Thankful Thursday (Ed. 2.10)

This week's thankful post is set to be slightly different. It's been a week of interesting things, but there's one huge theme through the week that I'm thankful for so I'm going to write it in one fell swoop instead of miniature thankfuls. Those are to come over the next week. 

Speaking of next week, starting Sunday, I'll be posting a thankful post each day for the week of Thanksgiving. It's my favorite week of the year, where I get to do a variety of thankfuls. Exciting! 

But on to today....

This week, I'm Thankful for....Humbling

Sunday night, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who was telling me of an experience where God had humbled him significantly. We laughed a bit at the wound it is to be face-planted in humility in front of God, others, and well...yourself. But there is no greater growth-giver - that experience of humbling. Where God comes along and says, you know what, Amanda, you're arrogant, ridiculous and pretty much, I need you to see how Big I am, and how inconsequential you are, and how much of a mess you make when you start trying to get bigger than Me. Oh and it's painful. 

This week a lot of things transpired. I was hurt in ways I cannot even begin to describe. I reacted and wounded someone else. I fumed and fussed to God. I held my wound like some cherished badge. I cried and wept. I got angry and hard. I complained about life. I whined about my circumstances. I played the "woe is me" sob story to myself on more than one occasion(head hung in shame, I might add, writing that). I didn't see anything but my own pain. I was furious that anyone would dare to snap judgement on me - who did or did not know me. I was offended and hurt by words written in public. I couldn't comprehend the fact that I wasn't the only one broken hearted. I was broken hearted - yes I was. But then....if you look back at that paragraph, it got to be a whole heck of a lot about "I." To my shame, and utter dismay, a spotlight of truth shone into my life at a late hour two nights ago. 

A couple of things brought truth - the uncomfortable (for me) truth -- that it is not ok that I be so dang selfish. That I carry my wounds like badges of honor and feel sorry for myself a good deal too much. 

First, I had a conversation with a couple of married friends who told me quite frankly that relationships are about committed love - the kind that sucks it up and when both parties are wrong, someone has to take the first step in humility and apologize, be a grown up and set to making things right. Had we been on a playground, I probably would have stomped my feet and said "why does it have to be ME?" and kicked the sand. Yes, I am that childish. My thought is, when do I get to be the one taken care of and not have to go first? But then....that's my thought and not a holy one. I believe the exact phrase that comes to mind is "Death to self" in purging those "when will be my turn to NOT have to be a grownup?" thoughts. And there comes the humbling. Seeing the ugly childishness in those things...Dear God, when will I ever get this right? Probably never. But I'm leaning into what God is doing here. Or trying to anyway. 

There was something else that shifted my perspective. I started reading Brennan Manning's memoir "All is Grace" on Tuesday night. Oh. My. Word. It is cathartic and brutally painful. I closed the first 5 chapters and wanted to sit and weep for his life. And I realized there is a tremendous amount in my life to be thankful for in my own. My parents love me. My family loves me. My friends respect and admire me as a Christ-example (For the life of me, I don't understand why). I'm considered a leader (dear Lord, let me not mess that up too), an example to hundreds of little girls (frightening when the weight falls on me), a counselor & hope and grace extender. And good grief, Brennan Manning...this man who ministered to so many people - he had a broken childhood tantamount to the kids I used to work with in the mental health field. This beginning of his story destroyed my pride. It broke me to bits on behalf of people who fight a battle I don't have to. It reminded me of the need to be a dispenser of grace and love. I'm told this love and grace is a special gift of mine - but this 'gift' of mine gets short circuited when I start looking at my own hurts, offenses and pretty much get filled with 'amanda.' It breaks me to see this ugly in me. It is humbling, to be sure. 

I sat and wept in this on Wednesday night. Hurting, broken, repentant, the whole thing. And then God showed up, reminded me that He loves me. Reminded me that forgiveness is mine and I need to trust God's bigness and start focusing on that more than my own junk. And for the sake of those I say that I love, I must die to myself - my hurt, my joy, my sorrow, my everything and put them first. Apologize, be mature, make things right, love without condition or expectation, and shut up about things and let Christ's humility take over me. 

And let me tell you, I'm thankful for all of this. Humbling. Painful. Stretching. And I'm pretty sure, not over in this lifetime. But if God at all can use my stupidity, arrogance and sin to grow me, then I'm thankful for that. If He can speak and say "humility, daughter." then....yes, I'm going to say yes to Him until the day I die. Humility, Father, my greatest wish, desire and hope. Along with the grace and Love that I joy in pouring out...more than that, humility -- the attitude of Christ. 

Last night, Andy Stanley tweeted this little phrase and it struck me so: ‎"The more aware I am of the work God has yet to do in me, the less aware I am of what He has yet to do in those around me."  Humbling, for sure. I love God and I love how he consistently preaches grace, but humility as well to me. I know I'll never get this 100% right and I will stumble again and again, but I am thankful that He forgives, that I have seen the ugly and that there's no 
condemnation - only room to become more like Him. 

I'm so thankful for every single bit of this week. And the epic face-plant I took. Humbling is something to be thankful for. 

"Above all, be fervent in your love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins"
 {I Pet 4:8}


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