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Posts Tagged ‘humility’

There is a wrestling that comes when responding to tension in life. Living out of a comfort zone requires no wrestling at all. There is a want for both. There is a need for both.

What do we do in the stretching?

I struggle with both tension and being comfortable. I say out loud that I don’t like being comfortable. If I am being most honest, I like my own routines. I appreciate things that are known for me. There is a certain exhale that resides in comfortable. However, the downside of being comfortable can also lead to the shackles of complacency.

Tension keeps me restless and wrestling.

There is a huge tension in my life that I wrestle through every day. Andy Stanley defined this kind of tension as a “need for wanting more.” I do. I am feeling the tension of wanting more.

I live in the tension of the “not yet.” That is my season of life at the moment. On paper, I am considerably comfortable in place of living and job. Honestly, both make me restless. I could choose to settle for life as I know it now, but I would sorly miss out on life all together.

Tension is healthy.

Tension reminds me that God is working on what is in the “beyond me” kind of things. God is great at providing hunger and tension to enable dependence on him. Comfort requires no dependence or movement.

Tension creates a place where faith and ability merge.

Tension can feel maddening, and requires a conscious fight. I am more aware then ever that my response in the tension matters. There is some serious character building in the tension that not everyone is willing to enter into.

There are certain fears that rear their ugly heads in my tension. I know I have a tendency to let them respond for me. I am bittersweetly thankful for when my fears and insecurities surface. Tension builds character. It’s hard.

Choosing to sit in a tension that is unresolvable is so hard. There is nothing quick about tension, and there is no time line for the question of “how long.” I am learning that the process that the tension brings is priceless and worth the hard.

How do you deal with your tension?

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As a kid, I was not the best at submitting to my parents. On the surface it looked like I was, but in reality I would say what they wanted to hear, and instead, do my own thing. I was good at manipulating or schmoozing my way out of something.

By nature, as well as by practice, I am a very independent person. The word submitting does not go well with me. In fact, I am not sure which word I dislike more: obedience or submission. Both make a part of me cringe.

I am very self-sufficient and self-protective. Both characteristics make me hard headed and stubborn. I am by no means claiming these characteristics as great. I am fully aware that they get in the way of healthy growth in me.

If I were to look back on the areas where I have stumbled, backslid, or failed, the presence of self-sufficiency and disobedience are very close.

This makes for some tough roads in my journey with the Lord. I still catch myself trying to manipulate and schmooze myself out of things with God. Then I wonder why my road feels like its growing in jagged terrain.

Our culture does not like the word “submission.” We are a very individualistic and independent people. We even take pride in operating that way. I can’t help but wonder if that is one reason we are falling apart at the seams?

Ironically, the characteristic that I am most drawn to in others are obedience and submission. I love reading about how much David humbled his own views and opinions before the Lord. I am drawn to his leadership that displays submission to God in a real way.

Peter is a hard headed follower of God. Laced throughout his books obedience and submission can be felt and seen. Peter laid down his stubborn ways to follow after God. He went from independent follower to submissive apostle on whom the church was built.

Abraham followed God into unknown areas all the time because he submitted his logic and knowledge to the one leading.

With every character I read about, obedience and submission lead their ways.

I desperately want to lead out of this place. I know that following has to happen before leading has any merit.

Intimacy is known through submission of our hearts, minds, soul, and strength to him. Foresight comes from humbly acknowledging his ways and not clinging to our own.

This independent person fights dependence. I want to transition my mind from associating dependence with being weak to being obedient. I want to see submission as acknowledged brokenness. There is a reason God says that his “power is made perfect in my weakness.” My acknowledged weakness gets me out of the way and allows him room to be.

I desire weakness to be a bold part of my character. I would love for “weak” to be redefined as one who chooses obedience and acknowledges their necessary dependence.

What areas could use a little more submission in you?

How are you with obeying?

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I love the World Cup! I love the growing excitement of the whole season. I love the intense roar of every crowd. People from all over the world are yelling as if their life depended on the volume. Different cultures are dancing and singing together by the thousands. Colors of pride are being raised and cheered for. Love, passion, heart, belief, pride, ownership, commitment, and hope flood the stands of the world as all eyes watch their eleven men fight for the victory.

I grew up playing soccer. I think I popped out of the womb with a soccer ball in hand. I might’ve even had a baby painted face. Soccer is an incredible sport that requires passion, agility, respect, teamwork, humility, and fight for the a great victory.

Soccer principles have a lot of similarities with our faith as well as our relationships. Our relationships require teamwork, respect, thinking about the best interest of another, humility, and mutual fight. Faith requires agility, teamwork, humility, selflessness, respect, belief, passion, and fight for great victory.

