He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30 NIV
Well, as usual, I’m coming to this whole blog posting thing pretty empty. I don’t really feel like writing anything, and I don’t feel like I have the time. As it is with God, though, that is where He usually has me when I write. He has me at the end of myself, so that He can speak. So that it’s His words, not mine. I have nothing good to say anyway, I mean, apart from Him. What would be the point of saying anything without my Lord and Savior? I wouldn’t even want to try to live life without Him, He is my everything.
I have been praying and thinking about what to write about for this post, and as usual, I could go so many directions. God is teaching me so much, and I feel I am really being tested, pressed, just pushed past my limits. I know why this is happening, He wants it to be all Him. He wants me to be completely surrendered, and obey even when it feels like there is no way I can do what He is asking of me. I can’t, but He can. He is teaching me to face temptations, not really big ones, but just showing me I don’t have to give in. He wants me to face things head on, hard things that I’d usually ignore or just shy away from.
The one thing that I would normally shy away from writing about or talking about is pride. I know we have discussed many issues in our Christian walk, and probably kind of mentioned pride here and there, and we know it can be a problem. Here is my problem with it, I feel it way more often than I would like.
I was pretty shy when I was younger, but I still got in trouble for talking in class. Surprising, right? I was always the type of personality growing up that put myself down, and never really thought much of myself. I played Clarinet starting in third grade, and majored in music in college. During all of that, I rarely got prideful about the talent that God gave me. It wasn’t until probably sometime in my adult life that I started to have some prideful attitudes. Most of it was all in my head, I would never say half the things I thought, because I knew it wasn’t quite right. I would also have a lot of judgmental thoughts as well. I guess those both go hand in hand, don’t they? Pride and judgment.
As my relationship with Jesus has deepened, I have lost some of that pride and judgment. There were seasons in my life where I asked God to humble me, boy did he answer those prayers. I didn’t know what I was asking for! I was a little sorry at first, but now I am so glad He answered. He is still humbling me, and it has been a painful and sometimes embarrassing process. Parenting has humbled me more than I ever imagined it would, and having a hysterectomy is one of the most humbling experiences so far.
The place where pride has grown is in my voice of encouraging women. At first, I wasn’t sure of my place, or my part in God’s body. As I obeyed God, I saw it growing towards serving and encouraging other women in my life. Over time, I have had the privilege of leading and co-leading Bible studies, or just being a discussion leader. Through those opportunities, that’s where you hear how women are struggling, and you try your best to listen and encourage. So, over time, I was better at encouraging, and had gained a lot of experiences through parenting, and just trials in life that I felt I could share with others. I guess sometimes we can get lost in our own stories, and then somehow make them about us instead of Jesus. I think I got lost in that for a while. I didn’t mean to, that was never my intention, but sometimes attention and encouragement can go to your head.
I hate to talk about it here, and to really tell you these things, because well, you might think I am pretty awful. Well, the truth is, I am. Without Christ, I am truly a sinner, the worst of them all. I hope that you know though, that we can have Christ. He stood in our place, once and for all. He has saved us, and we need only to believe in Him, and accept Him as Lord and Savior of our life. I’m so thankful He saved mine! I am so thankful that He loves me, and wants to use me for His glory.
So, back to pride, I just felt God laying this on my heart. To confess that this is a sin that I have struggled with. I have cared about other’s opinions above God’s. I have cared about being important or known over being humble and less. I have made it about me, when it should have been about Christ all along. I want it to be all about Him, and I want this life of following and obeying Him without condition to be my life. No matter how hard, and boy is it hard at times. It can be so deeply lonely. Sometimes, I don’t feel like even writing on this blog, because, well, I get tired of putting myself out there. I get tired of putting my business and my struggles for all of whoever wants to criticize or judge me. God reminds me though, that yet again, it is not about me. It never has been, and it never will be. He has asked me to write to encourage women, in whatever way, I have to obey.
God has shown me that I can’t serve Him in the way that He is calling me, if I am prideful or concerned about what others think. I can’t serve women and be humble if I am concerned about being important or known, or well, liked. That is a hard one for me, I want everyone to like me. God is really showing me that through these trials that I am facing now, and especially in the trying time I faced with my hysterectomy, that He is making me less. There is so much less of me, but the beautiful thing is I can see there is beginning to be even more of Him. He is making me into who He wants me to be to achieve His work on this earth, and for eternity. Why wouldn’t I want that? I think we let the hardness of our life circumstances get in the way. I think we let our struggles or temptations get in the way. Would you bring them out into the light with me? I know it’s risky, I know you don’t want others to see where you are ugly. Can you do it, so that God can work on it? He can only work on it if you bring it out into the light. When we see these things in the light, they aren’t as bad as we thought, because you see, God will start working on them immediately, to make them beautiful. He wants to make all things new. He wants to take those broken places inside of you, those things that are in the way of where He is taking you, and He wants to transform them. If you let Him, He will take that private sin and turn it into something that connects you with others. What do you have to lose? God wants to use your story and mine of how He is changing us to lead others to His throne.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord…But everything exposed by the light becomes visible-and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. Ephesians 5:8-10, 13 NIV