I was walking around the house this morning feeling cranky. I’ve come to realize that when I’m grumpy, it’s likely because pride is flaring up.
I remember the first time I realized that my grumpiness was pride. I was blaming all my woes on others and being generally disgruntled. I was angry and bitter and very frustrated. I was swiping through Facebook, and our ministry page just so happened to have posted about the symptoms of pride that day. I looked down the list in shock. I’d been blaming others when it was my own pride causing my condition.
I spent the rest of the day in self loathing. “Pride is what got Lucifer kicked out of Heaven, and now God’s going to kick me out of His family,” I had thought. I cried and cried and cried. How could I have fallen into pride?!?!
I laugh now because it wasn’t that I hadn’t been prideful before, but God had been merciful to keep it hidden until He and I were ready to deal with it. He was more ready than I was. I spent the day hating myself – something I had mastered my first 30 years of life; a tough habit to break.
When I met with one of my leaders later that week, she reminded me of the basics of Christianity – basics I forgot in my identity crisis. Jesus died so that we could be forgiven. He died so we could be free. God gives us grace to overcome.
I’d been wallowing in misery and guilt when all I had to do was repent, receive my forgiveness, and move on. Submit to God, resist the enemy.
That first battle with pride lasted far too long, but just as I’ve learned to be quick with forgiveness, I’ve learned to be quick to repent. So this morning, after a healthy “ugh,” I said, “I repent for pride. I surrender it to You. Please humble me.”
I had plans to work on Set Free – Book 3, but then I saw an awesome post by my spiritual father that said, “Don’t write until you wrestle, because it takes a lot of work to reach the gold veiled in stone.”
I thought I had been ready to write, but the moment I saw his post and honored his voice in my life, I knew my heart wasn’t right to work on that project yet.
“Lord, what would you have me work on today?”
I learned the hard way that my time doesn’t belong to me. The more I try to control my days, the more I experience that grumpiness I mentioned above. My best days are those when I’m floating the lazy river of grace flow. Each morning I wake up looking for where God is releasing grace. Sometimes I’m writing for 8 hours straight. Sometimes I’m taking pictures in the woods. Sometimes I’m mowing the lawn.
My discipleship pathway has made me lazy to do things without grace, and when I’m in situations where I’m feeling a lack of grace flow, I know that it’s a new opportunity to surrender to God.
I had a blog post I wanted to record for YouTube and publish about an awesome encounter I had called “Rainbows over Wheat Fields.” Up until this point, I was proud of myself for just posting. Just get it done, I thought.
But my spiritual forefather recently posted a blog/YouTube video called, “How to Overcome These 10 Symptoms of a Fear of Failure.” In it, he mentioned how he was still working to get lighting and audio right in his videos. Holy Spirit brought it to remembrance, and then slapped me with conviction. If my spiritual forefather was tinkering to improve his videos, then I ought to tinker too.
I looked up a few videos, and realized that I didn’t have a bunch of fancy equipment, so instead I just used what I had. I walked around the house, trying to find the best natural light source. I located and relocated trying to find a good angle. I moved around a lamp trying to get something called “fill light” which is a term I didn’t know before today. I have a rolling desk that I was scootching around, and each time I did, my phone that I had set up would tip over. After a dozen times, I started huffing and puffing and wanting to give up.
I started growling and wanting to quit.
“God, I surrender. I need help. What do You want me to do?”
I remembered the voice of my spiritual father preaching, “You can’t have a good idea without Holy Spirit.” I laughed the frustration away and sat in my bean bag, waiting for the good ideas to come. Ever-faithful, I started getting wisps of ideas that I submitted to. I could still see the value of investing in equipment, but I was able to take things I had and double the quality of the video I was able to produce above and beyond what I could have done on my own.
God took my repentance, and led me through a pathway of humbling me, maturing me, and improving me. After all was said and done, I literally felt different. When I competed in jiu jitsu, I won a lot of tournaments, but the victories never produced any lasting change in my life.
When God leads you to victory, it transforms you. When you experience truth, the truth sets you free.
I’d been afraid of failing at producing good lighting. If left to my own devices, I just didn’t care about good lighting. When I submitted to the process of learning about lighting and trying to apply what I’d learned, I hit a wall where who I was couldn’t produce the desired outcome.
It’s in that moment that God transforms identity – in the moment of surrender. Surrender releases the grace flow, and grace produces the overcoming victory that changes identity.
As I was recording the blog post using the new lighting set up, I thought, “Wow! This looks so much better!” I didn’t buy anything new, I just submitted to Holy Spirit’s plan. And after going through all that learning and dying, I have a better idea for how to invest to get the biggest impact for future improvements.
Let’s talk about all the fruit of submission 🙂 I got set free of some pride. I gained greater humility. I got an improved lighting set-up, and the knowledge and wisdom that comes from trial and error and overcoming. But I also got opened up for grace flow to improve other things and start branching into new projects. I went until the grace ran out, and at that moment, I knew it was a time to rest.
Sometimes Holy Spirit has taken me through situations like this where I had to surrender to receive the grace to overcome. In other situations, I’ve walked through so that it could be revealed who I was not. My spiritual father, Dr. Joshua Todd says 90% of discipleship is dealing with who you’re not.
There is such security in knowing who God created you to be, and who He didn’t. The more God humbles me, the more I learn when I need to ask for help. I see how God created me with certain gifts and talents, and that there are places where I need to rely on people who He made with other gifts and talents. When different gifting and callings come together, then the joints supply. Two people can receive and release from the treasury that God created within them. It’s a beautiful thing!