102 Humility Not Shame

I last blogged in June of 2014. I have been working through a lot of things, especially moving out of our apartment last year. I finally decided to take a year off in keeping with Exodus 23:10-11, “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused.” Some people call this the Shemitah year. That occurred from September 2014 to September 2015. Lately, I have been taking care of Marguex, and we are working through buying a house, so still very busy. I want to start blogging again and am taking the time to do this. Here is the first of what hopefully will be a long series of more blogs. Thanks for being patient.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom Proverbs 11:2

Last time I wrote about magic-bullet prayer. We cannot make God do our bidding. We simply lay our requests before Him and trust Him with the answers. We need to persist in prayer in humility, not demanding our way with God. Humility involves surrendering our will to God’s will.

Yet, we need to take care of ourselves. We need to provide for our needs and desires. We need to assert ourselves, right? Modern psychology certainly would back all these statements. However, I find the Bible to take a very different approach. According to the Bible, we need to humble ourselves before God, and He will provide for us.

To humble ourselves, we need to cast our cares upon God in trusting obedience. We humbly look to Him to provide for all of our needs and even to decide what it is we really need. We accept His will for our lives and lay aside our selfishness and selfish ambition.

To humble ourselves may seem like shame. We need to learn the difference. In humility we acknowledge our limitations before the Almighty God. In shame we say that we are less than others. Shame leads to pride, not humility. We can humble ourselves without rejecting ourselves. Rejecting ourselves exhibits pride because we claim to have some authority to decide whether or not we are acceptable. God has already accepted us in His own dear Son Whom He loves!

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 1:14

God wants us to humble ourselves so that He can exalt us. Humility is not about making ourselves nothing, but about receiving the gift of what God thinks about us. Shame and humility are not the same thing. We need ongoing revelation on this to discern the difference.

Looking for His ongoing revelation,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching/shepherding 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

97 Humility Summary

The secrets to humility change how we relate to others. These secrets are:  Weakness, Worship Listening Obedience, Confession, Learning not to Boast, Responsibility, Overlooking an Offense, Pain, Asking for Help, Receiving Gifts, Thankfulness, Receiving Compliments, Seeking to Understand, Advice, Yielding an Argument, Understanding Anger, Forgiving, Giving, Serving, Contentment, Waiting, Joy, Kindness, Rest, The Right Fear, Salvation and Clothed.

Does the above list seem impossible to accomplish? Good, because it is. We cannot humble ourselves with our own power. Owning our inability to make ourselves humble actually moves us closer to true humility. Realizing our limitations, we cry out to God for help, placing ourselves under His mighty hand.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him Who called us by His Own glory and goodness. II Peter 1:3

The humility list could continue indefinitely. Any circumstance beyond our ability teaches us humility. When bad things happen, let us rejoice! Yes, rejoice in the bad things that happen to us. God uses them to develop humility in our character. (James 1:2-4) We need humility to receive the good things God has for us as gifts. Faith, hope and love (I Corinthians 13:13) also become a part of our character. These four traits work together.

A secret for losing humility is to talk about how good we are at it. (Luke 18:12) Even if we are not boasting about how humble we have made ourselves, talking about humbling ourselves can open our hearts to seeking praise from men rather than praise from God. In reminding one another of the need to humble ourselves we need to be sensible of the temptation toward claiming credit.

We resist humbling ourselves. Humbling ourselves can be agonizing because we become aware of the shame as well as the other feelings and memories that go with it. Pride masks our shame. Letting go of pride makes us vulnerable. Allowing ourselves to look at all of this is a step in the process of finding freedom from pride, shame and perfectionism. We allow ourselves to heal when we let go of denying our shame. We can respond to shame either with humility or with pride. Shame is masked by pride. We are not freed from shame by pride. God liberates us with humility. We are freed from shame as we humble ourselves under His mighty hand. (1 Peter 5:6)

Realizing I have lots to let go of,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching/Shepherding Hospitality Mercy Encouragement

Bringing grace and truth to the downcast; comforting others with the comfort, which we have been comforted.

We have a dream & need support and prayers.

Blog Outline at: http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

85 Forgiving

Secret number 17 to finding humility is to forgive.  Jesus taught the disciples to pray to the Father like this, “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Mt. 6:12)  Undoubtedly, you have heard much about God’s forgiveness.  It seems to be the primary topic used by teachers of the Word.  His forgiveness enables us to be in relationship with God.  Forgiveness is vital.  Yet it can take time and requires humility.

