Pride is such a sneaky slave-master.
It confuses and deceives, tricking you into feeling free, distracting you so that you never notice the slow clinking of the restraints on your wrists, the ever-increasing weight of the chains on your legs, dragging you down, holding you back, restraining your worship and your service.
Friends encourage you. Loved ones compliment you. A boss pats you on the back. They say: How well you are doing, how quick…how strong….how capable……and slowly you believe it.
Slowly you try to live up to it.
Because if you admit just for a second that you’re needy or weak, struggling in hidden ways, tearful, hurt, broken, tired, or sad, you’ve taken a hammer to that pristine persona. You’ve shattered the image of The Woman in Control or whatever fake statuesque creation you’ve built onto that shaky pedestal for others to see.
The truth is it’s hard to admit you’re not Super Girl or Wonder Woman, complete with cape, tights, mask and heroic strength and powers.
Because of pride, that’s why.
Most of us, after all, choose the super hero costume over the average, flawed, everyday, hard-working but imperfect woman we really are underneath all that bright-colored spandex.
But God won’t let us. Not forever, anyway.
He gently reveals our weakness on the tough days:
….When we forget the appointment.
….Or lose our temper with our kids.
….Or pack our husband’s lunch but leave out the sandwich.
….Or put away the groceries one morning only to find the frozen broccoli a week later defrosted and disgusting in the pantry and the box of pasta iced over in the freezer.
I’ve been there, done that, refused to wear the t-shirt.
Truly, I need the grace.
I need the reminder that on the days I actually remember to sign my kids’ school agenda books and send in the right forms with the right child….on days when I get everybody ready for school AND manage a shower and makeup myself (even more so if I actually get to dry my hair)…that this isn’t because I have super powers.
It’s because I have God.
He helps me. He gives me rest. He strengthens me when I’m feeling worn down and He gives me energy when I’m sleep-deprived. I can’t take credit for that. I can’t accept the compliments from others and let it go to my heart and my head, making me think that I sure do have it all together.
I think of Peter’s mother-in-law, feverish and ill in bed when Jesus and His disciples stopped by for an unexpected visit (Matthew 8:14).
That poor woman, too sick to pretend to be Martha Stewart. Guests sat in her living room and she couldn’t pour cups of iced tea and serve cookies. She couldn’t tidy up quickly when she heard them knock on the door and hide the dirty dishes and the pile of clean clothes before inviting them in.
She needed Jesus in her moment of frailty. He healed her and then she could serve. He equipped her and then she could give.
On her own, she lingered frail and tired in the sick-bed, but in Christ and through Christ she rose in worship and thanksgiving to care for Jesus and His followers.
And when I’m struggling, it doesn’t mean I need to pull myself together all on my own. It means I need Jesus.
I need to lean in more onto Christ’s steady shoulders. I need His counsel, His wisdom, His help to be disciplined and discerning.
Or maybe it means I need to give myself the grace to accept help from others.
Either way, it requires being real and downright honest about who I am (plain old regular human being Heather) and who I’m not (endowed with superhuman powers of perfection and infallibility).
Maybe more of us need to make that honest confession.
I, ____________________ (insert your name here), am in need of God and in need of grace. I’m not perfect. I don’t always have it together. Sometimes I’m a mess. I often make mistakes. But I’m forgiven and God promises to help me do everything He’s called me to do.
That’s the challenge, isn’t it? To remember Paul’s prayer:
Now may the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV).
We’re equipped to do His will, not to do everything we volunteer for or everything others ask us to do or every good service and fun event we could pencil onto our calendars.
He gives us everything we need to fulfill the calling He’s given us today and no more than that.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King