by Texas Stready
My life can easily be compared to having a kid from a crappy father. As much as you wish you’d made a different choice, that child is who they are because of that choice. Now don’t go spreading rumors—I love my babies’daddy—but I don’t feel the same way about all of my past choices. You see, I’m familiar with what desperate looks like. Are you?
The great thing about today is, I’m absolutely crazy about who I’ve grown into. Guess that’s part of the Romans 8:28 deal. It’s amazing what God can create from our worst messes.
All those years of soaking in that same tub of bad habits left me shriveled, infected, and weak. I lost my ability to climb from, or even recognize, the cesspool I was caught in. One day, when the water of consequences got too deep, it became obvious to me that I was drowning. Through the tears—and between my gasps for air—a sense of desperation arose.
It always amazes me the lengths we’ll go to accomplish a desired goal. The key components to change are never found in a state of relaxation. That’s because major alteration requires we become willing to do whatever it takes. And so I ask you today, what are you desperate for?
We all have different ideas. For instance I do not like my grandchildren outside without shoes, while their mother has no problem with it. To me it looks trashy, like you have no manners and no money. To her it looks like you’re footloose and fancy free. Is one right and the other wrong? No, they’re just different.
Our expectations range from grandiose dreams to rigid guidelines. But every choice we make is first filtered through our history of life experiences. This reality requires we remain open to outside input, otherwise, as taught in AA, “We do what we’ve always done and get what we’ve always got.”
If we hope to mature into productive followers of Christ, we must replace our limited applications of truth with God’s far superior version of reality. (See Romans 12:2)
If you slow down and review the details of your past you’ll notice this. After every crisis there comes an opportunity to gain an alternative perspective on your situation. That’s because God is always inviting us into a new and spectacular mindset. One that we’re not capable of without Him.
Because of God’s endless dedication to freedom, the option to reject His way remains available to us; but doing so leaves us caught in the tail chase of a lifetime. Stuck like Chuck. Smack dab in the middle of our hurts, hangups, and habits.
The course we’re on is rarely a simple one. At times it’s hard to find the hope we need to continue. That’s why the only thing worth being desperate for is the mind of Christ. That’s what transforms our view into one that’s filled with promise, passion and purpose. The very things that make this life worth living.
Some say that people who follow Christ are brainwashed. Well, the harder I’ve looked at this accusation, the more I’ve come to hope it’s true. Reason being? We live in a diluted and disrespectful world, one that stays busy forever trying to pollute any form of wholesome thought. Knowing this, makes it easy to acknowledge that our brains could use a good washing.
by Texas Stready
I was given a car last week. It’s not brand-new, but it’s new to me. The finest of luxury automobiles. It’s appearance and running condition are impeccable—something you could easily take pride in. Yep, it’s the red Caddy in the picture above. Wow! Ain’t God grand?
So many emotions.
- Gratitude—words can’t express.
- Unworthiness—I don’t deserve this.
- Disbelief—is this real?
- Excitement—it is, it is!
- Fear—what if I get in an accident?
Most of the feelings are good ones, but as usual, somewhere below the surface pride slithers around waiting to strike. This sneaky little reptile is a fabulous masquerade artist. Stay alert, although she enters the room with a mesmerizing air, she leaves the ominous oder of self-righteousness in her wake.
Smell possesses an acute ability to bring back memories. Pride’s scent is sharp, yet so sweet it almost gags you. Discipline yourself to remember this fragrance, then recall will become an active anti-venom that can keep you from the repercussions of her poison.
A Fine Line
Many times in life I’ve asked myself, “Do you have any shame at all?” Funny question, because an honest look into my choices reveals shame to be what’s prompted me most. Now that my life is different, I have to be aware of what motivates me in the other direction. Pride or dignity?
- Pride – a deep satisfaction from one’s own achievements.
- Dignity – the quality or state of being worthy.
Which cup are you drinking from? One gets you drunk and the other keeps you hydrated. The most noticeable difference between these two descriptive words is: the first comes from doing and the second from being.
I got what felt like a random call last week asking, “Mom, how much money should I ask for at this new job?” No matter how old they get, children long for guidance. Lucky for us our Father knows and loves this about us. No wonder He refers to us as His children. Left to our own devices we’re immature and ineffective.
How many failed attempts at successful finances, marriages, friendships, or ministry opportunities must we have to identify the fact that we’re incapable of producing any good thing in our own strength? It would do us good to follow the life map our all-knowing Heavenly Father has given us. The Bible.
Numbering our faults is not the remedy; recognizing our need for spiritual assistance—that’s the answer. The Holy Spirit is with us. He’s our helper. The best teacher, coach, or guidance counselor a student could ever hope to be blessed with.
Let it Shine
There are many times on this journey through life when we arrive at a fork in the road. Our God is no dictator and so we have choices. This is why keeping our spiritual wires clean, and properly connected to the appropriate source, determines how well our lives run.
Maybe you don’t know me personally, so let me tell you, my three children are mixed. This makes the racial issues in our country hit closer to home for me. Although I fully understand the term Black Pride. I purposed to be the kind of mother who taught my children Black Dignity instead. The reason for my change in terminology is this: pride is forced, dignity just is.
Clean It Up
No one wants to be around someone who’s full of themselves. Still, pride comes naturally to us. Interestingly enough, we possess the power it takes to alter our thinking patterns, and a different thought produces a different action. This fact makes shunning pride as easy as looking at the situation with a new view.
I don’t know about you, but I long to be someone who sees things accurately and responds appropriately. We are powerless over thousands of things in this world, but we are the only living beings who possess the power to choose what we believe.
The way we put pride to the side, is by accepting how little we know. This requires we listen to alternative perspectives. We don’t have to agree with others to be Christlike, but Christ never argued His point. Having influence requires we respect people’s right to choose. If assisting another doesn’t matter to you, guess what, pride hasn’t just bitten you, it’s swallowed you alive. Yikes!