We need to forgive others as an act of faith through the power of the blood of Jesus.  Our lack of forgiveness shows unbelief in the power of His blood to make atonement for everyone’s sins.  To be consistent, we need to recognize the blood is good enough not only for our sins but also for the sins committed against us.  In fact, submitting to Jesus’ Lordship necessarily involves forgiving those who hurt us.  Keep in mind the story of the servant who was forgiven much and then went and demanded payment from a fellow servant for a small amount. (Matt. 18:23-35)

“But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Matt. 6:15

Receiving God’s forgiveness enables us to forgive others, which then frees us from the shame and hurt caused us by other’s sin against us.  If we refuse to forgive others at this point, we then block ourselves from receiving God’s forgiveness.  We need to forgive in order to receive forgiveness.  Do you want to be forgiven?  Then forgive.  This is easy to write but how do we forgive others who have wronged us?  We first need to keep in mind that we have been forgiven by God and by others.  Whether or not we feel forgiven, we need to remember that we have been forgiven.

Second, forgiving is not the same as forgetting.  We don’t need to forget what others have done to us in order to forgive them.  Rather, we need to let go of any thoughts of revenge or punishing those who have hurt us.  If we want to punish others, we only succeed in hurting ourselves.  Bitterness is the poison we swallow in hopes of hurting the one who hurt us.  Lack of forgiveness blocks healing.

If forgiving others still feels impossible, then we need to have a good, long conversation with Jesus.  Tell Him exactly what happened in detail.  Then we need to listen to what Jesus has to say.  He has a healing word for us.  We only need to listen.  Remember, He said, “the sheep listen to His voice.  He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10:3)

If, after a long talk with Jesus, you still feel weighed down with bitterness and don’t feel able to forgive, know this:  You really can’t forgive on your own power.  It’s okay.  God understands.  Now don’t’ hear me say that you don’t need to forgive.  Rather, you need God’s power to forgive!  Ask God to give you the power to forgive.  Then watch for His divine power to work and receive the ability to forgive from Him as a gift.  God will forgive through you and in you.  Allow His forgiveness to flow through you.  After receiving His forgiveness, give it away.  We don’t deserve to be forgiven, it is a gift.  Those who hurt us don’t deserve to be forgiven.  Forgiveness is about grace; we neither earn nor deserve it.  We receive forgiveness from God and give it to others.  Life in God’s kingdom requires forgiveness.  Nice side benefit:  when you truly forgive you actually begin to forget!

Finding the grace to forgive,

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

84 Anger

Secret number 16 to finding humility is learning to let go of anger.

Stop your anger!  Turn from your rage!  Psalm 37:8 NLT

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.  Proverbs 29:11 NIV

I have changed my ideas about anger a few times over the years.  At one time I thought anger was an evil to be avoided.  Later, I realized that I really could not avoid encountering anger at times.  I even went to the point of embracing anger as a friend.  I thought it could be used as a way to overcome shame.  Yet, all the anger I have felt over the years has not taken away my shame.  Anger signals a problem but, in and of itself, does not solve the problem.

We need to understand why we are angry and deal with the issue.  Then we need to let go of the anger itself.  An analogy from fishing is catch and release.  We need to catch our anger—realize we are feeling it and find from whence it comes.  We may need to do something in response.  The anger can give us emotional impetus to do that, but then we need to let go of anger.  Holding on to anger harms us and those in our lives.

In our perfectionism we vacillate from squelching our hearts with shame to giving free vent to our anger which can result in shaming others.  We need to learn how to put our hearts on a “dog leash” or, in the case of our home, a “cat leash”.  We need to actually feel what our hearts feel while also learning to respond appropriately.  Shaming ourselves for feeling only squelches the feelings, intensifies them and prolongs them.  At the same time, these intense feelings do not give us permission to do whatever we feel like doing.

