*photo credit http://livebyquotes.com
There is a balancing act to every Christian's life. It's the balance of being called to "clothe yourself in humility" and the call to greatness.
The Bible says (in a couple of places) that God draws near to the humble but resists the proud.
And who could blame Him really? A truly humble person is so much better to hang out with. They are more interested in what the other person has to say. A humble person is comfortable in their own skin. In fact, they're not thinking about themselves at all, much less worrying about themselves.
There's a lie that tells us that humility is having a low opinion of oneself. That humble people hate themselves. The lie screams that to be humble you have to tell yourself "I'm no good. I'm worthless. I've failed again. Why would God ever love a sinner like me?"
I know this because I've believed the lie for more years than I care to admit. I thought to be a good Christian I had to crucify myself. Tell myself how terrible I was, how much of a failure I was, how much I hated myself.
These are lies that I believed and this is NOT humility.
We have a tendency to overcomplicate things here on this side of the paper sky. We hold ourselves to a perfect standard and destroy ourselves when we fail, but Jesus has already borne our sins on the cross. To try to force perfection within ourselves is like telling Christ "thanks for dying and everything, but I don't need it. I got this." Accept yourself, warts and all because Christ already has.
I know I have faults, I know I mess up, but God loves me as I am. Not some perfect future version of myself. Not my potential. But He loves and died for who I am. Right now.
If God can accept me as I am, then so can I. When I fail, I pick myself up and try to do better next time. No more laying face first to the earth, wallowing in my own self hatred.
That being said, I say a person can be humble and believe that they have greatness inside of them. No one ever achieved greatness until they believed it first.
In Donald Miller's Storyline he shares a story that resonates this fact.
"Years ago I read a book by Dwight Eisenhower in which he talked about his mother's belief that every child should be raised to understand if they didn't exist their family would fall apart. Imagine that for a second. Imagine a world in which every person understood they were needed in the world, that they could be the solution to a problem. Eisenhower is best known for being President, but before he was President he led troops in World War II, uniting the allies in the fight against Hitler. And why? It's likely because he was raised to believe the world needed him and even expected something from him."
I believe there is greatness inside of me, that I am meant for great things. But more importantly there is greatness inside of YOU! I believe YOU are meant for great things. The world needs you.
An "awe shucks" attitude and self hatred won't get us there. Is there a story burning inside of you? A business? An idea for ministry that you are afraid to try because you think it's too big only for others? Do it! Seriously! There is a huge possibility that only you can.
Don't believe the lies. Humility is simply caring more about others, not caring less about yourself. Mine the gold from your soul. Go and be great. Please. The world needs you...really. I'll go with you.
One of the regrets I have is my seeming inability to take pictures. When a moment occurs my tendency is to soak it up like a sponge, to embrace, to enjoy, to fully live in that moment. When living like this you rarely stop and think, I should take a picture of this. I need to pull myself out of this moment and document it.
As it is, in the past nine years I've lived in ten different houses/apartments. Lived in eight different towns in two states. I've been to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. I've built amazing relationships, lost others. Completely changed my vocation. Went from living in a town of 265 people to the suburbs of one of the major cities in America. When I get nostalgic and want to look at pictures or remember people from all the places I've been, I find I have to rely on my memories, and my memory proves to be an unreliable narrator.
I put events out of order. Over dramatize situations, forget about others. Ignore wounds I've caused, play up wounds I've received.
Our life, this story we're telling is pretty much all get. This tale we're telling. We have to make memories, do things that are worth re-telling.
One of my favorite thing to do is sit around a table with good friends and start telling stories, everyone trying to top the other, it gets ridiculous and we laugh until our stomachs hurt and we get louder and more raucous. Telling our tales spinning yarns all things we've told a hundred times, getting bigger and more ridiculous as we re-tell it.
In his great book Storyline Donald Miller asks if you were able to attend your own funeral what would be most important to you? Would it be how much money you left, or how much television you watched? Or rather would it be relationships, how we effected the world...you never effect while staying safe.
Anyways, I'm back to blogging. I hope to tell true stories, to relate this life to yours as you relate to mine. Maybe post pictures relating to these stories if I can ever remember to take them...
You are Necessary. And the sooner you believe that, the sooner you'll bond with
God in living a great story.
