Pride. Attention. Sense of accomplishments. Praises.
These are sins I have struggled with all of my life. I’m not proud to admit to them at all. Growing up in a family with six kids where everyone has been successful in school and strive for perfectionism, if you don’t, you are going to be left behind. I thought I didn’t want to be left behind. I needed to stand up for myself. Make myself known. Get the grades. Keep my appearance up. Walk the line. Don’t fall. I specifically remember writing in a school project in seventh grade that my dream was to get married, live in a big ole’ house and be successful. Then I am sure of it, I could stand big and proud because I would have arrived.
But what did being successful actually mean? What did standing proud look like?
It wasn’t until about ten years ago, a key verse entered my life that changed everything I thought I wanted to accomplish and what standing big and proud meant.
He must become greater, I must become less.
Hold up. You. Yeah, you. You have worked hard. You are gifted. You have it going on. You can stand proud. Don’t let those shoulders fall. You deserve it. The world whispers. I even thought the Bible told me to walk the line. [I clearly missed the entire message of the gospel when I viewed the Bible as a moral code.] Can’t I stand proud when I’m less sinful and I have all my ducks in a row?
Plain and simple. The message of Jesus was that He came for all. To offer grace in the midst of our sin so that we could stand in faith and say Jesus more of you and less of me because you are love and you are the ultimate gift.
Jesus stood up for the woman at the well and when he put mud on the eyes of the blind man so he could see again, and the paralytic man lowered into the roof and stood up at Jesus’ command to walk. In some stories, Jesus stands up for others in the quiet of a conversation between Him and someone else, but other times He is there in the presence of many.
Newsflash to myself: standing proud isn’t about how many are in front of me. It isn’t about what I’ve accomplished. It’s when it isn’t about me at all.
A few years back, when my little family of five was experiencing some extremely scary medical stuff with our two year old, I learned that standing proud happened by the opposite. I will never forget when my friend stood up for me when she offered to fall to the ground for me. She said whenever I have something big to bring to God I go to the dirtiest spot of my house, which is my kitchen floor (she’s a mom of three boys, so much truth in that). I lay there, on the grime, on the crumbs. Because it allows me to humble myself and remember that God is God. He is all powerful. And I am not. There, in that spot of humility, I cry out to the Lord in my prayers.
She did that for me. She laid on her floor, begging the Lord to be with that scary journey of my child being diagnosed with cancer.
To this day, I do that now. I lay on the kitchen floor and bring my hard requests to the Lord.
Because standing proud isn’t about actually standing.
It’s less of me and more of Him.
And when I see Jesus face to face one day, I will be standing proud on my knees.