"He who has no sense of self-importance
cannot be ofended or deflated."
(W. Phillip Keller)
This is the lesson the Lord seems to be trying to impart to me these days. The universe does not revolve around me.
I actually started writing this post a couple of weeks ago, and was happy when some rush work came my way that caused me to lay it aside. Truth be told, I was embarrassed to write it. The thought of people I know reading it and getting a glimpse of the real me, made me burn with shame. But isn't that yet another aspect of the same issue? Aren't those thoughts still all about me, rather than any reflection of true Godly sorrow?
The Lord already knows the end from the beginning. He knows our hearts and all the things we are going to do before we even do them. The tests come, not for Him to see how we will react, but so that we can get a glimpse into whether we have learned our lessons yet, or whether we need to take another walk around the mountain. My three-part test started several weeks ago.
PART I: The person sitting next to me at a prayer meeting one morning, told me about an accountability group she belonged to. I asked if it was something I could attend too, and was really excited when she said I could. A few days later, however, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine, also in the group, telling me she was surprised that I had been invited without it first being discussed with the other members. She had had brought it up to them, and the consensus was that they didn't want me to come.
Now even though I could understand their having already bonded and not wanting to expand their numbers, and even though I realized I wouldn't have been able to go anyway because the hour conflicted with my work schedule, it did sting. In fact, for a moment, I felt as though I had been punched so hard it winded me.
PART II: That first sting was soon forgotten, but the test was not yet over. Our prayer group was going to have a special meeting, and the leader asked me if I would read a particular devotional I had shared with him and, in my own words, explain how it applied to the group. That was a moment of excitement mixed with trepidation. Excitement because I felt the Lord was finally taking me off the shelf, and trepidation because it had been a long, long time since anyone had asked me to do something like this.
So I prayed about it, and even asked a couple of other folks to pray for me too. Went to church and had copies made of the devotional to pass out. Stayed up really late because there was work I needed to finish, and after that there were some Scriptures I wanted to look up. Before I knew it, my guard was down, and thoughts started flitting through my mind such as how this would be the start of a new thing the Lord was about to do in my life, the beginning of a new ministry, how maybe there would be such annointing the next morning that I would get asked to do the devotional at the meeting planned for the day after as well, and on and on and on.
Well, pride does come before a fall, and to my great shame, all I got to do at the meeting was to pass out the copies of the devotional. I never got called on to read it, or to share my thoughts. There was a momentary pang of true remorse for what I had done to bring on this admonishment, but stronger than the remorse was the embarrassment I felt at having made such a big thing out of this invitation in my mind, even to the point of asked other folks for prayer. And so the Lord reminded me that had I taken to heart the quote at the top of this post, there would now be no cause for shame. After all, He did share the message via the handouts, even if He didn't choose to use me as His mouthpiece at this time.
PART III: At a time when I was bogged down with work, a rush project with a firm deadline that I had said I could meet, my computer got infected with a Trojan virus. What to do. I didn't have money to pay someone to fix the problem, so I swallowed my pride and called a friend I haven't been in touch with for almost a year, to see if her husband (a computer pro who had helped me in the past) might be willing to come to my aid once again. He tried to help me over the phone, but nothing worked, so he said he would stop by the next day with a program he had that would clean my computer, but he didn't.
Now did I stop to consider how things might be looking from his perspective--husband, father, son-in-law, juggling a myriad of responsibilities, commuting a huge distance to work and back every day, coaching a couple of his children's teams, active in church, and then here comes someone out of the past trying to add one more thing to an already overloaded plate? No, not at all. To the contrary.
My thoughts were all about me. How was I going to get my job done? I really needed the money. There were bills to be paid. This was my livelihood. Why couldn't he see how important this was and drop everything else? Wow! I can't believe the nerve of me intruding on their lives and then actually feeling wronged when he had other obligations that were a priority. What was I thinking.
So I guess it's one more trip around the mountain for me, but the Lord did show me some mercy and grace in the form of a perfect stranger, our church's IT person, who showed up in person, to help me with my computer. Hopefully the lesson has been learned!