Getting Over Self

By: Marcy Barthelette

What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

I like being right! That sounds like a foolish statement, doesn’t it? But I guess most of us have that desire to one degree or another. For many years I was blessed, or cursed, depending on your perspective, with a pretty accurate memory. When I recalled a situation, those around me typically accepted that my account was accurate. I seldom made mistakes with details. My memory netted me my first real job. I’d been on probationary status with a major retailer in St. Louis during the Christmas holidays when a position opened that required good organizational skills and a lot of memory work. My employer entrusted me with the position and I developed a really good working relationship with the various people who depended on me for accurate information regarding the company’s in-stock inventory. I stayed with them until being a mom became more important than earning an income. My family and friends still came to me for my memories of details surrounding events in our collective lives. No one questioned the information I offered because they knew I had a really good memory and, if I said it was right it had to be right. Perhaps this gave me a false sense of pride and perhaps I became a little too comfortable in my role as family historian and with any other details sought by folks I knew.

And then along came Ken, who doesn’t trust much of anything at face value. It doesn’t matter who says what, he has to prove the accuracy of the statement for himself. At first, I just felt he didn’t trust me and, if I’m totally honest, I sometimes still feel that way. But over the years, I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only one with thoughts and opinions, not to mention that my once excellent memory is not as keen as it once was. That is not to say that I don’t still like having the last word in a “discussion” but I’m trying to remind myself that others often value that position as well. Letting someone else have the last word tells them that I respect them and their opinions.

Why does the human mind have this desire to be right? I suppose it’s a kind of power trip, but what would happen if we, instead, considered the possibility that others might have something to offer us if we just gave them a chance? If we stifled our own not-so-humble attitudes and just listened. How would another person react if we gave them our full attention even if we don’t agree?

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule. Matthew 5:3 MSG

Sometimes it takes a cataclysmic event in our lives to act as a reminder that we are all children of God and He loves each of us equally. Sometimes it happens in the everyday task of just living life. One of those simple everyday reminders caught my attention not too long ago. I had bought a new insulated cup that I really liked. I carry water with me all the time, so I have a collection for different uses but this is my favorite. There was just one problem. I hadn’t figured out how to separate the slide from the top for cleaning. I had tried every conceivable way that I could think of but this slide seemed permanently affixed. Then one night as we worked on a puzzle, I accidentally knocked the cup to the floor. After cleaning up my mess I looked around and realized that the fall had dislodged the slide from my cup. I was upset with my clumsiness at having broken that cup, but when I picked up the two pieces and held them close together in my hand, the magnet in that slide attached itself to the top…problem solved. I hadn’t sought advice. I hadn’t Googled for information. I hadn’t gotten past trusting in myself. I thought I’d covered all the bases singlehandedly but I hadn’t. Did God push my elbow toward that cup and knock it to the floor? I don’t know, but I do know that I  got a small but necessary wake-up call that I often need help, whether from those nearby or my heavenly Father. Sometimes I just have to “get over myself.”

However our wake-up calls are delivered, it’s time to take stock of “whose” we really are. Any time that we step aside and allow others to be more important than ourselves, we are showing the love that Jesus lavished on everyone around Him. I consider myself one of His children, but I still have a very long road ahead to becoming even a fraction of what He asks of me. I ask Him every day to keep me focused on the right road. It’s unnatural for the human mind to make itself less than others, but when there is less of us in our personal interactions, there is always more of God. And that’s the greatest reward of humility.

Instead of convincing people we’re right, let’s be humble. Humble people know when to speak and when to be silent. People listen to our lives even more than our words, and it will be love that moves them in the end. Bob Goff, Live In Grace, Walk In Love   

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