The Hardest Thing

imageI just finished two weeks of training to be a counselor at Camp Beechpoint and I have a hundred things I could say about what I experienced, but I’ll keep it short (-ish. You know me…) God is good about making sure that I never get too independant before He gently leads me back to the cross, where I remember that I owe it all to His goodness and mercy and love. We’ll just say that I don’t always do amazingly in new situations with new people to impress and new systems to learn, but He’s a good, good Father, who is thankfully also extremely patient.

And even though I struggle adjusting, it was great, and by the end of our two weeks of training I already feel closer to my fellow staff members than I knew was possible. God has brought us all together for a purpose this summer and I am excited to seek His kingdom and righteousness for the next two months alongside such wonderful brothers and sisters. From the conversations we held to our countless prayers to our daily devotions, these people have not stopped encouraging and challenging me.

One of the things that was shared in our morning devotions this past week was the Litany of Humility. I may have heard it before this, but it struck a deep chord with me this time and I’ll share it for you below:

Deliver me, Jesus, from the desire of being esteemed. From the desire of being loved. From the desire of being extolled. From the desire of being honored. From the desire of being praised. From the desire of being preferred to others. From the desire of being consulted. From the desire of being approved. From the fear of being humiliated. From the fear of being despised. From the fear of being forgotten. From the fear of being ridiculed. From the fear of being wronged.

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire that others may be loved more than I. That others may be esteemed more than I. That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease. That others may be chosen and I set aside. That others may be praised and I unnoticed. That others may be preferred to me in everything. That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should.”

That hits so hard. I could add a lot, but I think it stands just fine by itself. Just think on those words for a while, and even pray them if you can. You might find, like I do, that just saying these things out loud feels uncomfortable. For me these past two weeks, praying and living this has been the hardest thing. To seek others before ourselves is not natural, in fact, not even possible in our own strength. This “joyful decrease” that I talk about is much more an ideal that I strive towards rather than a concept that I live.

But He gives more grace. Hallelujah, right? Because victory is found in submission to His Spirit. God resists the proud, but His grace is abundantly available to the humble. My prayer is that I may resist what I know is wrong, my self-seeking, my self-sufficiency, my self-glorification, and submit again to God. That I may humble myself in the eyes of God and be lifted up. That I may find and believe that all victory, success, worth- anything that means anything at all in this life or the next- is found in the pursuit of Jesus Christ and His kingdom.

(Some words and ideas borrowed from Titus 3, James 4, and Matt. 6 as well as the Litany of Humility by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val.)

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