2 Corinthians · Deuteronomy · Exodus · Relationship with God

Old Habits Meet Humility

I haven’t written lately because honestly, I’ve had a massive case of writer’s block. This has been very discouraging, A few weeks ago, I had so many thoughts and ideas, there weren’t enough hours in the day to write them all! I could hardly get things typed fast enough.

However, God slowed me down, and I think I know the reason.

I needed to regain my focus.

I started this blog for a threefold purpose:

  1. Personal devotion time so I can grow in my faith and walk with Jesus
  2. Practice writing faith-based content
  3. Future content for my column in Forsyth Family magazine

I quickly lost my purpose.

Oh, how old habits die hard, but at the same time, how gracious and patient is our Heavenly Father??

I’ve been writing professionally for nine years, frequently enjoying accolades for my writing (and taking sole credit for it).  However, last summer, God gently reminded me that the gift of writing was just that — a gift.  What I had taken pride in wasn’t mine to brag about!  It is a present he’s entrusted to me.  When I lost my purpose, God slowed me down to remind me.

My morning Bible reading helped me recognize my sin.

I’m currently studying Exodus, and the Israelites’ rescue from slavery in Egypt.  For those unfamiliar with the story, God told Moses to confront the Pharaoh of Egypt and demand that the Israelites be released.  After several miracles and much stubbornness by the Pharaoh, the Israelites, led by Moses, escaped from over 400 years of hardship and captivity to immediately start complaining.

God was frustrated by their lack of faith and trust, so as a punishment, He decided that the journey to the promised land of Israel was going to take 40 years wandering around the desert.

And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.  ~Deuteronomy 8:2

In reading this story of the Israelites, I was reminded of myself.  I have asked God for His blessings.  I’ve asked Him to give me wisdom, strength, acceptance, and asked for the closeness I desperately want with Him…  I told God I wanted to be utterly dependent upon Him, the way He wants me to be…  and then, life happens.  How easy it is to slip back into old habits and take it all back, take God’s gifts for granted, and rely on myself!

I have thanked God for the gift of writing, told Him that I wanted to begin faith-writing as a way to honor Him, and as I got comfortable with positive feedback, I fell back into my old routine.

So what does this have to do with wandering around in a desert for 40 years?

The Israelites complaints were rooted in the familiar, old ways…  even those ways that weren’t good for them.

and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”  ~Exodus 16:3

Incidentally, this is only one of their complaints.  The recently freed Israelites complained constantly.  Imagine the “how much further?” non-stop grumblings of a seven-year-old in the car… and multiply that by thousands of Israelites and 40 years.  Your next family road trip doesn’t sound so bad, does it??

But I digress…  the Israelites were promised something better, yet they whined about everything.  They wanted the comfortable and familiar, even when something better was waiting for them.

Flash forward a few thousand years, and here I am…  sitting in front of a keyboard, complaining that I didn’t get as many readers as I hoped, wishing I could understand WordPress analytics better, wishing that the analytics breakdown was by state and region, wondering how many likes or comments I’ve gotten, and all these other trivial matters that are irrelevant to my #1 purpose for this blog:

  1. Personal devotion time so I can grow in my faith and walk with Jesus

Instead of remaining focused on God, I began to go back to my old comfort zone of writing for MY audience, not God’s. Writing for personal praise, not His. Writing to boost my own ego, not humbling myself before God’s greatness. I was trying to write for the wrong reasons.  When I said earlier that I’ve had writer’s block, believe me, it’s not for lack of trying to write.  I have written several pieces that I can’t quite get where they need to be.  God slowed me down so I would recognize my sin and now that I have, I believe He will let me go back and finish those other pieces, as long as I keep the focus on Him.

When I take a long, hard look in the mirror, I see a woman who knows what she wants to do, but who is in constant battle with the old habit of seeking personal success. It boils down to pride when it really needs to be about humility. In my heart, I know this isn’t about me. It doesn’t matter how high the stats go and it doesn’t matter how many likes or comments my blogs or articles get. What matters is that honor and glory are given to God, and I’ve used His gift for that purpose.

I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul, who wrote:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  ~2 Corinthians 12:9

May I, too, remember to boast about weaknesses, rather than strengths, so that the words and actions of God in my life will shine all the brighter.


Dear Lord, old habits die hard, and I’m sorry for the sin of pride that too often rears its ugly head.  I want to change.  I want this blog to be solely about You.  I pray that any words You place on my heart will be used for Your glory, not my own.  May I be humble, recognizing that without You, I am nothing.  Without You, these are nothing but words on a page, words on a screen.  Please don’t let me fall to the temptation of looking at statistics, shares, comments, or likes.  Those things are irrelevant because even if this only touches one life, that is enough.  May the gift of writing be used to Your honor and glory, never mine.  Thank you, Father, for entrusting me with this git.  May I use it wisely and always in a manner pleasing to You.  Amen.


SIDE NOTE:  Have you ever wondered how long it would have taken the Israelites to get to Egypt if they would have simply quit complaining and trusted?  Deuteronomy 1:2 tells us that this trip should have taken only 11 days.  Wow.  Further reason why we should place our trust in Him from the beginning, rather than trying to always fight for our way.

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2 thoughts on “Old Habits Meet Humility

  1. I can definitely relate! It is so hard not to seek the approval of man even though our main goal is to glorify God. It’s so easy to shake our heads at the Israelites, yet we really aren’t any different. Thank God for grace. Praying for you and your writing.

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  2. Amen Denise! It is such a daily/hourly/second struggle not to fall back on our old ways of not relying/trusting in God for all things. You are not alone! Thank you for another amazing offering!

    Like

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