The Problem of Pride and the Trap of Insecurity

This is going to start out sounding like my previous couple of posts (i.e., meaningless), but hang on here with me for a minute and you'll get the point, I hope. I was watching American Idol tonight while I packed more boxes full of my seemingly infinite amount of stuff in preparation for moving in the next few days. Right at the end of the show, the last of the teasers for tomorrow night shows a very cute, nicely dressed, 20-something girl (who has obviously just been rejected by the judges) who, with tears in her eyes, forces a scary grin and says in a desperate, high screech, gesturing wildly, "Look at me! I'm unique!!" It's meant to be funny, of course, but comes across as poignant and kind of awful.

In a philosophical moment American Idol does not often provoke, I thought, Isn't that just like me? I'm not on national television, of course, but in so many ways, my life is made up of moments when I demand that those around me look at me and see how unique and special I am -- how superior to the average person!

The problem of pride is that it builds us up in places we need torn down -- arrogance about our skills, accomplishments, gifts, belongings, even, God forbid, about our salvation! 1 Corinthians 4:7 says, "What do you have that you did not receive?" Nothing! I have nothing -- not faith, not obedience, not ability, not material possessions -- that the Lord in His grace did not provide me! I have no blessing that Christ did not earn on my behalf.

But at the same time, the trap of insecurity keeps us from embracing our completely secure place in Christ. No, we did not earn righteousness, but nonetheless it is ours in Christ. We did not merit blessing, but Christ's merit purchased the highest of all spiritual blessings: salvation! (Getting revved up; brace yourself!) We did not deserve the love of God, but we still have it without condition! My position is no better than yours, but it's still glorious! Imagine -- To be in relationship with, to receive the love of the God who fashioned the stars, who made the Alps and the angels and the ocean!

What joy is yours and mine, friends. Let's learn to really know our place in Christ, and hold our salvation in humility.


Killing Time

1. FIRST NAME? Got one!
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No. I was named after a plant.
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Sunday. But it's not because I'm a crybaby. Wait, no, I cried yesterday! But I got tears because of the words to "The Church's One Foundation," which are so amazing.
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Depends on the day. Don't these question maker-uppers realize that these kinds of yes or no questions don't provoke soul-searching?
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? The kind I don't have to eat.
6. KIDS? My favorite kind of kids? I dunno, polite ones?
7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Maybe, for my cooking. I'm an awesome cook.
8. HAVE A JOURNAL? Not since junior high. I stink at journaling.
9. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Til death do us part.
10. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Let's see, would I attach a stretchy cord to my feet and hurl myself off of a really high ledge... That's SUCH a tough question.
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? No way, I'm too busy and important to waste time with that.
12. FAVORITE SONG AT THE MOMENT? Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush. I don't know. I'll tell you after I go to Jamie Barnes's show tonight.
13. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Only if I don't shower.
14. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Chunky Monkey or Pistachio Almond.
15. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their smile, unless they're sad or angry, and then I notice that they're sad or angry. I'm very observant.
18. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My ex, but my aim is improving (ba-dum ching!)
20. THE LAST THING YOU ATE? A little square of dark chocolate, purely for the antioxidant value.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? America's Test Kitchen on TV.
23. FAVORITE SMELL? Baby head.
26. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? Basketball! Obviously.
27. HAIR COLOR? Blonde, this month.
28. EYE COLOR? Gray
30. FAVORITE FOOD? Indian. Or the chicken kebabs at Shiraz.
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDING? Ugh, I hate scary movies, but happy endings aren't always all they're cracked up to be.
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Prime. But I can only recommend it to women.
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Blue with a green cardi over it.
36. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer. I love being tan.
38. FAVORITE DESSERT? Pie. Especially Pumpkin, which my mom used to let me have for breakfast! Mmmmm...
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING? Sacred Marriage.
40. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Don't have one.
41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST ON TV LAST NIGHT? Nothing. I missed American Idol!
42. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? What kind of stupid question is that? The Beatles.
43. FURTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Hong Kong. Or maybe Bangkok. Yeah, I think Bangkok is further away. Or is that farther away. Lorie?
44 DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? My thumbs pop out of joint. I'm not sure that's a talent.
45. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Bloomington, IN -- by the way, WORST last question ever.


Shallow. I mean shallow, people.

At the risk of killing the lively discussion on prayer in the previous post, can I have a shallow, TV-obsessed moment, please? Or maybe a couple of moments. How long is a moment?

Shallow moment #1. Thank you, Jared and Megan. I'm hooked. Jack Bauer rocks more than Chuck Norris and MacGyver (M'geevay?) combined. Out of consideration for J and M's sleeping infant daughter, I did not run to my phone and call them at 10:01 last night, though I really REALLY wanted to. Hypothetical contents of that phone conversation:

Me: Ohmygosh, ohmygosh.
J or M: I know! I was like, what!?
Me: Jack Bauer, like, totally rocks.
J or M: I know! When he was crying?
Me: I know! Ohmygosh!
J or M: Hang on, I just realized Lucy's been crying for 20 minutes.

Shallow moment #2. I missed Hugh Laurie's acceptance speech last night for best actor in a TV Drama. Curses! His acceptance speech last year was totally priceless -- he cut his teeth on British improv comedies, after all.

Shallow moment #3. (In other Golden Globes news) In your FACE, The Office! Ugly Betty kicked butt! You can't mess with Salma Hayek's Latina superpowers and expect to survive.

And Tom Hanks should have taken home an award for a record number of uses of the word "balls" (and just general comic brilliance; who knew?) in a Cecil B. DeMille award presentation.

And Schwarzenegger been in this country thirty years? Forty? He's still almost unintelligible. It sounded like he was trying to say bar-bell instead of "Babel." How much more mileage is he going to try to get out of that same lame joke, "I'll be back"? Give me a break.

And why is it that certain male stars can get away with doing the Hollywood kiss-kiss with other men without having their sexuality called into question? Brad Pitt kiss-kissed probably 15 guys last night. Weird.

OK, I'm done. Back to more important topics soon, but I'm glad I got all that off my chest.


Will you?

I recently read an article about revitalizing your prayer life by changing the way you petition the Lord. The author sensibly pointed out that, when we ask our friends to do something for us, we rarely say something like, "And, Miss King, I ask that you would sit by me in church today, and I ask that it would be to the right of me." Um, awkward! But we so often begin our requests to the Lord with, "Lord, we ask," or, "Lord, I pray," phrasing our questions as a statement!

The author of the article suggests that we ask our Heavenly Father in the same way we would ask our earthly fathers: "Will you?"

It's a tiny change, but I've been amazed at how just changing a single phrase has increased my feeling of humility before a sovereign God, and my sense of dependence on His will. When I pray, "Lord, will you provide for my finances? Will you guide me as I look for a good job?" it's easier for me to hear my loving Abba Father saying, "Yes, I will!" My prayer time becomes genuine communication between my Lord and me, rather than a recitation of needs.

Will you give it a try?