Pride vs Humility

Prior to giving my life over to Christ I did not battle with pride. I WAS prideful. I thought, though I am not better than the next person, NO ONE was better than me. I could stand on a stage and talk in front of 1000s and be fine as I couldn’t care less what they thought of me and/or what I was saying.

When I became a Christian and had the opportunity to teach, I FREAKED OUT. Why? Well, in reading the Bible I learned that teachers are held accountable, by GOD! (Check out Paul’s letters to Timothy).

As I learned more about abilities give at birth or learned vs spiritual gifts, given at baptism, I learned that I do have a gift of teaching. I can let the enemy use it and do it to get all the glory for myself, or I can let God use it and point all the glory up to Him.

What I still battle with, which you can read in 1/2 my earlier posts, is pride. God gave us abilities and we should not be prideful in them, yet we should be confident in them, right? How do you be confident in them, while not being prideful, while expressing humility?

I know that was written in a circle, as that is what my brain has been stuck on…until last night. We went to church and it was a terrific service. Check out “God Can Use Anybody” from April 3rd.

Pastor Rick talked about my favorite subject, how everyone is necessary in the Kingdom of God. We are all built to serve, using our God given abilities, to help others grow.

In the sermon, he said something that was a BIG AH-HA for me…

“Humility is not denying your strengths, it’s admitting your weaknesses.”

What I learned today…I can be CONFIDENT, not prideful, in how God made me. I can be humble in the fact I have a LOT of weaknesses. A LOT.

 

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I CANNOT BE SORRY for Who I Am

We know, from past posts, I battle the feeling of being inadequate a LOT. Sadly, I didn’t battle this in such a life altering way until I joined the church. Within the church, I started feeling like I wasn’t enough. I don’t have a memory that retains Bible verses as quick as others that can recite the whole Bible from memory. I don’t have the theological PhDs that others have. (I didn’t even finish college!) I could go on and on.

Thankfully, God didn’t call me for all of that. He would have given me a better memory if He wanted to.  He could have given me the drive to get a great education if He wanted to. Now, to be fair, I am in seminary as I do believe being educated regarding the Bible is very important. That way I am not going only off my interpretation of the Bible and/or what others tell me, but truly digging in to it and hearing a variety of opinions.

Another battle I face is being born a leader. You might think that is a super sexy role, so why would I think it was a battle? Outside of the church, it wasn’t hard. I could use my skills and they were celebrated and affirmed consistently. Within the church it is different. Well, within the churches I know about, it might be different at yours.

I came in to our church knowing that there was never a ladder to climb. We do not have female pastors. Fine. Our church does not have a female elder. Fine. All of that is absolutely fine. I knew what I was walking in to. I took a position that used my skill set and I absolutely love. I know I will upset some of you, but I do believe that men should be the lead pastors in the church. I also believe, leading the church on the team of leaders, a woman is NEEDED. When women make up over 1/2 the church, their voices must be represented at all “tables”. Not to push the “women” thing, but to work side by side like we were built to do. To help each other and promote GOD through it all. The challenge I have found when working with both men AND women in the church is when I use my gift of leadership. Now remember, I did not ask to be a leader. It’s a gift GOD gave me. In John 15:16 we read “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you.” This is a hard life! Being a “good” Christian is HARD. I don’t think I would’ve chosen to walk in to the craziness it is. But GOD chose me for it. I trust Him.

I battle knowing that He gave me this gift, while others who want it so bad, and strive for it, and educate themselves to become better skilled at it…don’t. We can say that about a lot of gifts. If you have the gift of organization, the rest of us hide and get upset because we aren’t skilled in that way. If you have the gift of teaching, the rest of us hide and get upset because we aren’t skilled in that way….I could go on and on. YOU have a gift the rest of us yearn for. The battle is knowing that God created us all perfectly to do what HE has for us. Though we might want another gift, if we didn’t have the one we uniquely have, there would be an absence in the world.

Romans 8:28-31 says –

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

SO GOOD!!!! Let’s lean on this Biblical truth when we doubt, or battle opposition!

I like what J. Oswald Chambers has to say about it in his book Spiritual Leadership Principles of Excellence for Every Believer.

“I am here neither by selection of an individual nor election of a group buy by the almighty appointment of God.”

We need to be confident as Christians in the gifts He has given us. An even BIGGER step would be to not only be confident in it, but to celebrate others gifts as well. To those who have the gifts we don’t have, celebrate them! And we all need to continuously vow to do our best to enhance and improve the gifts we have been given. It’s not a use it or lose it situation, but it is like a muscle that you have, but can get SO MUCH STRONGER the more you work on it.

What I learned today…I have SO much to say on this subject, I should learn to write more short and sweet blogs.

