Thursday, March 14, 2013

It was a Humbling Experience ~

“Devilish pride creeps in almost everywhere....Think about how all the lack of love, indifference to the needs, feelings and weaknesses of others, the sharp and hasty judgments and utterances so often excused by our cries of being upright, and honest, the manifestations of temper and irritation, the bitterness and estrangement, have their root in pride.  Pride only seeks itself.”  Andrew Murray

A few weeks ago, I completed the book, "Humility" by C.Peter Wagner and I would have to say it has been one of the most enlightening books I've ever encountered.  It’s taught me a lot of truth about myself, such as how prideful, selfish and superior I have been toward others.  My greatest downfall has been what the books describes as the “Cultivating a Creator Complex.” 

It goes on to describe that "creator complex" happens when we begin to evaluate the lives and ministries of other people and compare them to who we are and what we do.  To the degree that they do things differently, we tend to regard them as inferior.  Then we try to change them, and make them over in our own image. When we begin to do that, we are playing God!

Creator complex kicks in when we go from being a personal example, or role model for others to follow if they choose, to when we being to evaluate the worth and dignity of an individual by how closely they match our own examples.  When this happens it turns a suggestion or an admonition into coercion and manipulation.

 As I continued reading the book and had a great desire to attain humility, I found it frustrating that during most of my reading I found myself comparing the different signposts toward others, rather than using it as a personal reflection upon myself.  When I did catch myself doing this, I repented (which was quite a bit) and asked God to humble me during this experience. Well, He did! 

I was faced in a very humbling experience with someone I deeply cared about. I was tested to use the several tools to attain humility as well as to trust solely on God through the adversity I created.  I also believe God was trying to get me to take a look at my shortcomings, focus on myself and leave others to Him and stop playing God!  There is so much work to do, in attaining humility but do believe it’s possible.

We must CHOOSE to be humble.  In my own choice to become humble I will grow closer to God and it will directly impact my relationships with others. I have fallen short of being humble and often displayed counterfeit humility in my life, which is best described by John Bevere as "knowing how to use politically correct words in order to “appear” humble, yet there is no lowliness in heart or mind.” For me, 
it was not until after the fact that I realized my intention to be humble truly was not with the correct mind or heart. Sometimes I would downplay my situations to appear humble by talking less of myself.

The biggest obstacle I encounter in my walk with humility is comparison.  I need to learn to think soberly of myself. Going forward, I intend to approach this similar to my prayer habits. I had to practice to pray, all day to Christ.  I set an alarm every hour to pray.  Equally, I have to practice humility all day, in everything I do, just as I did with prayer.  Because I’ve practiced prayer, I find myself speaking to God all day long.  

A few weeks ago, I was faced with a situation which my pride took precedence over humility.  I chose my needs over the needs of someone who desperately needed comfort during a time of loss. Because I allowed anger, fear, insecurity and pride to consume me it resulted in that person saying some very hurtful things to me.  If I had chosen the path of love, kindness, and compassion and humility during their time of need, rather than worry about what I was feeling, the few days I went without speaking to them, thinking our relationship wasn't salvageable and feeling heartbroken, could have possibly gone in a different direction.

Although, I do believe this was a test from God. A test of trust and a test of humility. That night, I prayed, sought God’s forgiveness, and the forgiveness from other person involved.  I forgave the hurtful things that were said because after what had transpired, I was able to understand what they were possibly going through.  During those few days, I continued to pray for humility, remove any hindering hurt feelings, have compassion, and understand the person's choice to remain distant.  A few nights later, we met and we were both able to make amends to one another, in person.  We were able to share our hurts and share how we both trusted God to direct us during this time.  Our relationship seems to be stronger as we keep God as our focus and move toward God's plan for us, not what we think is good for us.

I guess the statement, “Be careful what you ask for,” is said for a reason.  I did ask God to renew my mind and provide me humility each time I read this book because of how I continuously compared the book toward others. God answered; perhaps not in the manner I would've chosen, but I am thankful for how He placed me in a situation to where I was able to see how prideful I've been and was able to appreciate and be glad for what happened.  Today I feel closer to God, because during the days of adversity I depended and trusted solely on him, but also because I was able to use the tools in this book.  Because of Him, He was able to walk me through the reconciliation process with myself and the other person involved.  I am blessed and thankful that Jesus is full of love, forgiveness and grace.

Monday, March 4, 2013

♥ Surrender....again

When you pause to stop and listen to yourself what do you hear in the quiet of your mind?

When life happens, as much as I'd like to feel peace and hear the Word of God, at times I can't turn off the echos of judgment toward others, comparison, self-pity, negativity and words that tell me I'm unworthy. 

What now?

I have a two choices - Believe the lies I'm telling myself, or believe that God loves me and that I am worthy of His love.  He is all that matters.  Not how others love me, or how I allow others to make me feel because the reality is, one day they will hurt and disappoint me.

What now?

Stop.Restart.Pray. Repent. Ask for forgiveness. Forgive. Clothe myself in humility. Arm myself with the Word of God.
 Focus on Him and how He will fill my life up with His Love, Grace, and Purpose! 

Just because I've overcome one obstacle, doesn't mean that I won't be faced with another soon thereafter. My purpose isn't happiness. It's to serve Him by loving others as He would love them.

Refusing to allow my emotions to control my behavior can be a great challenge, especially when I begin the cycle of isolation, distancing and negative talk because it then transpires into something much worse.

What now?

What do I do when I find myself beginning to feel beaten? Angry? Confused? Anxious? Unworthy?

I begin by reaching out to others; those in my circle who will remind me of the amazing love God has for me. That reminder helps me make the choice to behave positively, and to climb out of the rabbit hole of darkness.
What now?

Just as we practice bad habits, so we must also practice good ones. REPEAT AGAIN:

Stop.Restart.Pray. Repent. Ask for forgiveness. Forgive. Clothe myself in humility. Arm myself with the Word of God.
 Focus on Him and how He will fill my life up with His Love, Grace, and Purpose! 

And again, I make the choice to surrender for the 50th time during my day. I remind myself that I must trust God; trust that he has my life mapped out perfectly, even when it feels uncertain and overwhelming.  I may lose people along the way, but God has a purpose for them as well, and their purpose may be better served in another life, not necessarily mine. I have to learn to step aside and let God do his work and that means giving up the "idea" of control that I have in my head.

When I stop fighting, trying to control my environment, my circumstances, my path  - I find peace.

So again, I MUST surrender to His way, to His plan, to His purpose.

Thank you Jesus, for accepting me, loving me, even with all my flaws...