Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Avoiding Destruction......

"Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall." -Prov. 16:18

Words that I have certainly come to believe.  You know that person that walks into lamp posts and stubs their toe on door frames?  Who can somehow fall off of shoes that don't even have heels in public and spills from their drinking cup down their front at least a couple of times per week?  Yeah, I'm that person.  It certainly helps keep one humble........

My kids love stories that involve me and this sort of thing.  Where my mind is somewhere else when it should be focused on basic motor skills.  

Just walking around was more challenging when we lived in India with uneven pavement and steps of inconsistent height. The Metro subway in Kolkata has never flooded even after forty years of torrential monsoons because of cleverly built steps up before you descend.  

One day my daughter and I were headed home loaded down with food shopping bags and I wasn't paying enough attention to my feet.  Yep, I managed to fall UP the steps, arms flailing and bags flying.  In a society where it's normally inappropriate for men to touch women in public, all formality is thrown out the window when there is fear that someone is hurt.  The nearby security guards yelled and grabbed.  They anxiously wouldn't let go until I demonstrated, with the kind of yanking assistance that would have paralyzed me had I truly been injured, that all of my limbs did in fact still work properly.  Then they chattered somewhat accusingly at my clumsiness as I gathered my bags and slunk away.

Yeah, I've always had reason in my world to avoid pride.  Because I'm too good at falling.

Recently, I've had the opportunity to use some of my natural gifts again that have lain dormant for a long time. There's something deeply satisfying about glorifying God through the very way that He's made us.  Very much a deep soul satisfaction of offering back to Him what He gave us.

I so admire those quiet saints who serve faithfully for years, those 'behind the scenes' people who don't ask for any sort of glory.  It must be hard for them at times if no one notices. Some of my very best gifts, however, are things that do gain the notice and praise of others.  And a few times lately I've found myself wondering if I've enjoyed compliments a bit too much.

Pride.  It's a tricky issue to circumnavigate.  It's a fine line between enjoying being part of what God is doing through the way that He's made you---and just feeling good about yourself.  And how do you know the difference?

So many things in life make us keep short accounts with God.  To cry out often, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Ps. 51:10)  Pride is definitely one of those.  Imagine the multitude of troubles around the world that would suddenly cease if selfish pride just died!  Certainly the root of all kinds of evil.

"There are two kinds of people:  those who say to God, "Thy will be done, and those to who God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'"    -C.S. Lewis

My way usually ends up walking into a lamppost in front of someone that I admire or completely forgetting a piano piece that I'd memorized and practiced for months in a public recital (True stories!).

I actually value those little lessons in pride because it's sure better to fail now and then and remember to choose His good, perfect, and so-much-better-than-my-own will than to walk away.  (However, you can be sure that I won't be running for public office where I would constantly be in the public eye any time soon!) 

And in those times when despite our best intentions we think we might be erring on the side of our own pride?  Well our Father is amazingly just a repentant thought away.  You can be sure He, who knows what's truly best for us, wants to help us fine tune our hearts so we can walk more in step with Him.  

As we repent we need to remember, "To be repentant means to be committed to doing whatever is necessary to keep from falling back into sin......Genuine repentance is utterly vulnerable." (Randy Alcorn) 

Yep, kind of the opposite of pride.

All photos today by Sybille Stahlberg
This one is now the screen saver on my laptop because it makes me smile.

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