Today, Lisa blogs about, basically, living without pride. Without putting on a (brave or covering-up) face. She begins with:
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. " 2 Corinthians 12:9
Lisa suggests that "If I can’t do it well (whatever it is), I’d rather you not watch.
But if I wait until I get it perfect, you may never see it at all.
When Barbara Brown Taylor was stepping into a more public preaching role in her church, she recalled this advice below. I say let’s take it for ourselves in our everyday lives.
'As my beloved rector had told me in seminary, being ordained is not about serving God perfectly but about serving God visibly, allowing other people to learn whatever they can from watching you rise and fall.
“You probably won’t be much worse than other people,” he said, ”and you certainly won’t be any better, but you will have to let people look at you. You will have to let them see you as you are.” '
– Barbara Brown Taylor, Leaving Church
"That’s not to say let’s be hypocrites and do our works just to be seen by men (Matthew 6:1-2).
But let’s also not keep God our private little secret, hidden away until we canfor unveil him with the perfect ta-da ! moment.
Be a light for other people in your humanity to point them to God in his divinity (Matthew 5:14-16).
Be imperfect. Take the insult. Rest in your weakness.
Sometimes the bravest thing you can do—the strongest, the most loving—is just be who you are.
Honor your Creator.
Let him be God."
Now, I tend to think that, generally, I AM real. Perhaps, at times, being too hard on myself. Whatever, folk usually see me 'warts and all'.
Except, I realised, in my relationships. (That 'except' is only for now: I am sure God will show me other aspects of my life which need a lot of sorting out. And I mean A LOT.)
When I read "Take the insult." I realised I have a huge amount of PRIDE in having good relationships. In having good relationships with all my friends, colleagues, acquaintances. In being able to 'fix' misunderstandings...to be PERFECTLY honest, I demand - of myself - perfection in relationships.
This attitude has caused me a lot of grief. Of course, I've tried to blame it on everyone else: on the friend who, because of her own insecurities, became uneasy in my presence and cut the relationhip off; on the young woman who, because of her own mental issues, demanded I behave in a certain way towards her and then threw criticism and accusation at me; on the aggressive neighbour; the selfish colleague....
That grief should not be mine. Pride means that I demand they behave in a certain way - sounds familiar? Self-centredness takes other people's issues onto me, instead of my leaving those problems firmly outside the door of my heart.
I needed to repent of my pride. It doesn't matter (well, it does, but I'm dealing with it) what others have done: what matters primarily is my attitude.
So here I go: eating humble pie. Admitting that I've failed at fixing relationships. Agreeing with Jesus that I'm not as perfect with people as I think I am.
And I love this comparison of pride with grilled cheese, thanks to Kate at teachingwhatisgood:
" Grilled Cheese versus Pride
Cheese hidden sandwiched between 2 slices of bread; pride hidden sandwiched between our human frailty and our longing to be considered more than we are
An ancient food and popular across most cultures: an ancient struggle, beginning in The Garden and common to all cultures of man
A simple food; as simple as desiring to place yourself above God
Takes on many forms; shows itself in many forms
Called by different names in different cultures; the secular world calls it by many different names, most of which reject the sin aspect
Can be disguised by various additions or specialty items; can be hidden in our hearts and disguised as something good for our self worth
Must be swallowed to have nutritional benefit; must be swallowed to have character growth and personal maturity
Heat melts the cheese; heat brings out the full blown character flaws"
I'm usually quick to spot perfectionism in others and am blind to it in myself, but this post has shown me an area in which I have a BIG problem with trying (and failing!) to be perfect.
Lisa asks if there are areas in which I've succeeded against perfectionism... well, I would have said being houseproud, but I've just spent a quite a bit of time spring cleaning. I would have said I didn't have too much of a problem, but Jesus is showing me all kinds of areas in which, when I lose control of a situation I find myself demanding perfection...so quite a work in progress. "The heart is deceitful above all things' - Jeremiah 17:9