humility

Pride, My Daughter, Snowboarding & God's Word...

So we went skiing/snowboarding as a family this past weekend and my daughter was certain that her amazing ability to ride a “fake” sled-like snowboard down the slope of her friend’s front yard would yield to a perfect first day on a snowboard on real hills ;)   

45 minutes later, she sits pouting in the snow with her snowboard attached to her feet, wrist hurting from bracing her many falls, ski pants soaked telling me that she doesn’t want to do this anymore, and we are not even down the first “green” circle run.  

“What?!”  I ask, “you were begging to rent a snowboard, and now you don’t want to do this anymore?!”  Yes, I was frustrated and quickly realizing that my “choose your thoughts” positivity was not being received or practiced at this point.  What was the problem?   Was it really that my daughter was wanting to give up?

So I asked again, “Why don’t you want to go down the rest of the hill?   I’m confused, do you just want to go back in and sit down?”   That’s when the truth came out.

“I don’t want to go anymore because all those people in line at the chairlift are going to see me fall because I’m not very good, and they are all awesome.”  

“Oh no, not this again” I thought to myself.  We have discussed the many reasons why what other people think does not matter, namely because we should be more concerned about what God thinks; and it just doesn’t seem to be sinking in.  She is greatly concerned about what he/she/they think of her (even though I’m convinced they are not even thinking one thought of her at all!)   

My friend and I managed to get her down the rest of the way, mainly by leaving her and shouting from a far distance “just come to where I am now!”   (I’m not kidding!).  Reluctantly and without choice she slipped, spun, and slid her way to the bottom.  Upon arrival she looked around with panic as she crashed, in what she thought was the “grand finale” of her incompetence near the line of people waiting for the lift.  To her surprise nobody pointed a finger and laughed, or made a comment or even seemed to notice at all.  

Later that weekend, I prayed that God would guide me to help her overcome her insecurities about what others were thinking.  That’s when I “stumbled” upon this great verse in Proverbs: 

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18.

After reading this verse to her I asked her if she thought she was prideful, she answered honestly and said “sometimes I think I’m better than other people.”  

One of the definitions of pride from dictionary.com states: a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.

From this definition I helped my daughter realize that her constant concern about what other people think of her is very prideful also.  She was perplexed.  

“When you are worried about what he/she/they think of you, you are still making it all about you, as if you think you’re so significant that your incompetence, ignorance or even failures are due recognition from others.”  I said.  

I then explained that pride is not just when all you think about is yourself in a positive way, but also if you ridicule yourself and are constantly under a state of fear of what other’s think in a negative way, it’s all still only about you!  

We discussed how we should make our thoughts all about Him (God) and what He thinks of us and focus our mind and attention there; otherwise, God has a warning for us in Proverbs 16:18.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.  Humble thyself sweet daughter, I don’t want to see you in destruction and falling.  

Have you ever felt it was prideful to be self-loathing, or self-conscious? 

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Are You Willing to Sacrifice Your 'Right to Be Right'?

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I know very well the sting of feeling betrayed, of feeling that a knife was stuck in your heart and twisted unmercifully. One of the greatest trials in my life came when a person I considered a dear friend deeply wounded me and refused to even engage in a conversation where we could work together on being reconciled.

After being wounded by someone, it’s completely natural for us to focus on our pain and to harbor hostility toward the person who offended us.  It’s natural to replay every aspect of the offense to try to justify our actions or seek to understand the actions of the other person. However, as natural as that is, God has called us to die to our sinful nature, which is exactly what comes naturally for us to do. What God has called us to do—and through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit we can do—is what He did: to give up ‘our right to be right’. When you are disappointed, angered, or hurt by someone, you have a critical choice to make. You can either focus on and insist on your ‘rights’, or you can focus on being in ‘right relationship’ with Your Heavenly Father.  You can nurture resentment or nurture a relationship with God:  you cannot do both.

What had been one of the greatest trials of my life became a great blessing when I chose to focus my eyes on Jesus and what He endured for me, rather than focusing my thoughts on my own pain. Like looking through binoculars, the lens was either going to be on Him, or on me: I had to choose.  I recalled that I had prayed to be conformed into His likeness, and He led me to know that I could never have an inkling of what He suffered and willingly gave up for me if I never experienced betrayal, rejection, or suffering from the wounds of a friend.

If we are to be disciples of Jesus, we must ‘pick up our cross’ and follow after Him (Luke 9:23).  Philippians 2: 1-11 portrays what it means to ‘pick up your cross” and follow Jesus’ example:

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus was willing to humble Himself to the point of a horrible death on the cross out of obedience to His Heavenly Father, Who knew Jesus’ death was the only way that you and I could have the possibility of fellowship with Him, a holy God. Are you willing to ‘empty yourself’ of any and everything that stands in the way of you being in ‘right relationship’ with Jesus — including your ‘right to be right’?  Ask Jesus to fill you with the same humility He demonstrated when He chose the cross for your sake and mine and put our interests ahead of His own.

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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