One priniciple of soccer that I have never forgotten is called “playing into space.” As you watch the soccer players pass to one another, you might notice that they rarely pass directly to the person, but almost always in front of them. The person passing the ball should always lead the their teammate to open space. The person passing the the ball helps build the momentum of the their teammate by passing ahead of where they are to help lead them to where they should be going. It is really difficult to manage a ball that has been passed behind or directly to you. The best exchange always pushes someone else a head. As you watch the games this month watch for this principle.

This principle applies to life. I have thought about it a lot in my friendships. I want to be a person who pushes my friends a head into a great place. We might not always see where a head is, but our friends often see what we do not. As a friend, we should want to push others a head not hold them back, or even enable steps backwards. I want to be a person who uses my friend’s own momentum to push them into a better space. I value my friends and want our friendships to play into great spaces!

You might think it’s a stretch, but you’d be surprised with the ways you can see how faith and sports go together.

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A couple of weeks ago, I experienced the side of forgiveness no one likes to be on. As both sides of forgiveness are hard places, I hate being on the side of the one needing forgiveness. I hate hurting people. It is the worst feeling in the world for me. That feeling takes out the pit of my stomach in one shot.

The need for forgiveness came about because I was accidentally irresponsible with something a person lent to me. I borrowed this person’s car and forgot that I left the sun roof open. Of course it rained that night! I felt horrible once I realized my mistake. It was an unintentional irresponsibility on my part. I needed the person’s forgiveness for my mistake.

Forgiveness has some subtleties to it. This person forgave me, but also made sure that the forgiveness also came with helping me to feel worse about my mistake. You know, all of a sudden their real emotion came out as they are telling other people around me. There is also the bringing it up for quite some time, or feeling like all roads lead back to my mistake. I hate that. I felt horrible. The subtle digs were not helping. It was in that experience that I really understood that forgiveness has some misunderstandings.

The person I needed forgiveness from gave it to me, but the forgiveness also came with a payment. Payment can be delivered in direct and subtle ways. I realized that forgiveness accompanied by payment is what I am used to getting. I do not have a good concept of forgiveness that looks like not receiving what I deserve.

You see forgiveness has debt attached to it. Something has happened that has enabled a wound, a hurt, loss of trust, or pain of some kind. This attachment can be big or small, but it is still present.

I think one thing we forget is that when forgiveness is given and accepted there is also a debt that is taken on. Forgiveness does not eliminate the void that was created. The pain of the wound inflicted is still there. Hurt leaves a mark. It takes time to work through the void that was created by the pain. Forgiveness does not make the wound disappear.

I think we can quickly forget that forgiveness means that I am choosing to forfeit my right to pay the person back. It is also saying that I am canceling out the debt of what they would owe for the hurt. Forgiveness is about the response not about the debt that is still felt.

Depending on the weight of the wound, it all takes time to bounce back from. I need to remember to give time a chance for that person’s heart. Even the one who is being forgiven needs to work through their own weight of causing a void. Forgiveness requires time.

I am humbled by this process in realizing that God will never have to ask me for forgiveness. God will never cause a void of pain in my life. I will never have to work through a hurt caused by God. He takes on my void all the time. He is perfect in loving me, and NEVER responds in a way that still demands payment.

I want to be a person who responds the way God does. I want to still love well even in the midst of forgiving or when I find myself in a place of needing forgiveness.

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For the past week I have been wrestling with this nagging concept that I will call, “False Humility.” False humility is that response that looks like humility, may even sound like humility, but it is really insecurity. There is a fine line between the two. False humility is very subtle and often dismissed. I am having a hard time dismissing false humility in me.

I will admit that I am really bad at receiving compliments. I dismiss them even before the compliment is fully out of the person’s mouth. I am not a good receiver period, but more so with compliments. For me compliments highlight my insecurity. I respond out of that insecurity, but that response can also look like humility. It’s not. I think the lie behind false humility is that I think dismissing a compliment, or encouragement, makes me look humble. I can’t even say, “thank you” before I am justifying why I am not that compliment.

Choosing humility does not come at the price of my own self-worth. If I am responding in a way that dismisses my self-worth that is insecurity. Tearing myself down is not humility it is insecurity.

So what does “false humility” look like?

Here’s an example from my life. Let’s say someone compliments me on something I have done. They tell me that it’s really good. My immediate response is, “I could’ve done better. It’s not my best work. Or really you could’ve done better.

A more identifiable example has to do with looks. If someone compliments me on my looks some how I immediately dismiss their words. My response can sound like, “it’s not my best hair day. Or this outfit? I got dressed really fast.” Subtle but dismissive. This says more about my insecurities than my humility.

