Tag Archives: humility

You Tell Me

Yesterday I attended a class for work. When I first walked in I felt awkward. It was all directors, managers, coordinators, analysts with their work laptops, typing so fast the keyboards were practically smoking. Immediately I felt intimidated and even questioned my ability to successfully participate. Here I am an administrative assistant with my little green padfolio that was a free giveaway several years ago. How am I supposed to effectively participate and accomplish big things on my project?

What’s the first thing almost anyone does in an awkward situation? Eat! (I’m not saying it’s the healthiest way to go.) Fortunately breakfast and caffeine was provided, and I was actively fiending for coffee. I grabbed my food and made my way past the typing zombies. I was practically twiddling my thumbs when the instructor passed out “fuzzy sticks” or as I call them, pipe cleaners. Hmmm? This looks interesting. This looks like something that doesn’t require a laptop. I looked up, now eager for class to start.

“First things first, put away your laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices. I want your full attention, and if you get bored keep your hands busy with some fuzzy sticks. I don’t care what you make as long as you are participating in the class.”

Okay, I’m definitely relieved.

“Now choose a partner.”

Immediately the anxiety returns. What if nobody picks me like in high school P.E. when I was the last picked for every sport? Fortunately the nice lady in front of me spun around and asked me to be her partner.

“Now what you are going to do is interview each other, but you are not yourself, the other person is you, and you are the key stakeholder for your project.”

It’s hard to put yourself out there. It feels awkward, nerve-racking, stressful, and sometimes it conjures up that feeling of crawling under your desk and hiding. As if it is not hard enough to open yourself up to criticism and input from a stranger at work, it’s even harder to do so with a friend.

After being paired up and discussing my project I found many places I had fallen short that I wouldn’t have seen looking in on my project alone. There were things my partner was doing way better than me and vice versa. There were even areas where we were both failing, and we got to discuss how we could both improve. Our teacher even suggested that we follow-up with each other in a few weeks to see how our projects were progressing.

We can do the same in our personal lives. We can lay out the facts, what we’ve done, where we know we’ve fallen short, even where we feel we’ve improved or succeeded, but we don’t see the full picture until we’ve invited others to give their perspective. You might learn something about yourself, and you are sure to learn something about the other person. Hopefully this leads to you being on the same page, and if it doesn’t, you know you tried your best.

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Bragging won’t Help your Self-worth

In the late 1990’s television show Ally McBeal, Ms. McBeal’s assistant Elaine has a recurring case of inflatable head, not a physical head swelling, but a verbal puffing up of her ego. Feeling nostalgic the other night, I watched a few episodes on Netflix, and immediately felt self-conscious and even a little convicted. I know at times, when I feel I’m not getting recognition, I have resorted to puffing myself up to feel better, to feel accomplished. In the show, the writers even have Elaine’s head physically growing as she brags over her achievements small and large.  Am I just as irritating when I brag? More importantly, why do I find recognition and praise so important to my self-worth?

Pretty much from birth my parents instilled in me a sense of right and wrong, a strong set of morals, especially in regards to keeping my word, integrity, and dependability. If I say I am going to do something, it is very rare that I will not come through. It amazes me that so many people are willing to break their promises. Because of these morals, I have clung to the rules in many areas of my life. I don’t like it when my coworkers don’t do what they supposed to do or when someone at the grocery store cuts in line. In many ways I am like the Jews of Romans 3 who believe that everyone should follow the law of Moses. They believed that since there is this set of rules for Jews, that everyone should follow those same laws in order to be as good as them.

God corrects this thinking, however, in Romans by recalling earlier scripture in verses 10-18 if Romans 3. Paul clarifies in the verses that follow, saying, “…so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.” It’s almost like he’s speaking directly to me and fictitious character Elaine. Paul, who by the way, I think also liked to brag, is saying something to the effect of, “By judging others you are only putting that same judgment on yourself.”

