Thursday, May 16, 2013

Lay Down My Pride


This morning, while reading chapter six of “Stressed-Less Living” by Tracie Miles, an image came to light and illuminated an important message for me – one that I was hoping to express here to all of you.  However, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to sit down and begin to write out those thoughts until this evening, I became worried that the inspiration and clarity I felt would drift away like a cloud on a windy day, just as so many of the messages like this one had before it.  That has proven to be one of my biggest obstacles that I’ve had to face in my writing – being able to retrieve inspired thoughts when the time finally comes in which I’m able to write.  All too often I find myself becoming distracted and frustrated to the point that what was once so clear in my mind, has now become fuzzy and disjointed.  Even though I was on guard of this happening today, I still found myself falling victim to it yet again and the reason why is simple – even though I’d prayed for clarity to remain, I had not put on the full armor of God.
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” ~Ephesians 6:11-12
Satan has sure done his homework in knowing just the right time to begin his assault in my life and on my mind.  He chooses his flaming arrows wisely and hits his targets with astounding accuracy – yes, Satan is a master when it comes to the art of destruction.  His attacks have come frequently and swiftly as of late.  With every revelation, motivation, inspiration from God, has been another bombardment from Satan, leaving me overwhelmingly fatigued, foggy-minded, and frustrated - all generally not feelings in which God’s Word can easily be activated in our lives.
Lord, I put on the belt of truth around my waist, and the breastplate of righteousness in place, so that I may stand firm with my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  Lord, I also take up the shield of faith, with which I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, and I put on the helmet of salvation and take up the sward of the spirit – your Word Lord – so that I will be alert and ready for his assault.  Lord, I thank you for the protection in which you have provided from the evil one and I give you all the glory that comes from this victory, in Jesus name, Amen.
Last week, I shared with all of you one of the areas in which Satan has been aiming his assault at in my life, starting all the way back in grade school – the flaming arrows of independence and pride – arrows in which struck and stuck when I found myself struggling with trust and hurt caused by broken friendships and bullying.  Through that experience I was deceived into believing that it was easier to just go it alone because surely this was easier than the betrayal and hurt that can result from depending on others, and those thoughts and feelings were continually fed by the world and by Satan, until I believed that dependence on anything or anyone is weak and I couldn’t be weak because to become weak meant being vulnerable, and being vulnerable meant getting taken advantage of and ultimately hurt.  And so, out of this marathon for independence came strength – an unhealthy strength in myself, and from that grew pride – a blinding pride to God in my life...

I became so focused on being independent that it was like I was walking around with a mirror in front of me all the time.  All I could see when I looked at another person, a situation, or struggle was me – my reflection starring right back at me.  My wants, my needs, my feelings, my hurts, my opinions, my, my, my, my, my!  As Tracie says on pg. 120 of her book, “While this mind-set of pride and independence is common in our society, it is not the mind-set of Jesus.  We are reminded of this truth in John 15:4-5, which says, ‘Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.  Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing.’” 
Nothing?!  Really?!  This is not what I was learning from the world.  From the world I was learning I can do all things…” (emphasis added).  I had not yet learned the rest of that all so popular and important Word of God.  I had not learned: “in Christ who gives me strength,” ~Philipians 4:13.  Yes, the world may tell us that independence and pride are good and lead to prosperity, but God’s Word tells us that they’re evil and lead to destruction.
“Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.  Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” ~Proverbs 3:7   
“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” ~Proverbs 16:18
“Destruction” and “fall” – the very two words I had been trying to avoid by becoming so independent, as if somehow independence meant indestructible and indestructible meant I could not fall…or so I wanted to believe.  Having gone far too many years down this road, I can now confirm and declare that my belief was indeed erroneous and God’s Word is in fact true, for I have recently found myself fallen and in that path of destruction the Bible so clearly warns us about.
As I’ve shared before, I didn’t accept Christ until January of 2003, and while I wish I could say that this event resulted in the shattering of my mirror – that deep, all-consuming, self-focused pride – sadly it did not.  Tracie discussed on page 121: “Upon accepting Jesus as our Savior, we are invited to abide in him.”  “Invited” being the key word here and this being an invitation I did not readily accept.  It’s been ten and a half years since that life-altering, life-saving day and yet I’m just now truly realizing, through chapter six of “Stressed-Less Living,” how little I’ve really grown in my walk with God in this area of pride.  Not an easy thing to admit but an important one nonetheless if I’m ever going to grow passed this hurdle and overcome my current struggles.
The struggles that I’ve been facing over the last 4 years have left me reeling because for the first time in my life, no matter how much effort I’ve exhausted or how much determination I’ve applied, little has changed in my circumstances, and also for the first time in my life, this hasn’t been something I could just walk away from in response.  Instead, I’ve had to just keep stumbling and falling and picking myself up, sometimes with increased determination to overcome, but other times with an overpowering sense of powerlessness and an increased hopelessness that it’ll never change. 
While during these four years I have cried out to God, I’ve done so while still clutching desperately to my mirror of pride, and as a result, I’ve been unable to see beyond the reflection of myself to Christ, unable to see God at work, unable to truly see His love, or feel His power…unable to reach out and receive his healing touch.  Instead I’ve only felt and seen destruction.  For through all of these stumbles, my mirror has slowly become covered with the dust kicked up from my disobedience, distorted by my selfishness, and cracked from the impact and frequency of my falls, resulting in a disfigured image of myself.  One that I’ve barely recognized and one that has sometimes left me wondering if I’ll ever find again or if that strong person I had once been is gone forever, lost in the dingy, damaged mirror that lies before me.  It’s during those moments I’ve often found myself pleading with God: “Why are you not changing my circumstance?  Why have you not intervened?” 
Not only have I not been able to see the Lord in all of it, but I’ve also  not been able to understand or see His purpose as I’ve watched my reflection in the mirror continue to crumble and fall into a million little pieces on the floor over and over again.  In this, I’ve only seen my pain - not truly grasping the changes that He wanted to make in my soul, nor the hope and refuge that was available to me in Him.  Instead, I’ve continued to only focus on the reflection in that mirror – a reflection that’s only grown more and more troubling and more and more confusing with every break. 
Every time I’ve fallen, and every time the mirror’s shattered, I’ve scrambled frantically, in my own strength, to pick it all up and piece it all back together, and each time the rebuilding has grown more difficult and more and more effort has been required in order to hang that broken mirror before me, until finally, I’ve laid there peering at the pieces of my broken down pride lying all around me and wondered if I even have the strength to do it all again…but then this time, something different has happened while I’ve been down.  This time I’ve stumbled again, falling right smack dab into Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Studies through Proverbs 31 Ministries and right smack dab in the perfect timing of starting the Let. It. Go study, which then led me to the Stressed-Less Living study.  And it has been through these studies that a new image has been has begun to form amongst the broken shards of my pride. 
Now, as I’m peering down at those broken pieces, I suddenly find myself peering into eyes.  Not the lost and growing hopeless green eyes I’ve been gazing into the last four years, but rather one’s that are rich in a love and a peace and a joy that surpasses all understanding – a love and peace and joy that can only be found in one place – in the deep and soul-penetrating eyes of Christ.  It is His eyes that now meet mine in every shattered shard that has lied strewn about my tired and broken body.  And it is in His eyes that I finally see the truth – the truth that He has always been there, and the truth that this breaking and chipping away at the mirror I’ve so desperately clung to has been a necessary step in order for the image of Him to be able to reflect past the prideful reflection I’ve built of myself. 