What does humility look like?

Humility is a character trait that acknowledges the need for a savior. A person of humility is real about their weaknesses in a way that acknowledges a need for grace and forgives, but does not diminish their self-worth. Humility acknowledges sin, but does not diminish the worth of the sinner. The person who humbles themselves is teachable. Teachable people don’t claim to know it all, but also doesn’t dismiss what they do know. Humble people are approachable and open for conversation, even hard ones. Humble people own their stuff, as well as, engage to make things right. Humble people do not dismiss their self-worth in any of those areas.

Humility does not take the place of honor, but considers other better than themselves. False humility in this mindset can sound comparative, and more often involves a blow to the self. Humble people who are able to consider others better looks like celebrating another person gifts and talents. Humility can celebrate someone else fully without comparison.

Jesus was perfect humility. Jesus chose to die to himself all the time in humility. Jesus never dismissed his self-worth, or the worth of others. Jesus never compared himself to anyone. Jesus valued everyone. He considered everyone better than himself and valued them fully.

Jesus spent many days giving the most incredible speeches to hundreds and thousands of people. BUT then he washed feet and touched the untouchable.

One day Jesus gave an amazing speech and performed a miracle to feed five thousand plus people, but he also helped pass out that bread and the  fish he just multiplied. Jesus never acted like he was above anything.

I want to be a person of true humility. I want true humility to take root in me. I desire my response to say more about him than my insecurities.

What does your humility saying?

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Distrust has been one of those strongholds in my life. I have a hard time trusting other people on many levels. Distrust seems to be a knee jerk reaction for me. This is not a character trait I want to hang around in me. Distrust in my relationships starts from my distrust in  my relationship with the Lord. If I have a hard time trusting others, it is because I have a hard time trusting God.

God is always gentle with my heart. He is patient with my deep fears of distrust. He has remained so faithful to me. I am prone to wander because of my fear of trust. When this fear kicks in, my natural bend is to become self-sufficient and self-protective. It is usually out of this place where I become unfaithful to him. I take control of the reigns and take off.

God shows himself even more faithful to me when I am unfaithful. That is so humbling. I have been praying a lot about his faithfulness lately. I have a quieting going on in my heart as I try and grasp what “abiding in him” means. This has been a humbling process.

God is truly faithful. He always meets me where my heart kneels down. This week he has blessed me with little things that seem to be just for me. At various moments I will recognize little unique reminders just for me of his faithfulness. I exhale that he loves me so much that he knows my little things.

He is so faithful. I feel humbled by his faithfulness. The little things matter. They are there.

How do you recognize God’s faithfulness?

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For the past couple of weeks, I feel like I have been running into the theme of forgiveness. It seems like one of those times where every other conversation/sermon seems to have that one verse or idea you’ve been wondering about. That’s me. My usual response to those moments, you know once I finally get the memo to pay attention, is “dang it!” In the past week or so I have noticed a different response in me about forgiveness. Forgiveness has silenced my heart, and I lower my head.

We have entered that time after Easter where everyone has two choices. The first is that of choosing to walk in response to what Easter is all about, and that is forgiveness.

Most hearts are stirred around the holiday’s for good reason. The grief of death and the celebration of solidified hope came to pass. Christ rose and conquered death for me. This is no small thing. I want to continue to work out what was stirred up in me.

The second is the choice to “go back” to how life was before the message of the cross. One can look at Easter as a great holiday and fun times with the fam. Sometimes experiencing Christ can be boxed into that camp high experience. A camp experience is that high you can feel while being away from home, bonding with new friends, outside of your comfort zone, and connecting in a way you’ve never known before. Once you hit home that high fizzles and back to “real life”‘ you go.

Forgiveness is hard for me. I hate hurting people. I hate being on that side of pain. I really hate being on the side of the one needing forgiveness. It is the worst feeling in the world for me, (well beside puking).

I know I can dismiss forgiveness for me so easily. In taking over condemnation for myself, I dismiss the excruciating pain of the cross for me. I do not want to dismiss Christ.

Too often I say to God, “Don’t worry I will punish myself.” I get stuck in the weight of condemnation. It is so hard for me to hear, “Tracee, you are forgiven.” This is both from people and from God.

In remaining in the shackles of unforgiveness, I miss freedom. I miss the message of my savior. I miss the heart of another for me. I miss grace. I miss love. I even miss humility for me.

Part of my Good Friday pondering is to not miss love this year. I want to stare at the cross and really get that love poured down in the form of mangled forgiveness for me. I desire for that to be the heart I love and forgive through in return. I think this might be my writing theme this week.

Lord, help me not miss your forgiveness and love for me.

How do you struggle with forgiveness?

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