Please accept my sincerest apologies for the *goes to look, winces, returns* six month long silence on my end here. I fully intended for this blog to be a weekly thing (at least), and then some completely unexpected things happened. And now I must confess something to everyone….
I started “just making it” again.
Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of legitimate reasons for me to slip. I could list them all for you now, but I’m not going to. Those who know me, know exactly what this school year has been like. (I’m a teacher, my year runs from August to May with a blissful two month interlude.)
But at the end of all those reasons, it all came to one sad failing.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.” Galatians 6:9
To put it mildly, I had gotten tired of doing what was good.
There were tons of very legit reasons. There were things that would have brought me to my knees if not for God’s provision. But instead of letting God pull me up in those moments, I hunkered down. I reached a point of just bracing for the next impact instead of pushing forward until I found myself getting pushed further and further back.
I stopped writing for a good while because everything I wrote sounded so angry. It sounded that way because I felt that way. But I didn’t want to project that, so I just stopped writing.
It took several good friends and mentors to encourage me out of my little hidey-hole (sometimes by poking me with a few sharp sticks, but sometimes you need that as much as gentle encouragement), and the conclusion I found myself in was that I had begun to rely on myself and my own strengths to pull me through again.
At the root of all of it was pride.
“Wait, what?” you may be asking. “How does pride cause being weary and tired?”
Let me show you. It’s a sneaky little thing, I’ll tell you that much. Here’s how it looks for me a lot of times (let me know if you hear something familiar).
“I deserve a break. I’ve been doing ____, ____ and _____ and no one appreciates it!”
Translation: I’m not getting what I consider to be appropriate praise/attention for my efforts.
Solution: “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23
“I have a right to be upset/sad right now.”
Translation: I want to wallow, dadgumit it.
Solution: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“No one understands or cares how difficult this is right now.”
Translation: I need other people to affirm that I have a right to wallow right now.
Solution: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7
“I don’t see how I’m accomplishing anything good in all of this. I don’t know why I bother.”
Translation: I need to see immediate results to feel better about doing the right thing.
Solution: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
*Insert any variety of frustrated statements about people being dumb about any number of subjects*
Translation: My view/intellect/understanding is superior to everyone else’s. (Maybe this is just me who struggles with this, but I’m betting not!)
Solution: “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” 1 John 4:20
Pride, simply put, is when we begin to value and rely on our own ideas, strengths, and will above God. It warps our sight, making us focus on what our flesh wants us to focus on: the I-must-have-it-immediately-right-now world view.
To step away from pride, we have to make a deliberate decision to put God’s eternal view above our own limited sight. We have to be able to say in all truth, “Not my will, but Yours”, even if it means we suffer in the short term.
Are your struggles real? Absolutely! Mine were. Like I said, those reasons I had were legitimate.
The issue is not whether or not your struggles exist (they do). The issue is not whether or not life is hard (it will be), if you’re unappreciated (you will be), or even if people are stupid (they will be).
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
The issue is who we put our trust in, and who we hide our heart in.
Humility gives it to God. Prides takes it back on our own shoulders.
So, my dear friends, I’m confessing to you that I gave in and caved to my pride. I confess that I’m still struggling with it. Even this morning I was throwing myself a lovely little pride-pity-fest over my current circumstances. Maybe that’s why I felt a pull to write this: a gentle correction of my own mindset today.
Regardless, I’m fighting my way back, but not in my own strength. Everything I have, even my greatest strengths, are absolute weakness next to my God. I’m giving all of it to God and saying “Your will, not mine” and praying that His strength and glory will be shown through my weakness.
Stay weak, my friends. But most of all, keep your eyes above those waves and focused on the One who is Lord over them. That’s where our trust and hope belong.