Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Year of Egg Nog as it Relates to Humility

I hate egg nog. I've always hated egg nog. Every year I think maybe I might like egg nog, but as it turns out- every year I just hate egg nog. I think it's probably the texture and consistency... or maybe the smell... but probably the taste... in any case, I just hate egg nog.

This year is going to be different. This is the year of the nog, my friends... this is the jolly good year that egg nog finally has victory over my taste buds.

The other day I was evaluating my progress as I am a little over four months into being twenty-four. At some point down the line (a month or two into this (age) year) I realized somewhat of a shift in myself. I started taking risks. I started doing things a little bit more out of my comfort zone. I started doing things that were a little more spontaneous. None of them were easy, nor are they even now, however, I do them nonetheless. In high school I remember being told I was incredibly stubborn, and as much as I disagreed with the implication, I must come to terms with its truth. I was stubborn, and for the most part I still am. However, one thing I've noticed is my willingness to try things I've always been too stubborn to go for.

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom."
Proverbs 11:2

Ultimately my stubbornness is based in pride. I can't deny that, and most likely neither can you. When I'm stubborn it's typically because I'm unwilling to consider other sides, I'm unwilling to be open to reason, I'm unwilling to let myself be wrong, and/or I'm unwilling to let myself come across as vulnerable, weak or imperfect. Nobody likes showing their flaws, and when it comes to being stubborn, all you're really doing is hiding your flaws from yourself while showing your insecurity off to others. (Maybe that's harsh, and maybe that's wrong, but I'm going to go ahead and stick to it anyway.)

As I was saying- Over the last few months I've kind of shifted in my mentality when approaching new things, or even things that aren't necessarily new, simply things I've always relented of doing based out of stubbornness.

To summarize some of my thoughts since April: Stop worrying about yourself and just go for it. God is bigger than any decision I make. I just want to enjoy Him and his goodness toward me.* For me, however, very personally, my stubbornness and pride are probably the biggest hindrances in me fully experiencing His joy and outpouring of  blessings in my life.

Now I'm not saying, just make rash decisions, and maybe there won't be consequences. I'm saying lay down your pride and fear of failure and instead enjoy the gifts God has given you to enjoy- be it in going after new opportunities, be it in sharing your faith with your coworkers or classmates, be it in digging up those buried talents and sharing them with the world, be it in taking leaps of faith, be it in going new places, or be it in giving egg nog a second chance... or a third... or a fourth. Who knows, you might end up enjoying it. I'm saying be willing to be spontaneous. I'm not saying be unwise or negligent in your decisions. God is big enough to bless you outrageously when you humble yourself and He is big enough to restore you if and when you mess up. Basically, He is big enough to work a miracle in your taste buds and he is big enough to heal you through the process if the egg nog ends up being a thick, and milky disaster on your kitchen floor.

Life is short, and sometimes it seems the small moments of taking a risk or trying something new bring so much joy and refreshment to what often just becomes monotony. I never want to be someone that settles into living life one way because it's comfortable, but I want to constantly be trying new things, taking on new tasks, and allowing myself to take risks, because it's those little things that make life more interesting. I could live the same day over and over again every day for the rest of my life. I could get into a groove, or a rhythm, or a system and repeat it every day for the rest of my life, but that just gets boring. It's almost like a broken record... or that song you played on repeat over and over when you were a pre-teen and now you can't stand. It's those little changes that keep stuff interesting, and it's those things, even the smallest choices, like approaching a stranger just because you feel led to, or going out of your way to have coffee with an acquaintance, that can produce immense blessing. I've learned that if I'm unwilling to try even the little, intimidating, new things now, I'm probably going to be unwilling to go after the bigger, more intimidating things later.

"I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him."
Ecclesiastes 3:14

Luckily God is wildly gracious, and luckily God is wildly sovereign. Nothing I screw up will thwart his plans. Luckily He  works everything for good for those who love him and are called according to his purposes. So either way I learn a lesson: Either things don't work out as perfect as I want and my flesh is humbled, or I realize His grace in my situation is so abundant that my only natural response is to be humbled by it. Either way- my pride takes a hit. Either way- I will learn humility. And friend, a lesson in humility is a hard lesson well worth learning. And even still there is no little lesson in humility not worth learning; because our pride is a brute not easily destroyed and even the small attacks at it are progress. So learn to embrace the lessons in humility. Have a teachable spirit. Teachable spirits are humble spirits and often times that teachable spirit makes mistakes along the way. It's by grace that "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

"Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
Matthew 23:12

Have enough faith to step out of what's comfortable for you and have enough faith to believe that God is bigger than your potential humiliation. Then go for it- whatever it is. And don't forget to enjoy it. Life is a process... one long process... so learn to enjoy the process, otherwise you're going to end up missing out on an immense amount of joy.

*If joy is fruit of the spirit (which it is) why do I so not take that one seriously.? In my mind it's almost like the optional fruit, the one that is not so much a "you need to work on this" but a "it's nothing nearly as serious as working on your patience." I mean, shouldn't we be growing in all of the fruits and not just the ones we think are important. I'd venture that PERHAPS we ought to not just pray, "give me patience" and expect opportunities to exercise it, but ALSO "give me joy" and expect opportunities to embody it. Perhaps I'll write a book called, "The forgotten fruit: joy" and tag line it "So we all need to work on loving people or self control, but since when did it become okay to throw Joy out with the bath water?"

1 comment:

Roberta said...

Nice work. Keep writing.