What Does Deferring Your Preferences Look Like?

u_rightContinued from here.

For me, the word “humility” was difficult to wrap my mind around. I had trouble understanding how to take this concept and put it into practice. C.S. Lewis got me pointed in the right direction with this quote:

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

I used to believe I was a humble person because I had very low self-esteem, but I learned in Beth Moore’s Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender that having a low opinion of yourself is just as prideful as having too high of an opinion of yourself. Pride is simply having yourself on your mind (or being selfish, self-absorbed, or self-focused). I was constantly on my mind as I meditated upon all of the things that were “wrong” with me.

So, I understood that I needed to get myself off my mind, but I did not know how to actually DO that. This is when the Holy Spirit “whispered” that I needed to start deferring my preferences, which is replacing thoughts of myself with thoughts of others. For example, I’ll defer the nicer chair to someone else or defer my preference for where to eat dinner to the other person. While this is something I used to do to manipulate the other person’s approval as a people pleaser, my motivation is now completely different. I love God enough to want to obey Him, and he told me to defer my preferences, so I choose to let the other person have his or her way because I love God. A huge difference is that the other person’s response is irrelevant whereas it was all that mattered in my people-pleasing days. Whether or not the other person notices or cares that I deferred my preferences, God notices.

Interestingly, even though I no longer get my own way most of the time, I am much happier. More specifically, I experience joy and peace that eluded me when I was selfish. I used to believe that getting what I wanted would make me happy, but I have actually found more happiness by choosing not getting what I want as I defer my preferences to the people around me.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace thinking and saying, “U Right, U Right.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

 

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Perseverance: God the Healer

Continued from here.

In my last blog entry, I addressed two of three truths from the Bible that helped me choose God in my trials: (1) God was with me all through the child abuse; and (2) I will have trouble in this world, but Jesus has overcome the world. Today, I’ll address the third concept that helped me make peace with my past and trust God as I faced new trials. Here’s the passage:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor. ~ Is. 61:1-3

I learned about this passage of scripture through Beth Moore’s Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender, which I cannot recommend highly enough, particularly if you have been emotionally shattered by life as I was. I learned that Jesus’ first “job description” was binding up broken hearts. There would be no need to bind up hearts that have not been broken, so this must mean that God doesn’t prevent our hearts from breaking, but He does heal them … and I am living proof of this. So, I don’t need to fear heartbreak, despite its pain, because God is bigger than my broken heart and can give me a new heart that is no longer shattered.

Some Christians try to gloss of over the heavy issues in life, but I didn’t have that luxury. I came to God with a heart shattered by severe childhood abuse, grief over my father’s passing, infertility, and parenting a special needs child. That’s a quadruple heavy load, but God healed all of it.

Perhaps you know what it’s like to have a heart shattered by the death of a loved one, child abuse, rape, infertility, divorce, physical or emotional disability, job loss, or one of the many other types of traumas that life can throw our way. Your God is bigger than your pain. I know this seems impossible, but He is the God of the impossible.

Before trying to persevere through the next trial, I recommend spending some quality time with God, inviting Him to heal your brokenness. Beth Moore’s book, Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender, will walk you through this process. I had to work through her book four times before I fully “broke free” from all of my issues, but it was well worth the investment of time and effort. I am now FREE from all of that pain, and God has given me a new heart. He can do the same for you.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cover of Beth Moore’s book, Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender. Courtesy Amazon.com.]