76 Pain

The eighth secret to finding humility is Pain!

God is refining my thoughts about finding humility.  We cannot make ourselves humble, but we can humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand.  We cannot achieve a state of humility on our own, but we can place ourselves, with an attitude of humility, under His care and control.  We confess our sins.  We worship God and praise others instead of boasting.  We claim responsibility for our own mistakes.  We listen to God and obey what we learn from Him.  Of course, our obedience will not be perfect.  To be perfect is not our focus, listening moment by moment to what Jesus teaches us and learning to obey Him is.  Then we become disciplined in this practice just as we do when we practice tennis, typing, a new language or an instrument.

Pain, weakness and overlooking offenses are tools that God uses to work the discipline of humility in us.  We need to change our minds about them.  Our tendency is to avoid dealing with pain, weakness and offenses.  However, when we are in pain we can practice humility and crying out to God.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.  For what son is not disciplined by his father?…Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.  How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!…No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:7, 9, 11

Pain can drive us crazy.  We hate pain.  We try to avoid it, but it keeps coming back.  We do many things to get free from pain; such as taking drugs or alcohol.  In perfectionism we attempt to overcome pain or else try to ignore it.  Yet, if we are honest, we have to admit we feel pain.  Really, though, pain helps us realize we need to make changes, that we need God to make these changes.  If we do not go to God with our pain, we will not be able to find freedom from it.  We may find temporary freedom, but not lasting freedom for which our hearts yearn.

Pain reminds us of how weak we are.  In our pride we resist humbling ourselves even under the onslaught of pain.  We need to let go of pride and cry out to God in the midst of pain.  “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17)  In crying out to God, we open our hearts to Him.  We need to seek His face and submit to His will for us, trusting Him with our circumstances.  He promises His comfort.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  II Corinthians 1:3-5

Passing on the comfort with which I’ve been comforted,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

75 Overlooking Offenses

The seventh secret to finding humility is: Overlooking offenses.

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

Pride comes from shame. Shame affects how we view peoples’ behavior towards us. Pride makes us overly sensitive to offenses. When we are in our pride and shame we most often attribute negative motives to others and judge them. We want to correct those who have offended us and we feel impatient with them. However, we are the ones who need correcting when we judge others. We need to get the logs out before we attempt to correct anyone else. (Matthew 7:3-5)
Our own shame leads us to interpret others as being offensive. Shame comes from storehouses of memories in our hearts. These memories can trigger us by reminding us of times during which we felt shame. We do not need to consciously remember what happened in the past to feel shame in the present. Just knowing where shame came from can help us let go of it. The bad news is, we cannot free ourselves from shame. The good news is, by God’s grace and through humility, we can let go of shame.

The book Humility by Andrew Murray has given me powerful ideas. He says that we cannot make ourselves humble.  We cannot use these “secrets” of humility to make ourselves humble.  Rather, we allow them to highlight the ways in which we are not humble.  God alone works true humility in us.  “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom…But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of [rightness]” (James 3:13, 17-18)

When we realize that we have taken an offense we confess this to God, ask Him to free us and then ask Him to work His humility in us. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all [unrightness].” (I John 1:9)

Even if someone intentionally offends us, we do well to overlook it.  When we believe their view of us is less than what we think we deserve we try to improve how we look to them.  Catering to others’ opinions only has the opposite effect, however, and leads to a lower opinion of us in their eyes.  And when we feel offended, we tend to be offending towards others.  We become like Jesus when we remain silent in the face of unjust accusations.  We can choose, through His power, to overlook an offense. (Matthew 26:59-63)

Hoping I didn’t offend anyone by this post,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

Back to outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

74 Responsibility

The sixth secret to humility is taking reasonable responsibility.

Looking down on others lifts us up and gives us a false sense of self-esteem and security.  We try to define ourselves by our successes and not our failures.  We long to feel good about self and seek to maintain this positive view of self.  Yet, in seeking to maintain this positive view, we minimize our mistakes while maximizing our accomplishments.

When we humble ourselves and take responsibility for mistakes, we go against our shame and pride.  We need to keep in mind that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)  In our natural selves, we want to take credit for the things we do.  Yet, “all that we have accomplished [God has] done for us.” (Isaiah 26:12)  The flip side of this is not taking responsibility for the offense.  We need to resist this bent.

In our perfectionism, there is also the risk of going to the opposite extreme; that is, we become overly responsible.  Over-responsibility also flows from our pride.  We over-estimate our capabilities and think we should have known better if anything bad happens.  We expect ourselves to avoid all problems.

We need to find the balance between these two extremes.  We need to acknowledge when we have been wrong without being grandiose about what we could have done differently.  Safe people help us in this process.  We need feedback about our behavior from others.

 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”  Matthew 7:3-5

Safe people have taken the logs out of their own eyes.  They gently help remove others’ specks.  They let us know the logs in our own eyes.  We have much to learn from them.  Eventually, as we learn to let go of our perfectionism and find true humility, we become safe people.  Humility will come when we find our identity in Christ and put to death what is not of Him, because our true life is in Him. (Gal. 2:20 & John 14:6)  Truly, finding our identity from our successes can only lead us away from Christ.

My protection and success come from God alone.  Psalm 62: 7 TLB

Letting go of my earthly identity,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we received.  We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

73 Boasting

The fifth secret to finding humility is:  Learning not to boast.

Now, brothers and sisters, I’ve applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.”  Then you will not be a puffed up follower of one of us over against the other.  For who makes you different from anyone else?  What do you have that you did not receive?  And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?  I Corinthians 4:7

Our hearts may feel empty and alone.  We try to fill ourselves with positive thoughts, but they don’t make us feel better.  We proceed to compare ourselves with others.  We may feel a little better, but comparison leads to pride and an inflated view of self.  Pride, at least, feels better than its flip side, shame.  We have learned to boast to keep ourselves in this “up” state.  This pride truly locks us into shame.  Humility helps us find genuine freedom.

We can so easily fall back into boasting.  Shouldn’t we get credit for the good we do?  We try to combat our shame by feeling good about our accomplishments but to no avail.  Instead, we need to take the path of humility so as to find relief from our shame.  If we humble ourselves before God, He will lift us up. (I Pet. 5:6)  We need to trust Him. (Prov. 29: 25)

We don’t even realize when we boast because it has become a habit.  It comes naturally.  We don’t think about our boastful thoughts as we constantly compare ourselves to others.  We rate ourselves based on these comparisons.

Alternatively, we can commend others.  We need to avoid our tendency to laud ourselves.  We need to look for the contributions others bring, tell them how they have enhanced the world around them and thank them for these contributions.  Instead of craving accolades let’s give them.  “Love your neighbor as yourself…and in humility value others above yourselves.” (Matthew 22:39…Philippians 2:3 emphasis mine)  Keep in mind, if no one repays the favor, great!  We then have an opportunity to humble ourselves.

Above all, we need to give the highest tribute to God.  He is the Author of everything good. (James 1:17)  Giving God worship, praise and thanksgiving will go against our tendency to credit ourselves.  Any qualities we possess (intelligence, attractiveness, athletic prowess, musicality and other talents), we received as gifts from God.

Acknowledging my tendency to boast,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME:  Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; reflecting the light we have received so that others can better see. We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Back to outline  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com