Lounging on a gray accent chair, my eyes couldn’t help but survey the conspicuous tree enlivening our space for the Christmas season. They lingered at the blinking white star on top, moving along to the garish ornaments, bedazzling the faux evergreen, then sideways to our blue velvet sofa.
In a blur, I was transported back to the few meetings I have with friends in our living room. My stomach felt heavy after assessing the words that came out of my mouth during our conversations. In fact, not only was I like that to them, but also with all the casual chats I’ve had had with people outside of my family.
I’m mar with the sin of pride, the need to impress others with how far we’ve made it in life: our many travels, our spacious, upgraded bungalow back in the US, our access to wealth.
I don’t mind the accusatory scowl. (Well, I do. But since I can’t see you then it’s fine.) My tongue felt sour writing that preceding paragraph.
We were nobodies. I have to save and work before I can afford anything, which anybody could do. I was sweating over a facade of a well-respected, well-loved individual with nothing to back it up.
Seriously, who do I think I am posing as a multi-millionaire when I don’t even have a dollar in my wallet?
I’m not better than anybody. But it doesn’t mean I’m inferior either, though I suffer from an inferiority complex from time to time.
I want to paint it larger than life to hide the smallness I feel inside.
I am small because I am nothing on my own. All earthly decorations couldn’t fix me. Although I may look like a well-adorned Christmas tree with what I thought could appraise my worth, I’d remain a faux pas without Christ. The Lord Jesus is the only Person who could adorn me with His majesty.
And there is only one to please, Our Father in heaven.
There’s no need to elevate oneself. It’s a futile endeavor. I don’t have to race others with what they’ve accomplished in life and feel the need to emerge the better. Rather, it’s best to celebrate their achievements, listen more, show genuine interest and gather takeaways from their perspectives. Then, I wouldn’t give ground to the accusatory voices in my head after the chatter dies down.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.~ Proverbs 27:2
Material plaques couldn’t enlarge the immaterial smallness we supress.
Though I’ll flounder from time to time — which is a guarantee — I can pause my train of self-important talk, esteem others better than myself and place the smallness I felt on the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, who died to save us from all our sins, including the sin of pride.
Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. (Galatians 6:14 NLT)
Because of the cross, my striving to inflate my smallness could find rest. At the cross, I find my true boast.Photo by Yannick Pulver on Unsplash