Prideful Eyes

Barrel over Niagara

When I wrote “In Defense of the Light,” I wrote it as much for me as anyone else. I find that I must defend the Light to myself far more than to any other person. And lately, the Light in and over my life has been consistently attacked—by me.

It doesn’t take much to make me spin out. All I have to do is take a look around me with the eyes of my flesh and suddenly I’m in crisis. My prideful eyes see my life as either superior to other lives, or inferior to them, and the moment I indulge either perspective, I’m riding a barrel over the falls.

This last go-round involved the pride of inferiority, born of my belief that I should or even COULD be better than I am. In that pride, I resist my story—the reality of where I’ve truly been. I indulged a little despair that my journey to God was filled with so much hatred and so little love, and down I went.

If I had gone to God with it all and thrown it at His feet, I might have avoided the spiral of doom. But that’s not my story either. And if I were truly a problem that God couldn’t handle, He’d have dreamed a different me. Seems a simple enough truth, but every part of me kicks at it. “Could You not have dreamed a little higher, a little smarter, a little less ridiculous, a little classier, a little more elegant, God?”

[No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame.
1 Cor. 1:27 AMP

The Lord has to bring me back to this verse over and over and over again. He chose the weak and foolish, and He chose me. I am weak and foolish. Being laughed at because you’ve shown yourself to be foolish is a very painful thing. One of the most powerful and effective social weapons is mockery. We learn that as children, no?

I remember incorrectly pronouncing the word “political” when I was in 4th grade. I’d read the word many times, but I couldn’t recall hearing it, so I just went with the rules of phonics and pronounced it “polly-tickle.” I can still recall the sound of 23 kids laughing loudly at my mistake. It was awful. And that’s just a silly, lighthearted example from my life, not one of the darker, scarring incidents when I wished I had a time machine (or a gun). My pride is such that I’d rather be wicked than foolish. I’d rather betray than be the fool who trusted. I’d rather be calculating than the fool who leaps and misses. I’d rather be reserved and safe than the fool whose heart is exposed for all to see.

As I was wrestling with this, the Holy Spirit brought back to me one of my earliest revelations upon being born again. I’d just had a truly visceral encounter with God and had finally seen how He viewed my sinful self. I knew beyond doubt that I deserved hell and eternal separation from Him, but He saved me instead. In the days that followed, I glimpsed the massive scope of who God really is and what He has in motion. And I couldn’t believe the massive mercy and generosity that let me be the last rung on that ladder. It wasn’t humility that powered my gratitude and excitement. No, it was the flash of comprehension – God’s personal gift to me – that let me take in just how great the gift, how huge the adventure, and how incomprehensible was the joy that awaited me on the last, lowest rung of HIS ladder.

That’s the wonderful reality of the second half of my story, and it’s only possible because of the first. Oh God, give me grace to get it.

And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are, 

 So that no mortal man should [have pretense for glorying and] boast in the presence of God.
1 Corinthians 1:28-29 AMP

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    • Sam

      It was a joyful and tearing experience to read you today, Jen.

    • Tammy

      I love that I found myself smiling the entire time I read this even as I became sad…Praise Him for loving us warts and all!

      At 2:30 this morning The Lord woke me and suggested it was time to ‘deal’ with an old issue that I thought was forever gone. Why is it that issues have to be so multifaceted? I so prefer once and done!

      My first response to His waking me was…I should have known, I should have seen this coming. My second response was…Okay Lord, we’ve done this before (over many things) I know the drill. I’ll pray, ask Your direction, repent, ask for forgiveness and then go peacefully back to sleep for another couple of hours. HA! Fat chance of that. So I wrestled until it was actually time to get up. The first thing He gave me when I sat down to LISTEN was…

      Scapegoat vs Shepherd! I won’t go into all that followed, except to say that I had no sooner put my pen down from taking notes as He gave scripture and talked, when I was alerted that I had an email.

      Your post Jen – was my email! God used this post to drive home a little bit more all that He’d been saying.
      “…the pride of inferiority, born of my belief that I should or even COULD be better than I am.”
      “In that pride, I resist my story – the reality of where I’ve truly been.”
      And then, your list of “I’d rather be[s]” were written in GLOW IN THE DARK NEON! Not so much the specifics but just those words. There my heart was broken – broken for Him over me. I realized all of my own I’d rather be’s screamed that I didn’t trust Him, didn’t love the choices He’s made for my story. If I am truly His and He is truly mine – IF we are one, than there can be no I’d rather be’s for me.

      I love you Jen
      Bless you

    • Hannah J

      Wow! Thanks Jennifer. I’ve never thought of inferiority as pride…
      This may be a bit naive, but if we make choices and we take responsibility for those choices, then how do we fully say that it’s His story? Is it just that His sovereignty is seen even in our free will? Or maybe it’s what you said in the second half? That His love pursues us in spite of our choices?

      • Jennifer

        I’m so glad that you asked these questions, Hannah, though I don’t have a straight answer for you. What you’re asking is the heart of coming to terms with my story: the realization of and surrender to God’s hand over every last bit, including the choices He allowed me to make. Because He’s truly GOD, and is all-powerful and all-knowing, He must be the undisputed Author of my story. Making peace with that is a huge part of making peace with HIM. My relationship with Him turns on it!

        So I bless you as you take those perfect questions to the Father and discover the answers with Him. Also, Martha’s booklet, “God’s Sovereignty,” is an in-depth exploration of exactly what you’re pondering, and I encourage you to read it if you haven’t already. It’s far clearer on this issue than I am, ha!

        • Hannah

          Thank you! I will 🙂

      • Irene

        Hannah, excellent questions to ponder.

    • Andrea

      in pride, I resist my story ….
      wonderful insight … thank you Jennifer …

    • Tina

      Romans 9 put me on my face in repentance the other day. And is still too deep to fully comprehend. He is the potter and I the clay and should the clay say to the potter why have you made me such? He hardens whom he hardens, He has mercy on whom He has mercy and I know nothing especially my own heart. My judgments even and especially of myself, others, the system, evil, church, etc….are just plain sinful and wrong. He turns my heart at His will. I cannot even repent without His granting it! He is truly GOD and I am NOT!

      • Sam


    • Irene

      Jennifer, once again you’ve touched my heart. I find it so interesting that we have such clear memories of childhood hurts. I can still remember when it was my turn to read “The Upper Room” devotional after dinner one night when I was 10 years old, and mispronounced a word to the utter glee of my brothers. They laughed, I cried. You are right Jen, it feels so bad to be the “fool”. Yet, to this very moment, when I do anything apart from God’s Wisdom, I am playing the fool. Holy Spirit make me sensitive to that foolishness and seek Your Wisdom, Your Life.

    • Wanda

      It truly amazes me, Jen, how often you express what is in me that I don’t find words for. Thank you, thank you for your honesty and transparency. I love you.

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