Today’s culture places great value on promotion, recognition, and popularity. I find that if you aren’t constantly setting goals for achieving more in the future, you aren’t fitting in with what society thinks determines your worth. I’d like to give you permission to take a pause and reflect on this right now. For a brief moment will you quiet your mind, still your feet, and simply be in the moment?
I used to be on the fast track to [what our culture deems] success. Every couple of years I was being promoted in my work and climbing the corporate ladder. I’ve gone from Customer Service, to Inside Sales, to Outside Sales, to building new teams from the ground up and becoming Sales Manager, all with the next phase in line to become VP of Sales. I was riding as fast as the Amtrak headed straight UP… to the expensive cars and house by the water, but something was unsettled in my spirit. Deep down in my core it wasn’t me. I was simply riding the tide of what our society created.
Many people are longing for position and rewards. In scripture, we read several times about the last being first and the first being last. “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16) It’s not that Jesus tells us not to desire greatness, it’s just that he teaches us the counterintuitive way of achieving it.
Humility vs. Pride = Humility will always win.
Do you view humility as a negative quality? Are you afraid that if you take a step back to show others mercy, that you in turn might be overlooked or forgotten? You see, humility is really an issue with trust. It’s difficult to believe that by clothing ourselves with humility that we will actually gain and come out ahead. We have this hardwiring for needing a sense of control. It’s when we free ourselves from these chains that are holding us so tightly back that we will find freedom, and along with that, peace and joy.
There is discomfort in humility, but if you say you are a Christian and trust God, then it’s imperative to walk in obedience to what Jesus has taught. We have his own life of humility as an example. Everyone was expecting this great king to show up mighty and strong! Jesus came as a babe in a manger. As he grew older, he didn’t wield a sword and go into battle fighting. No! He remained humble, and became the greatest King of all.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Pride leads to destruction. “If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself.” (Proverbs 26:27) Pride is putting our trust in ourselves and the things of this world. It may work for a while, but tell me, do you have genuine joy and peace? Can your spirit be still and rest? Aren’t we all longing to find happiness? It’s not going to come from ourselves dear heart. At some point we will become exhausted and conflicted. It’s ok to whisper, “Father, I can’t do it anymore. I can’t do this alone. I need you.”. And he is there, patiently waiting for you to let him in.
So, I did stop climbing the corporate ladder and I have never been happier. When I drive by those big beautiful homes along the river today, as much as I’d love to have one (who wouldn’t?), I also realize the sacrifice people make to have it. Are they ever home to enjoy it or working 80 hours a week? Is there relationship close or are they roommates because life revolves around work, work schedules, and travel? Is it worth missing your child’s basketball games because you have important meetings in the office? Don’t get me wrong, we need people in these positions of work too. It’s just that it wasn’t for me. I choose life over death. I choose the things we cannot see over those we can. I encourage you…
To be like a candle. Burn yourself up so that others can shine.
And in that, my love, you will become great!