Entries in habits (9)
I have been doing some reading recently on a myriad of topics, and humility is one of them. In one of the books the author says that one cannot go into a deeper sense of knowing self or God without humility. That made sense to me from several different levels, as we cannot hear what God is saying or doing in our lives if we aren't humble enough to listen. I came across another quote, not from the same author, which says this:
"What makes humility so desirable is the marvelous thing it does to us; it creates in us a capacity for the closest possible intimacy with God."
Humility reminds us that we are not always right, that we need others, and we need to stay in check with ourselves so as not to put ourselves in the position that God is suppose to be in our lives. I think it is easy for us all to do that. We have a lot of access to a lot of "stuff" instantaneously these days which is both good and bad. With that, we are becoming a society that doesn't know how to “do” intimacy with God, self, or others as we are too distracted. I encourage you to take time away from inanimate objects or other things that can tend to keep you distracted from God or other important people in your life. Doing so will continue to create a space within you that both longs for, and desires God. This will invariably expose our need for Him. Knowing our need, will keep us humble.
Waiting is not something we, as Americans, do well at. I know I am making a generalization, but our society has become more and more “instant” so we do not have to wait on much. To name a few, fast food, instant media access, and numerous ways to get in touch and stay in touch with friends and family. How our society currently operates, lends our thinking processes to an instant time frame or frame of reference. If we are not careful, we can generalize this type of thinking to how God works in our lives and even expect Him to operate in our instant time frame from which we are accustomed to operating.
Waiting on God I believe is what develops our character with God, ourselves, and others. It is in waiting on Him that we have to depend on Him, listen, and be still. It is all too quickly becoming a lost art. I came across a quote recently that says this:
"There should always be more waiting than striving in a Christian's prayer" - Evelyn Underhill
May we all take this to heart and learn to wait on God, verses demand that he come through for us.
Does taking responsibility for your behavior help you grow? Yes. We live in an era where it seems that most people find it easier to "pass the buck" than take responsibility. Does that help anything? NO. Growth requires us to be proactive. Taking a look at ourselves, taking responsibility for what we need to take responsibility for, asking for forgiveness when necessary, and moving forward is growth. Each time we take responsibility we move forward.
So why does it seem easier to "pass the buck"? In the immediate it may alleviate shame at some level but in the long run it causes more shame because the cycle gets deeper and deeper and the shame increases thus making intimacy in relationships suffer.
I encourage you to take a look at areas and relationships in your life where you feel like you have not taken responsibility and do so. In doing this you will receive great freedom and continued emotional growth will follow.
19-year-old Dennis recently made the news after he was sentenced to 60 days in jail for stealing a beer from a convenience store. He stole the $3.37 beer to celebrate having just gotten out of jail.
I watch people who repeat the same mistakes and wonder, "Will they ever learn?" But I need to ask myself the same question. Like everyone else, I have patterns of behavior that I tend to repeat despite the negative results they produce. These patterns may become so familiar that I don't even recognize them as harmful; I continue to experience their consequences (repeated relationship difficulties, familiar negative emotions, the "bad luck" that follows me everywhere) while failing to realize that I am a common denominator in these problems.
Significant, healthy change begins by first focusing on myself rather than on the people or circumstances around me. It means asking God to search out my heart. It means being vulnerable enough to ask trusted people to help me understand how others really experience me. It means listening more and defending myself less. It means being willing to be more intentional in experiencing relationships in new ways rather than following the old, familiar paths.
Want to learn more? A good book for helping individuals identify and adjust negative life patterns is Reinventing Your Life by Jeffrey Young and Janet Klasko. For understanding how these patterns work (and can change) in your marriage, check out How We Love by Milan & Kate Yerkovich.