What a curious thing, how life circumstances teach us about the hidden aspects of our souls. Those inconsistent behaviors we can easily see in others but remain a mystery as we assess our lives.
Recently, the inconsistencies of my character were revealed.
My husband and I received a call from our lawyer’s office. He wanted to let us know our documents were ready to sign. We made an appointment and headed to his office. The signing process took less than 20 minutes, and we were back in the car headed home.
A few days later, my husband received a very formal email from the law firm. It informed us that during our brief stay in the office, we had “potentially been exposed to COVID.”
Everyone had taken the necessary precautions to protect against the virus. Nonetheless, bomb dropped, message delivered, and all our meticulous efforts to protect those around us and ourselves, gone in one 20-minute encounter.
We communicated our potential exposure to those we had spent time with and waited the prescribed five days before testing. God is good, we both tested negative, and here is where the reveal unfolds.
I Was Blending In to Preserve My Pride
I started thinking about the past few months. The times I knew I should be cautious but didn’t want to appear rigid or offend others. The times I attended gatherings, took walks, or chatted over tea, not considering the potential risk. I succumbed to the perceived pressure of not wanting to appear inflexible or fear-filled. Perhaps I just wanted to fit in. Perhaps, just wanting to “fit in” is a masquerade for my personal pride.
And there it is. My truth—I knowingly compromised to protect my pride.
As I reflected on my willingness to step around the truth in this situation, I thought about other times in my life when I willing gave away my integrity and placed my very essence at risk.
Drumroll please, because this is where the revelation bounced hard off my forehead, hit my chest, and bruised my heart. If I am willing to place myself at risk to maintain my image or keep my pride in tack, what else am I willing to concede?
After all, it is easier, safer, less stressful to blend in. I don’t like being perceived as unloving or self-righteous.
This unveiling has caused me to stop and wrestle with a single question: Are my convictions, my core belief system, in jeopardy when it becomes inconvenient, uncomfortable, or unpopular?
And this is what I am uncovering.
My pride is a powerful emotion. It can shift logical, rational thought and objective decision-making to a desperate irrational reaction. A reaction that compels me to ignore the truth of who I am in Christ and be laser-focused on the desired outcome—protect image, maintain status, and feed other’s perceptions.
A poor reflection of the Christ that lives in me. A poorer demonstration of Him living through me.
There is a path that leads to freedom from our need to shelter and negotiate with ourselves. Paul offers this encouragement in the book of Romans:
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us” (Romans 12:2-3, NLT).
God Can Transform How We Think
In place of our frantic rationalizations, God offers transformation—a new way of thinking, the ability to honestly assess our motives and make lasting change. We do not have to be held hostage to our emotions, fear of rejection, or desire to be more. We can gain freedom and train our minds to be more concerned about whether our behaviors and actions align with God’s desires than protecting our vision of whom we would like to be.
I have committed to taking my thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5), being intentional about what I think (Proverbs 4:23), and resisting the temptation to do things my way (James 4:7). It is going to take time and I know I will fall back into the old mindset and behaviors. Yet, I am confident that God can move me from being self-absorbed to sweet surrender—relinquishing pride, motives, and wants to His love.
I would like to challenge you, “be honest in your evaluation of yourself.” If you find yourself abandoning your beliefs or willing to compromise God’s truth, please take time to reflect, pray, and refocus.
God is available to change, transform, the way you think.
If you’re ready to start living for who you are and stop conforming to the expectations of others, you’ll enjoy this podcast episode: Stop People Pleasing Now With Cherlyn Decker – 159