When we puff ourselves up, when we brag, we are in turn, subconsciously, putting down others. When we list all our accomplishments without acknowledging others, we are in turn downgrading the accomplishments of others. The alternative is to humble ourselves before God, thank Him for giving us the gifts he has given us to achieve the things we have achieved, and we will start to see appreciation for others flow out of that.

Today’s sermon was “Does my service within the church really matter?” Some people are feeling like it doesn’t, while others might be feeling like their service is the only one that matters. When we look at the bigger picture, it all matters. I work in a hospital five days a week. A hospital operates like a machine. If the doctor is not there, then the clinic could come to stand still, but in the same way, the housekeeper must be there to stock the toilet paper and empty the trash. Each person has an important role in keeping the whole operation running.

Let’s start our week humble to give God the glory, to appreciate each other, and to put our self-worth in God’s hands and not in the mouths of men. Praise God for the many people He uses in our lives, for every one contributed to where we are today.

Family Feud-less

Fun with the family Labor Day weekend 2014

Fun with the family Labor Day weekend 2014

Anyone who has a family knows that family members can get on each other’s nerves. When I was younger I let every little annoyance drive me nuts. If something was going the way I had imagined then it wasn’t worth taking part. As I’ve become older, and hopefully more mature, I’ve come to realize that if anything is guaranteed, it’s that almost nothing will go the way I imagined because my imagination is like a mainstream Hollywood movie where everything falls gently into place. The fact is, people who know each other as well as most families know each other have moments of resentment, disgust, frustration, and the list goes on. Disagreement is a symptom and/or side effect of a close-knit relationship.

After spending one of the best three-day weekends with the family I recognize that my past frustration and annoyances were all about my intolerance of not getting my way. Once I was able to let that go (for the most part) I could really enjoy them no matter what their annoying habit, unorthodox opinion, or deafening TV volume. Maybe with maturity I have found that I have those same quirks within me that perhaps have a tendency to annoy others, but just as I have become comfortable with who I am and all my crazy quirks I have also become comfortable with several other people’s.

Before we took our little road trip up the coast for the weekend I went on the Google Play store to download some new music to add to our vacation playlist. As soon as I logged on I noticed Katy Perry’s entire latest CD was free. Normally I wouldn’t download a whole Katy Perry album, but it was FREE. It turns out there were only a few songs I really liked from the whole thing, but one in particular got my attention. The song is titled “Love Me”, and it’s about a girl who loses herself in fear of losing someone else. It seems we often compromise ourselves to gain relationship with others, or we neglect to compromise at all and lose relationship with others. This is tricky because we don’t want to compromise on the big stuff, but relationship, even among family members, calls for some compromise. Saturday I had a headache and all I wanted was to go back to the house and take a nap, but my mom wanted to take a hike. Instead of complaining I took a nap in the car while she hiked, and our day was so much more peaceful because of it. My mom got out her energy so she could sleep good that night, and I got to take some Advil and nap off some of my headache.

When I reflect on the New Testament I see images of Jesus, after a long day of healing and teaching in crowds of people all wanting his attention (he must have been exhausted), humbly healing one more or praying all night or going out on a boat to preach to a huge audience. And Jesus says that what you do to the least of these you have done for him. When you humble yourself to listen to one more banjo-filled folk song at full volume when all you want to hear is a good worship song, or you stop at Java Detour just so your loved one can get an extra-large oreo latte even though you are exhausted, you are doing this for Jesus because even these simple things are acts of humility and acceptance and love. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13)

So, when your son wakes you up at 4:00 a.m. with nightmares or your mom asks you to repeat yourself ten times or your sister fails to call you back, remember that love is patient, kind, and not self-seeking. Hope you learned as much from my three-day weekend as I did.

Just for kicks I’ve added Katy Perry’s song Love Me to this post. I think it has a positive message and a fun beat, and it was part of the inspiration for this post.

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