Wednesday, June 18, 2014

something I'm really trying hard to stop

"Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!"
Aren't we all screaming it?
Well maybe you're not, but I am.

I have pride the size of Jupiter and it's awful. 

What I've noticed is that I want to be noticed. 
When I'm doing something especially "kind" and "selfless" what I really want is for people to notice how "kind" and "selfless" I am and to pat me on the back a few times, brag about me, and give my ego a big boost. 
See the problem with that? 

When we really become "kind" and "selfless," which cannot be done by our own efforts but only with a lot of help from Jesus, then we don't need/want/crave anyone to notice our kindness or selflessness. In fact, we don't want anyone to notice. We want it to remain secret. 
Help me, Jesus!

There are a couple words that describe what I'm talking about here;
humility and integrity. 
I think those hit the nail on the head. 

Are you better than people think you are? Or would we all be shocked if we knew how you really were?

Who you are when no one is watching is defining who you are.

I want my secret life to be beautiful. I want to give, pray, love WAY more than anyone will ever know. 

When no one is looking, what are we doing?

"The most powerful things you do in your life are the things you do in secret."
-Joyce Meyer

Who are the most remarkable people you know? I can guarantee they all have a few things they're doing the same, and one of those is a private life that is dedicated to becoming better. One of the best people I know is a man named Chad. He is disciplined, loving, wise, genuinely concerned about other people, and consistent. When no one is looking, He's doing things to build these characteristics. He spends hours a week alone with God (the Source of these characteristics), hours a week in a gym, disciplining his body, hours a week being upright and honest when no one's eyes are on him. 
The behind the scenes stuff is what's making him remarkable.

A professional anything isn't made a professional when they get into the spotlight. They're made a professional during the hours, weeks, years, of nobody-can-see-me training, working, learning, building. It's not that fun. But behind the scenes is where integrity and humility are made. 

I'm not interested in becoming like someone who can be a real sweety around a crowd of people they're trying to impress. I'm interested in becoming like someone who stops to ask the homeless man if they can buy him a meal, stops to pick up the trash out of someone else's yard, anonymously pays for a stranger's gas, all without anyone else knowing.
See the difference between these two people?
Anyone can be nice when they have eyes on them. 
The truth comes out when all eyes are off. 

Jesus talked about this sort of thing.
He said He didn't want us to be the type of people who put on a show for everyone with long, eloquent prayers, prayed loud enough for all to hear. Jesus said if you're gonna pray, go alone by yourself and do it. 
He also said if you're going to give to the poor, don't take a selfie of yourself smiling, while handing a poor child a happy meal. 
He said "don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing."
Not only does my left hand know what my right hand is doing, but everybody and their brother knows what my right hand is doing because I've made sure they know. 

Jesus has never been into flashy shows.
He's always been into genuine integrity and humility made in the secret. 

Jesus told us these things about the secret because He understood that we would never become people of integrity or humility if we only prayed and gave when we had an audience. 
He knows these qualities can only be made in the secret. 

I'm not great at this being-amazing-when-no one-is-watching thing, and I'm ESPECIALLY not good at the I-don't-need-anyone-to-notice-how-kind-I-am thing.  

But, with the Good Teacher's help, I'm learning and getting better. 

I want integrity and humility to be two words that define me well. 

I want to get to a place in life where God's attention is enough.
I want His approval to be the only kind I crave.

Next time you hear me talking about doing something nice for someone, or that big thing I gave away, or how many people I've been feeding, please tell me to shut up and read Matthew 6. 

"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full."But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."
Matthew 6:2-4