My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Psalm 34:2
One Sunday a few years ago I heard a priest give a homily that contained a line I will never forget. For weeks I wanted to prove his line wrong but I finally resigned myself to the fact that he was exactly right and I just didn’t want to believe it. He said, “The root of EVERY personal sin is our own selfish pride.” At the time, I was quite sure I didn’t even have any of that! Looking back I realized that my selfish pride is precisely what allowed me to think that, so I set out on a journey to fix it! The opposite of selfish pride is obviously humility and that’s a lot harder. Humility can’t exist if we’re in the way and boy do I seem to get in the way a lot! I’m still on that journey; sometimes I only travel a few minutes before I trip over myself and have to try again. Trying to be humble is sort of exhausting!
During the past months I’ve had some really exciting opportunities and have been praying extra, extra hard to trade selfish pride for humility. I love it when I deliver a talk and get positive feedback and get a sense that His words spoken through me have touched a heart or two but then I have to say some extra prayers for humility because like Psalm 34 says, I need to boast in the Lord not in the “Gospel according to Sheri.” The more speaking jobs I have the harder I pray for humility but this fall I also requested that He please be gentle with the lessons because I was trying so hard to get it right. He listened and the lessons in humility have been swift, direct and funny. God really does have a great sense of humor! Some of the lessons have been too funny to keep to myself so today I’d like to share three of my favorite lessons on humility from the Father who loves me so much!
A wise woman once told me to “be wary of occasions that require new clothes because they often test your humility.” At the time I had no ideas what that meant. Now I get it and I try to remember that I don’t need a new outfit for a big presentation, I have enough. I ignored that advice though and the day before I flew to Nebraska in September, I bought a new outfit. After I checked into my hotel I began to get ready for the event and realized I had packed black dress shoes to go with my skirt but I had packed two completely different shoes. No problem I thought, I had some flats that would work but as I pulled the new three piece outfit from my suitcase I realized that I had only packed two of the pieces. There wasn’t a scarf big enough to make up for the fact that I had forgotten my shirt! Well played God…point taken, He made sure I traveled in kakis that day and it worked.
Lesson two happened the day I had given a talk and I was walking toward the auditorium to deliver a second talk and this sweet little woman was running behind me shouting my name and waving her arms. Bless her heart I thought, she must really want to speak with me. I quickly said a prayer to the Holy Spirit so I would be ready to have a good conversation and offer whatever counsel or prayer she might be seeking. I stopped and smiled and asked how I could help and she said, “Oh I don’t need anything but I thought you’d like to know you have toilet paper stuck to your shoe before you walk onto the stage and talk to a few hundred women. You’d look like a real nut if that happened.” Humility smack down right there in the hallway! Funny God…really funny!
The last one was completely shocking and snapped me right to attention. Last weekend I had the privilege of speaking at a women’s conference and it was an incredibly positive and powerful event. I was still floating on the experience a few days later. Yesterday I had been asked to give a presentation at the Catholic Writers Guild retreat. It was a drizzly windy fall day. After I loaded my hands with stuff for the presentation, I headed across the parking lot toward the building. I was feeling pretty confident and still a little jazzed up from the weekend when all of the sudden a giant wet leaf whipped off a branch and smacked me right in the face. The leaf was so huge and wet it actually stuck to my whole face. As I tried to peel it off I dropped one of my bags, tripped over it and fell down right in the middle of the parking lot. I popped back up so fast I’m sure I looked like I was simply practicing the Ninja moves the first graders taught me at recess last week. (At least that’s what I’m telling myself.) As I got to the glass entry door, I saw my reflection and noticed the wet leaf had smeared my mascara so bad I looked like a raccoon! Luckily I made it to the bathroom before anybody even saw me and fixed my face up then humbly walked down the hall to the meeting room.
Father was right; humility is the key to heaven! I’m laughing as I type realizing how lucky I am to be loved by a God who listens and responds to my prayers and failed attempts with great humor, perfect timing and never fails to provide a backup plan. He’s really something to boast about!
A Seed To Plant: Take father’s homily line to prayer with you and pray with it for a few days. Take an inventory of your attitude and actions and see where God might be calling you to add a bit more humility to your days.
Blessings on your day!
What a weekend! The Holy Spirit really cranked it into high gear beginning Friday afternoon when the 6th grade football team lead Eucharistic Adoration and it just kept going from there!
Friday night and Saturday it was my great honor to hang out with about 1,000 beautiful women and speak at the Diocese of Lansing Women's conference. There was so much power in that room I can still feel the sizzle! Saturday night I got to see beautiful witness to the love of God as I attended the wedding reception of two wonderful young adults. Grant and Hanna each have overcome some big obstacles in their young lives yet they smiled and danced and celebrated their love and their faith in a completely contagious way.
Sunday night it was off to talk at a gathering of wonderful men and women who came out to grow in their faith rather than camp out on the couch. They were a great crowd of faithful and their love of the Lord was inspiring! I've been so lucky this weekend to be in the presence of so many amazing people. God has allowed me to be a part of so much that is good and I am humbled! I also seem to be at a point where I'm still searching for the words to describe the weekend so for today...this is all I have! I'll be back on Thursday with some joyful words and maybe by then, I can put some of the experiences from this amazing weekend into words.
Blessings on your day!
For we walk by Faith and not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
Sometimes scripture can reach right up off the page and punch you in the nose! This verse socked me hard just as I was getting ready to throw my own little pity party. I’ve had several “careful what you wish for” moments this week and instead of throwing a fit, I decided to see what my Father had to say about things and this is right where I landed!
We follow a mighty God and he always leads us perfectly but sometimes we freak out a little when we realize we can’t see Him, or the path He has for us. I had to remind myself that my sight and His work were not necessarily a package deal. I have to live like I trust Him and live like I love him. This fall He has asked me to do some pretty crazy stuff and my heart has wound up in a twist several times but through it all I know He leads me.
It’s crazy how we go through warps of time where we are called to question everything we do. There are seasons of life where change seems to come at you like rapid fire from a Nerf gun. They aren’t all painful but they just keep coming. My role as a mother and wife has changed as the kids have all moved out. My role as a teacher has changed as education standards and practices have changed, my speaking ministry has blossomed and provided exciting travel opportunities and another ministry opportunity appeared from nowhere. I’m doing crazy fun things like meeting amazing people, doing radio interviews, not cooking every night because there are actually leftovers and helping 6th grade football and volleyball players learn to lead school prayer services. I’m beginning to realize that I’m not so young anymore. Several times recently I’ve been at meetings or events and found myself the oldest person in the room. My hair is sprouting some gray and my eyes have led me to be the owner of multiple pairs of reading glasses stashed everywhere! I’ve wondered a hundred times lately if I’m smart enough, funny enough, dedicated enough, energetic enough, young enough, old enough, prayerful enough and compassionate enough.
When I read this verse from Corinthians I realized I’m asking too many questions and trying to apply logic to God and that never works. I’m trying to SEE when He’s asking me simply to believe. That is so much easier! I don’t have to have answers to any of those silly questions, I just have to remind myself that I AM HIS and none of the rest of it matters. He will put me where I should be, doing what I should do, the way He wants it done, when it’s time. I just have to remember to walk by faith and find the joy He’s so generously sprinkling along the journey.
A Seed To Plant: Sit a while and pray about those spots you are having trouble navigating by faith and not by sight.
Blessings on your day!
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