Jesus, take the will

Humility
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by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

Do you know the song by The Beatles, “Let it Be”? I love the melody but hate the message. That is, my ego hates the message. What my ego loves is not letting things be and manipulating things instead.

I came face-to-face with this ugly truth – yet again – yesterday. The situation was innocent, I was innocent, or so I thought. All I wanted to do was make things more organized and convenient–for myself. So, I took it upon myself to take someone else’s idea of organization and reorganize it to fit my needs.

I didn’t think anything of it until my actions were mirrored back to me – within minutes – by that same someone reorganizing something that I organized. And then it happened: Within seconds, a light bulb formed above my head and shed light on the master lesson I had received from the Master Teacher.

*Charlie Brown voice* Good grief!

What I grieved was knowing that I was the one who started the karmic loop of reorganized noise. What I – and my ego – grieved most was making a direct amends for my originally willful actions because it meant acknowledging that I was wrong and that the other person responded within their rights.

As a recovering perfectionist, I prided myself on being right approximately 99 percent of the time. (Now, it’s more like 90 percent.) In any case, my overwhelming sense of pride can overpower my willingness to fully account for my wrongs.

King Hezekiah of Judah was another person who was mostly right but whose pride in his near-perfection actually seems legitimate, considering that God legitimized it.

“Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done.” ~2 Chronicles 29:1-2, NKJV

King David was God’s benchmark for royal and righteous servanthood. So, the fact that He saw Hezekiah’s actions in the same light as David’s shows just how legit Hezekiah was.

The Bible shows that Hezekiah ordered the cleansing of the temple, which had been defiled by the generations before, and restored worship within it, which is what it was intended for. He also kept the Passover and made significant reforms that refined Judah into the crowning jewel of God’s eye.

But between Hezekiah’s regal reforms and lasting legacy lies the hiccup of hesitant humility. (Ah, the mark of a true perfectionist, recovering or otherwise.)

“In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death, and he prayed to the Lord; and He spoke to him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.” ~2 Chronicles 33:24-26, NKJV

Hmm. The Spirit is indeed willing, but the ego is weak.

Much like Hezekiah, I, too, suffer from a weak ego that tries to act strong until God confronts it with my undeniable wrongs. And then…I go to pieces. When I finally do fess up, my frenemy-ego then finds all of my faults and tries to act strong against me!

Yet, while the ego is fickle, God is consistent in His desire to reach us by any ego-deflating means necessary. His point is not to cause us psychological harm but to give us emotional support through teaching us to love one another from a place of mutuality rather than hierarchy.

“…For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” ~Romans 3:22-23, NKJV

So, the next time you and I sin and fall short of perfection, we – with our egos – can fall onto “[God’s] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” knowing that if we humble ourselves before Him, He will catch us every time.

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Late bloomers rejoice!

Truth
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by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

I love a good underdog story.

Whether it’s the Philadelphia Eagles flying high in the Super Bowl or the Houston Astros soaring to victory in the World Series, you can generally find me cheering in the corner of the one who’s been counted out. That’s why – in case you were looking – you could’ve found me at the ProArts Theater on Maui a couple nights ago, championing the greatest underdog of all time–Charlie Brown.

 

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Growing up, I was hooked on primarily three things: Oreos, chocolate milk, and movies about Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. Every weekend, my parents would take me to the video store to rent movies…on VHS tapes. (Yes, Millennials, it’s true.) And every weekend, I’d choose movies from Charles Schulz’s vast array of Charlie Brown’s misadventures.

There was something about Charlie Brown with which I identified. Or maybe it was Lucy and her self-assured and self-obsessed attitude that I detested yet somewhat admired that struck a chord with me. Or maybe it was Linus and his way of positing thought-provoking philosophies while posing firmly with his blankie that held my attention. Or maybe it was Sally and her unbridled passion for Linus which she expressed again and again and again that I, as a kid, gagged over but I, as a romantic, fell head over heels for that caught my fancy.

Nope. It was Charlie Brown.

Whether we’d like to admit it or not, we’ve all felt like Charlie Brown at some point(s) in our lives–or, for much of our lives. Counted out of the in-crowd. Cast down by the higher-ups. Bullied, belittled and bested by ‘the best’. We all know what it feels like to be an underdog. So, too, we all have the opportunity to rise.

No, we may never win a Super Bowl or a World Series championship, but we can win the game of life by simply being the best versions of ourselves. That doesn’t mean to strive for ‘perfection’ though; it means to strive for truth.

“The truth is the mirror that never breaks. We can hold it up to anything or anyone and it will always reveal itself. Our individual truths are reflections of this universal truth; they embody the same principle, just in different frames to meet our individual specifications.” ~ Chapter 2: “Self-Compassion”, Part 3: How to Love Yourself by Stephanie Rochelle Redd

We are guaranteed winners when we are being our true selves, as God created and intended us to be. Talking with truth from our hearts. Walking in truth with our faith. Seeing ourselves and others as we and they truly are with the loving eyes of God. This is better than Wheaties for breakfast, folks. Living in truth is the life of champions!

While it took the Peanuts crew about two hours – plus intermission – to see through Charlie Brown’s shortcomings and value the truth of his goodness, we don’t have to wait that long, nor do we need others’ validation. We can choose, right now, to see our own true goodness – in all its unique glory – and talk it and walk it in ways that only we uniquely can.

super power

MAKERS

th Facebook-icon If you’ve made the choice to talk and walk in your true goodness, and you’d like some truly good company to talk and walk with, then click the links to find, follow and fellowship with us on Facebook and Instagram. Do you boo!