In a previous post, I talked about claiming God’s promises as a “demand.” In other posts, I’ve talked about the idea of “demands.” When I first heard of this concept, it didn’t resonate with me. I just couldn’t “get” it. I couldn’t see how it applied to me or in what way I might be tempted to make a “demand.” In time, though, I “got” it and now I see how I am tempted to make demands all the time. A demand is revealed when we get upset, fearful, or tense when we don’t get what we want or especially when we don’t get what we believe we need. 

As I worked on that post, I was in the midst of being tempted to be upset about a “demand.” But being able to identify what was going on really helped to resist the temptation.

It’s the allergy season and my nose runs and my eyes water. This is particularly disconcerting as my watering eyes smear away my eye makeup and without eye makeup, I feel and look older. I feel and look my age. And I don’t like that. I want to look young and “cool.” I want to be chic and “together.” I want…

And that’s where the demand starts. “I want” is the appetizer to “I demand” and its food courses “I must have…” and “I am exposed without…” and “I’ll die without…” (in it’s most damaging forms).

In this case, the “I want” becomes the search for an eye drop that will prevent the watering eyes. The allergy pill stopped the nose running but it seems ineffective with the watering eye. (Yes, only one eye waters which is even worse because then one eye has makeup on it and the other doesn’t! Weird!) So the search for another solution begins. The first allergy eye drops I bought made my pupil dilate. So I head back to the drug store, talk to the pharmacist and buy the most expensive allergy eye drop (because it’s a different chemical than the one that made my eye dilated).

During the “search,” I feel like I kept a surrendered heart. I saw what God was doing in challenging me to trust Him whether I ever wore eye make up again. Could I release my demand that I not be seen as old and “un-cool”? 

The Lord graciously set me up (in a good way) because His Spirit had convicted me a week earlier through reading about the idol of “coolness” in Eric Ludy’s book, The Bravehearted Gospel: The Truth is Worth Fighting For. He defines “coolness” as “the measurement of favor you curry from the world, society, and your peers and is the gradient of attractive that you hold in the eyes of those who value the things of this earth.”

Eric continues, “In other words, Jesus wasn’t cool. But I’ve got some ear-tingling good news. Even though He wasn’t, it now appears that we can be.”

I highly recommend Pastor Ludy’s book, and I’m grateful that the Lord convicted me of my penchant for coolness and my perceived need for it that easily turns into a “demand.” 

Now, if I hadn’t been aware of “demands” and how they tell God what to do, rather than trusting Him for whatever He desires, I would have been very upset that I couldn’t wear eye makeup. I would have felt threatened. I would have felt like people looked at me and judged me “out of touch.” And I would have been mad at God for taking away something that I depended upon.

I’m very grateful that the eye drops are working. I actually wore eye makeup today and after all day, it’s still there! At least most of it. And I’ve been holding the privilege of wearing eye makeup loosely–with the attitude that if I need to go without it in order to continue diminishing my idol of “cool,” then I want to value God more than being cool.

Be aware of any “demand” you may be protecting in your life. You can identify one by your reaction when it is being threatened, withdrawn, or diminished. If you are feeling angry, tense, or defensive instead of surrendered, receptive, or grateful, a demand may be raising its ugly head. Be on the lookout and trust God who wants only your best!