“I pity the person who lives an easy, pain-free life.”
I think I utter that phrase at least 1-2x per month.
You know the person. They’ve somehow managed to glide through life without so much as a superficial scratch or faint bruise on their behind.
But you spend any amount of time with them what do you discover?
- Lack of empathy.
- Lack of perseverance.
- Untested and untrusted character.
- And dull, yet consistent stench of pride.
On the other hand…
Think about the person you know who has been battle-tested, battle-worn, faithful, beauty from ashes. Their bloodied knee caps and tear-strained eyes have broken their egos to a beautiful form of humility.
This whole week I am deep-diving into that virtue:
Isn’t it just the ultimate goal. Humliity.
The ultimate imitation of our beautiful savior, Jesus Christ.
Humility. To think others higher than oneself, to not think less of ourselves but to think of ourselves LESS. To be poor in spirit but rich in love.
And what is the opposite of humility? Pride.
The ultimate sin. The sin that cast Lucifer out of heaven. The sin that cast Adam and Eve out of Eden.
Pride is the breeding ground for all other sin.
God understands that HUMILITY is so profitable for our spirit. So wouldn’t He do what He pleases to keep us from being and becoming proud?
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 we read the great Apostle Paul write:
“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Paul was concerned about his pride. Concerned about his flesh nature that still plagued his earthly body.
He wants to be use by God, but a thorn (not as we read in English, this word “thorn” is more like a PIERCING, deathly dagger) was given to his flesh.
God USES Satan and his demons to harass Paul, to keep him humble. And He will do the same for us. So that in our weakness, we cannot look to our own ability, our own strength, our own craftiness, our own wit… but to that our Maker.
Verse 10, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities…”
Two weeks ago I woke up in agony.
I told my husband Tony, “Man I think I slept on my neck wrong.”
Slapped on some CBD cream, iced it and went along my day.
It only got worse.
Any movement of my right arm (like using a computer mouse) created shooting, burning, throbbing pain down my shoulder into the bicep.
So I got a massage, didn’t help.
So I went to the Chiro, didn’t help.
Days later the pain was increasing and my neck felt so seized up.
I sat with my neck on Tony’s lap, 3 ice packs perfectly positioned on my neck, shoulder, and arm… tears flooded down my face.
I’d love to say that it was in that moment I was just giving so much praise and glory and contentment in my weakness.
Let me continue to disappoint you. (LOL)
I thought a million thoughts.
Why now (God, I have big things to do this month!)
What is happening (WebMD told me I was dying)
Not again (How many more health trials must I endure, if you’re new – I’ve had 43 surgeries in my lifetime!)
Is my body already falling apart? (I’m on 37!)
Is this… my story? (The one of something constantly having a physical debacle)
The tears streamed out like waterworks, like a flood. I couldn’t stop them. I didn’t even try.
A few days later I found myself at a spine expert’s office getting an MRI on my neck (and low back, why not – for good measure!).
And the results were in quickly: 4 bulging discs and -in less medical terms- the growth of a type of “bone spur” in my neck.
Probably as the result of being rear-ended TWICE IN ONE MONTH, about 10 years ago.
One of the vertebrae’s was pinching a nerve that was effecting the function of my arm and causing that burning intense pain.
Now the numbness in my right hands finger tips for weeks made sense.
I thought back to every single Chiro adjustment in the last decade. None of them told me to get an MRI or more image. At first I was a little ticked.
But I just said to myself “pain is profitable to God.”
While I don’t have an exact scripture and I never heard a preacher say it just like that…
I couldn’t help but think of what God could be doing for me for HIS Glory.
He was slowing me down. (I had to cut my work hours tremendously)
He was keeping me from becoming arrogant in my flesh.
He was using this time for me to look to Him for His promises.
He was using this pain for me to perfectly yearn for His presence and our eternal (new, perfect) body.
He was helping me rest in Him.
I’m seeking treatment for my neck and feel really optimistic I can “kick the can down the road” and avoid surgery. But even if I can’t, even if I have more issues. Even if new issues arise.
I am content with my weakness.
I know God will refine me in the fire of trials.
I will find assurance of my faith in these valleys.
And hopefully be a good steward, a good representative of the kingdom so that when the world sees me in this time… they don’t see any wavering in my walk.
But they see Jesus’s grace and power who is made perfect in my inequities.
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