-Donald Miller "Storyline"
This will probably be one of my most vulnerable posts I will ever write. If you're looking for glib jokes and Sci-Fi references, come back later, I'll have better posts for you. If you are uncomfortable with someone being metaphorically naked for a moment, with someone ripping open their rib cage and examining the contents, then move on. I'm not offended
I've said before that I would see myself as a burden to those that cared for me. But the truth of the matter is it goes way deeper than that.
I was never the cool kid.
Never on the cutting edge of what was trendy.
The last time I was at my parents house I found my old yearbooks and flipping through and seeing myself from twelve years ago staring back at me. I wanted to talk to that kid. That kid with the pain in his eyes. That kid that was so clearly uncomfortable in his own skin. That kid that felt like no matter what, he would never fit in, was never allowed to fit in, was not invited to the party. I wanted to tell him it would be okay.
The sad truth of the matter is that it goes deeper than that.
I've heard it called "the spirit of rejection". I've heard it called "self-hatred". I've heard it called plain and simple depression.
At my darkest moments throughout my years on this earth a familiar scene plays out:
I'm in the bathroom, brushing my teeth or washing my hands or shaving. I catch my eyes in the mirror. Lean against the counter, getting closer to my reflection and whisper three words.
This scene played itself out so many times over so many years it never once occurred to me how unhealthy this is. How wrong this is. How much it grieved God's heart to hear this over and over.
I don't even know what I expected from myself. Was it perfection? Something more? One thing I did know was that I would never treat another person the way I treated myself. "That person is made in the image of God!" I would exclaim "There is so much good, so much truth inside that person."
And then I would see my reflection, look straight in those accusing eyes staring back at me and whisper it again.
Here is the truth: I was seeing a lie. A fiction. A figment of my own imagination. I am not some broken twisted wretch screaming for the mercy of God. I am not "the chief among sinners" to steal a phrase from Paul. I am not God's mistake, an afterthought that He is far too busy for.
I am counted among the redeemed. Fearfully and wonderfully made. A child of king. Put on the earth to experience His creation. I am one of His prized, most valued. The spark, the fire, the passion that was present the day that God created my spirit still burns and it burns bright.
I say that to say this. I don't hate myself anymore. I am at peace with myself. I even like myself. Even in my worst days, even when I screw up and miss it by a mile. When I am irritable and flat out mean. I am still the creation of the King. A miracle by most accounts. Created for a purpose.
If you hate yourself...If you find yourself in a similar recurring theme. Know this: It isn't healthy, it isn't normal. IT ISN'T TRUE. You have taken a false identity. Don't heap the punishment on yourself that Christ paid the price for. "For you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
"God created you and He created you with the power to bring light into darkness and order into chaos."
"When the credits roll at the end of your life,
How will you have wanted to live?"
-Donald Miller, Storyline
Parker is very excited to pretend to read this book
Today I started Storyline by Donald Miller. I've only gotten through the introduction, I haven't even got to any of modules yet and I'm already wrecked.
Personally, I have the tendency to float. To let one moment move to the other. Reactionary, never planning. Here is the truth of this kind of lifestyle in relation to stories: "If a character doesn't know what they want, the story gets muddled. The same is true in life. " (page 7)
This is a book about finding your story, knowing first that the story isn't about you. This is God's story. Our story is a subplot along the way.
You have to find how your subplot relates to the great love story God is telling the world, all of humanity. Often this is difficult for me. My tendency is feel like a burden on everyone I know. That I drag down everyone I care about. That when I pray I am bothering God, distracting Him from what He really needs to be paying attention to.
Then I read this...
"There are probably days when you feel like the world would be better off if you stayed in bed but it isn't true. God created you and He created you with the power to bring light into darkness and order into chaos. You are necessary. And the sooner you believe that, the sooner you'll bond with God in living a great story." (page 20)
I read and re-read this. My natural inclination went straight to thinking this is applicable for others I know. How great this truth would be for this person or that person. Ignoring how difficult this is to accept this truth for myself. So I read it again even now, letting it sink in to my stubborn heart. That I am important to God. That I am necessary...then I read this next paragraph.
"Before you create your Storyline, understand your story matters. Don't play the victim and say "awe shucks" cause to do so is to insult God. You didn't make yourself in your mother's womb, God did, and to say you aren't important is to say his creation lacks substance."
My false humility is a flat insult to God. Who gave His own Son for reconciliation.
I'm still working on creating a plan, finding what I want and how to partner with God to tell an amazing story with my life...but I swear I will.