Our Example, Jesus knew beforehand that Judas would betray Him and was in anguish about it. (John 13:21)  Since Jesus experienced intense emotions, we will, as well.  Experiencing intense emotion does not mean we are not spiritual.  We have emotions.  How we respond to our emotions is what matters.  The way of humility involves letting go of the intensity of our emotions rather than holding on to this intensity.  Holding on to this swirl can lead to bitterness, selfishness, strife, etc.  Emotions take time to wind down.  Jesus, in dialoging with others and taking His strong emotions to His Father is our example in dealing with our own strong emotions.  We need to let hope replace anger as we learn to let go.  Learning is a process and takes time.

As we learn to let go of the past and look forward to the future we will realize that our past need not tie us down; our future can look very different from our prior experiences.  We need to trust God and believe in Him.  Our future is full of hope, bright and beautiful.  God is a Way-Maker and will make a way for us.

Trusting Him and holding on with a mustard seed of faith,

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

Sermon related to anger:    http://www.vineyardop.org/resources/multimedia/details/?id=244823

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

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

23 Performance Trap

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven.”  Matthew 6:1

Rules flow out of fear.  The rules may issue out of fears, such as:  fear of failure, fear of being punished or even out of fear of losing praise.  By our rules we try to avoid bad things.  By our good performance we try to create good things.  We think that if we do the right thing at the right time, good will result.  We seek to obey all the rules and do all the right things.  Sometimes this even works!

Positive results reinforce our performance and striving behavior.  If we crave praise and diligently seek it, we find ourselves in The Performance Trap.

Jesus calls us to obey Him rather than our man made rules.  Valuing what people say about us more than what God says about us makes an idol out of human praise.  You may think receiving praise is harmless, but consider how you allow it to control you.  What are some things you have done today solely because someone else thought you should do it rather than doing it because it was on your task list for the day?  Do you run after praise?

You may be thinking, “But, I’m supposed to try to please others.”  Why?  Who says?  What will happen if you don’t?  Are you obeying Jesus in your people-pleasing behavior?  “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)

Where is your emotional investment, earthly treasure or heavenly treasure?  I am speaking of praise as a type of treasure.  “’Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Let go of performing for others.  What is God saying to you about your motivations?  Choose to live for Him and His glory rather than for your own glory.

Learning to live for the Master,

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.  Prayers needed.

Outline:  https://livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com/

17 Shame

I have danced around the subject of shame.  Previous posts provided tools to deal with it.  I hope that you are ready to hear about this deep, dark, intractable subject.

(H)e raped her…Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing.  She put her hand on her head and went away; weeping aloud as she went…And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman.  2 Samuel 13:14,19,20

Shame feels like hopelessness, emptiness, worthlessness, loneliness or pain.  Shame relentlessly hits our souls and identities with negative messages.  Shame diminishes and intensifies, but it never completely goes away.  Triggers remind us of our shame.

Our identities developed in childhood.  Back then, we believed what happened to us was about or even because of us.  When parents or other significant people in our lives wounded us repeatedly, we came to believe that we were defective.  This formed our shame-based identity.

Shame feels like guilt, and so we may confuse the two.  Indeed, they intermix when we sin as others sin against us.  To heal from shame, we need help discerning the difference between the two.  With guilt, we confess how we hurt others and receive forgiveness through the blood of Christ.  With shame, we need to acknowledge how other people hurt us, which can involve letting ourselves feel the anger we have towards them.  Throughout this process, we need to forgive them through the power which Christ’s blood affords us.  We resist forgiving, especially so when others do not acknowledge how they hurt us.  We still need to forgive them.  Forgiving can be a long and difficult process.  Yet it ultimately frees us.  As Francis Frangipane writes, “Unforgiveness is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

Beyond forgiving, we need to receive from God our new identity as forgiven and beloved.  As we receive God’s forgiveness and love, our shame-based identity fights back and struggles for survival.  When we try to kill our shame-based identity, we shame ourselves. We actually feed it in trying to destroy it.  Rather, we need to let go of the old identity and allow God to transform us into our new identity in Christ.  We cooperate with Him when we stop trying to earn His love, yield to Him and let Him give us our new identity.

Let go of shame.  Shame can stick like glue and it resists dying.  Do not focus on shame. Rather, focus on God, His love and forgiveness.  God created us.  He nurtures our new self.  Open your heart and mind to Him.  Crying out to Him opens your heart to Him.  Receive His love as gift.

Much of our recovery involves letting go of shame and receiving God’s love.

Learning to see myself as His beloved,

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.  Prayers needed.

Outline:  https://livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com/