So it’s New Year’s Day, and I’m trying to build a rink in the front yard for Sam, my hockey-crazy son.  At the same time, I’ve been reading a deeply challenging book on humility and dying to self, by Andrew Murray.   It’s a great juxtaposition.

On Sunday afternoon, to build the base for the rink, I made the first cut of the front lawn with my snowblower — pushing through up to three feet of snow that had been through a freeze-thaw cycle several times.  If you’ve never cut through snow like that before, it’s kind of like pushing your snowblower through concrete or granite.  Took me an hour to cut a single 60 foot path.  My personal frustration window was so high, I’m glad no one was around to let me tell them what I was thinking….

Tonight, I went out and cleared the would-be rink again (it snowed today) and was ready for the first flood.  The hoses were inside, warm and ready to hook up.  After an hour of prep, I hooked the hose up only to discover that my outside tap was busted.  The faucet handle had stripped. I went inside to hook it up to the washing machine tap when Toni told me not to flood the house. Undaunted, I went back outside and thought I would make the outside tap work.  Sure enough, I managed to turn it on.  Except it got stuck on, flooding my driveway and sidewalk with me unable to shut it off.  After several minutes, I finally managed to turn it off. It will stay off.  Got to get to Home Depot tomorrow to get another 100′ of hose to run off the backyard tap. 

Then I got back inside, I learned the video sync for a video blog I spent some time recording earlier today for the Connexus blog is way off.  Plus I read some more just-published-and-not-nice stuff about me in the national magazine of
my former denomination. So it seems just about all I tried to do today failed or got bunged up.

Normally this drives me into a funk. Bad day. Go to bed. Try again tomorrow.  But that didn’t happen today.  The demon at work here is pride.  And God is working hard on my pride.  I need Him to.  Earlier today, I read Andrew Murray’s comments:

"Accept every humiliation. Look upon every fellow man who vexes you as a means of grace to humble you.  Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellow men as a help to abide humbly before God."

This has been a long battle for me over many years, but I can honestly say that today, I found grace in frustration, joy in Jesus in the face of criticism, and kindness when my best efforts failed.  I brought it all to Jesus and asked Him to teach me.  And while He was teaching me, He gave me joy. Thank you for that gift. 

Not a bad way to start the New Year at all.  How about you?  How did your day go?  And have you thought about truly bringing your frustrations to Jesus, asking Him to strip you of every vestige of pride, and let Him be your all?  I can honestly say I am amazed at how it changed my temperament today.

4 Comments

  1. Brian Mullins on January 3, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    I just read the editorial of which you speak, and it leaves me wondering what planet they are living on that allows them to be so vitriolic in such a public way. I mean, it's not The Star, but still, I found it, and I'm not even on their mailing list.

    I took a public scourging at the hands of a ministry I once served, and it actually left me not having to defend myself at all, so overblown was the whole thing.

    They may be your best advertisers!

  2. Carey Nieuwhof on January 2, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    God really does set us up, doesn't he? Right on, Chris.

    Al, great question. When is humility appropriate and when not? I think the biblical answer is "always". This is so hard, because the truth of the matter is there are times when I feel naturally humbled, sometimes from choice and sometimes by circumstance, and other times where I feel I need to defend myself or simply that I'm right. But in all cases, I am called to humility. It is never out of season.

    Murray says that the fall of humanity itself consists of us exchanging our humility (in a trusting, fully dependent relationship with God who supplies all our needs) for pride (a desire to build our own kingdom our own way). When I reflect on why I want to respond in a non-humble way to someone, I realize that I am always motivated by a desire to prove myself right in my own way. Humility would lead me to Jesus…trusting in Him for all things – often not defending myself at all.

    Not sure whether this helps at all, but these are things I'm thinking about, Al.

  3. Chris on January 2, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Hey Carey – pretty awesome how God sets us up like this, eh! 🙂

  4. Al Forget on January 2, 2008 at 12:23 am

    Carey
    Just got back from a great New Years get together at a lodge in the Muskoka's. It was a nice break and great to get together with family.
    This humility thing got me thinking. I wonder how do you know when to use humulity in the face of a challenge or when to actually respond to a situation, person, comment, etc. that may in fact not be acting in a humble way? I think a huge difficulty for me is finding clarity in knowing when to be humble. I read your post and was struck by your quote from the book you are reading. It really is telling us ( you, me, everyone ) to respond out of humility and not be searching for a moment to use humility. I think to be humble you need to base a response or action out of humility and with that will come grace. I dunno. I struggle with the same thing you do. Pride! It is hard to admit but it is really true. I love pride. I hate pride. Know what I mean?
    I am struggling with a couple of situations where I have to make a decision that will ultimately change alot of things for me and my family right now and I have to lean very hard on faith for guidance. It seems that I am able to get the best answer to these situations when I am either praying or when I am serving God. When I give myself to Him completely then things seem to become clearer and more focused. I am praying hard and asking for a humble heart on these matters. Your blog hit the mark.
    Finally, I cannot say I am surprised about comments from your former denomination. Really are you? I pray that they too will have humility and use it as they really do need more of it so that they can get beyond what I personally call the "Denomination abomination".
    I guess I better grab the mag and give it a read this week.
    Peace

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