Authentic

In our staff meeting today, we talked about authenticity. It was phenomenal. I loved when it opened because our pastor acknowledged that this generation, is calling for authenticity in it’s leaders…JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER GENERATION! Throughout time, people have yearned for authenticity, it’s nothing new.

We all have something in us that craves to be noticed, because it is only God that can truly fill that need, yet we don’t go to Him to fill it. When we aren’t getting that need filled, we have a hard time being authentic, as ….

We are worried of being exposed as different and broken.

We worry that we will be rejected once people see the real us, beneath the mask.

We worry that we will be hurt by those we let in.

What we need to do is remember who we are in CHRIST. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

He calls us His masterpiece! I know I sure don’t feel like a masterpiece 99.9% of the time. (Okay, being authentic, maybe 98% of the time.) But, it also says, he created us anew in Christ Jesus. I can believe as a new creation of Christ’s I would be a masterpiece. I can believe if God planned me to be HIS masterpiece so I could do good things He planned for me long ago then I am.

The more I believe and feel confident in the way HE made me, and continues to develop me, the more authentic I can be. The more secure I feel with my relationship with HIM, the more confident I can be with others. If I do well, it’s because He is leading me to. If I fail, it’s because He wants me to learn something and I know He’ll “have my back”.

During this meeting, I was asked a question regarding how many people attended our class this weekend. Embarrassingly, I blurted out, that it was attended better than one of the other classes.

** Now, to give a history behind this comment – When I was hired I was told that the first class always had a huge attendance. 3/4 of that class would move on to class 2 and 1/2 of that would move on to class 3…with 1/2 of THAT moving on to class 4!  Being quite competitive in nature, I said, “We will change that”. AND, since changing the class 3 up a bit, we have BEAT class 2 in attendance 4 times!!!! Not only that, but we are having even higher numbers in class 4!! **

Okay, back to it.

As I blurted out that our class was better attended than class 2, I heard a couple people say that it was prideful to say such a thing…and a couple people say, I was being authentic.

If you don’t really know me,  you think pride. If you do know me, you think excitement and are reminded of my competitive nature.

I am comfortable in how God made me, 75% of the time. I am working on raising that number. I know that I know, all of our classes are absolutely remarkable and I think everyone in the world should go through them. It would be dreamy to be allowed to be able to steward and teach each one because I believe in the power of spiritual steps! I get so very excited of the thought of people growing in their confidence of who God is and who He made them to be, I can’t help but want everyone to feel it!!

A HUGE point that I learned today regarding authenticity was that when we feel very devoted to something, and things aren’t moving in the direction we feel they should, even if it’s a good direction, God is still at work. Sometimes we need to feel the hurt and learn and grow from it…and sometimes others need to go through the hurt so they can grow and learn from it. God is at work regardless.

What I learned today…Truly trust God, when things are running smoothly and when things get wonky. His work is being done through it all. Hang on and keep your eyes open to what He is saying to you through all situations. And be authentic with what you are learning and what you might have missed along the way.

Arrogant or Confident

Had a terrific talk with my husband. We were discussing his search for a new position and I explained how he needs to walk in with his confidence high to any interviews he gets.

He said that he doesn’t like people who walk in with arrogance…it irritates him. That threw me. I had said walk in with confidence not arrogance.

As we dug in to the difference, I realized that part of my job continues to effect my life in amazing ways. In my job, I have the privilege of helping people walk through how God has created them, and show them that their talents and experiences have helped shape who they are, and how they are is AMAZING.

As I sat looking at my husband, I though, Holy Guacamole!, this guy still has no clue how amazing he is!

I explained, walking in to a situation, fully confident in who God made you to be AND confident in knowing that He has the absolutely best position ready for you, is different than walking in full of himself and arrogant.

When you KNOW how God built you, the good – bad and indifferent, there comes a confidence that I find it hard to explain in words. I KNOW what I am not good at. That doesn’t mean I excuse it, or that I won’t pitch in where I’m not gifted, but it means that I can confidently say, “I suck at _____”.

Let’s take something easy, like organization. I am HORRIBLE at it. I LOVE chaos. Now I CAN organize, I just don’t like it and it takes me 10times as longer than someone who is BUILT to organize. At the same time I am BUILT to find solutions to problems. I am BUILT to look ahead and navigate different scenarios that can occur with options that are available.

Others can put my gifts down, and have. They can say I’m “just” friendly. They can say I’m “too busy”. I ignore those.

I know God built me to encourage others.

I know God built me to lead and influence in turbulent times.

I know God built me to run at 1000 miles per hour and be able to assess situations quickly.

I am not arrogant in saying that. I am confident that God made me this way for a reason. And I am thankful God has put people that are strong in all the ways I am weak around me, so I can be blessed by having them use the way they are beautifully built to help me.

Today I learned…It is not arrogant to be confident in the way God made you. Own it. That will influence others to be confident in the beautiful way they were built. THAT can bring less comparing in life, which will bring more happiness.