a few things I’ve learned about it in my own life.

Doing something to be loved means running ragged, never saying no for fear of rejection.

Doing something to be loving means doing it for the other person, not for the credit or praise you’ll receive.

Doing something to be loved means manipulation and insecurity—doing more to receive more love. In both cases, it’s never enough.

Doing something to be loving means being a mirror—shining light and praise back onto those around you.

Doing something to be loving is about the other person; doing something to be loved is about me.

So the next time you’re rushing around doing too much, ask yourself this: Why are you doing it?

Because as I’m learning, there’s a difference between doing something to be loving and doing it to be loved.