Through all of this I’m learning to say, “Here God,” rather than “Why God,” and I’m choosing to lay down my pride as He, rather than me, begins to pick up all the fallen pieces of my heart and build them into a new mirror – one in which the image of Christ has been eternally etched into…and now, as I’m gazing into His image, my eyes are being drawn to the holes…holes in His hands and in His feet…holes that I realize were made my me, by my hand, each time I nailed that broken mirror of my pride back up…and it is through this realization that I’m truly humbled.
“A great test of faith is when we begin to look beyond ourselves and beyond our pride and instead into the eyes of Christ.” ~Tracie Miles “Stressed-Less Living” pg. 132
“No matter how long we have been away, how much we have sinned, or how long we have tried to do life without God, he is always waiting to shower us with the love and peace that he promised.” ~Tracie Miles “Stressed-Less Living” pg. 122
“For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.” ~1 John 2:16


  1. Thanks for sharing so personally how this chapter has touched your life. It sure was like the last 5 have been, eye openers. Blessings as you continue your journey by seeking and putting God first. That to is my desire. Marilyn

    1. Marilyn, it truly is amazing just how much each chapter has been personally relatable. I feel so blessed to be a part of this study. Thank you for your support and blessings to you in your journey as well :)

  2. Great Post Kat!! Loved it! I also came to Christ in Januaury of 2003! If you dont recognize me its me Meg!

    1. Awesome Meg! It's neat how God works. Thanks for taking the time to read and share :)

  3. Good morning Katrina. What a blessing to see into your heart this morning and read of the powerful transformation taking place in your life as you seek God with all your heart! I love how He is drawing all of us to Himself and gently removing lies and false ideals we've believed and clung to for far too long. His grace is amazing and His love is overwhelming. Keep pressing in, sweet sister! :) Blessings, Shelly F (OBS Leader)

    1. Exactly Shelly, well said! I'm so greatful that God led me to Proverbs 31 and these studies. The journey so far has been truly amazing, It's been awesome to see how he's using these studies/books and all the women involved to transform so many lives. Thank you and God bless.

  4. Another awesome entry, Katrina! Just this morning, I said to God, “Why aren't You changing my circumstance?" There I go again, focusing on my problems instead of focusing on God and what He's trying to teach me. I also need to learn to say, “Here God,” rather than “Why God?” Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences!

    Bree (OBS Facebook Team Leader)

    1. Bree, my continued prayers go out to you. Keep pressing into God. Like Tracie says, He's more interested in changing our hearts than our circumstances. Thanks for your continued support here and in small group as well.