Day 8

Back in the day, parents told children things like, “Don’t get too big for your britches.”  

 

A generation later, my generation came along and fretted about our children’s self-esteem.  Lots of decisions were made, some of them solid improvements on parenting and others seem to be proving themselves to be not so great.  I heard a story recently where high schools were deciding that the Valedictorian for each class was not the student with the highest GPA, but any student who achieved a particular GPA.  Some of these high schools had ten or more Valedictorians!  Ok, that’s ridiculous.  Who wants to listen to all those speeches?

 

I believe that scripture helps us find a sweet spot of truth-telling that is amazing, if noticed.  In the scriptures that Scott used yesterday (Romans 8:5-11), Paul differentiated between selfishness and unselfishness, tying it to self-centered versus unselfish living.  Now look, we all know that each of us has moments when we are self-centered.  (Hence the many warnings from previous generations about behaving better and keeping your ego in check.)  But we also know, if we think about this a bit, that sometimes when we are at our apparently most “self-centered” that there is a whole lot more going on than just being a selfish little so-and-so.  If we feel unsafe, abandoned, afraid, depressed, frustrated without resources or skills to manage that emotional landscape, then we might indeed try to fix our own problems in a self-focused way.   (Hence, I suspect, why my generation tried to encourage our children to have a healthy sense of self, i.e. self-respect not just big egos.  Of course, we also may have missed the mark a bit in our corrective measures!)

 

Here’s what I love about the scriptures.  

 

But you aren’t self-centered. Instead you are in the Spirit, if in fact God’s Spirit lives in you. Romans 8

 

Paul teaches us that when we are led by God’s Spirit, we’ve got resources and an advocate that is better equipped to help us sort out our issues of self-esteem and self-respect.  He indicates that we do not have to fear being self-centered, because when dancing with the Spirit, we will be taught how to follow.  I love that, I really do.  I have had many teachers show up in my life in various forms that have set aside all conversation that deals with what I must DO and instead, showed me how to BE a person of faith.  I love that about how God works.  You are not self-centered; you are in the Spirit.  Follow that thought where it might lead you today!

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