Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not One Redeeming Thing About It...

My eyes were being physically pried open several hours ago by a very eager four-year old.

"Mommy! Guess what!"


"Mommy! Did you know that cockroaches can hang upside-down from the ceiling?"

Oh, I didn't want to know how he knew this.

"How do you know this?" I managed to ask as my eyes tried to adjust to the light shining in through the windows.

"Because there is a roach crawling across the ceiling in your bedroom RIGHT NOW!" he answered, beside himself with excitement. "Come see!!!"

I hate roaches.
I really do.
I cannot find one redeeming virtue to extol upon these creepy little crawly bugs.
Yet, because of where I live, I have to learn how to deal with roaches (read: I have to learn how to kill roaches when my husband isn't home to do the deed for me).

Squashing bugs with shoes is not my preferred course of treatment. For starters, I respect my shoes too much. And besides that, killing a bug with a handheld object means that you have to get within a close proximity of said creature.

So, I prefer to use the "poison in a can" approach. Which works fine when you have a can of roach spray around.

But a few weeks ago, I found myself in a stand-off with the Godzilla of all cockroaches, and my weapon was EMPTY! So, I ran back to the pantry and grabbed the only other can on the shelf - Lysol.

It kills 99.9% of germs, including the flu virus, makes the diaper pail and the trash cabinet smell fresh & clean, AND just so you know, it also kills roaches..

GLORY!!! (That's for all you Beth Moore girls...)

So, this morning, I found myself gazing up at the amazing acrobatic talent of one ceiling-walking roach. And with Lysol in hand, I put an end to my son's morning entertainment.

Now, just in case you think I won't be able to bring this story home with an invaluable life lesson learned, you have truly underestimated the inspiration and insight I received during the Beth Moore Simulcast this past weekend (I told you I'd come back more inspired!).

I spent Friday evening and the better portion of Saturday alongside 500 precious women from my church, and technologically connected to another 90,000 from around the world as we worked through the wisdom found in Psalm 37.

There was so much to take in... and I'm still letting God do His work on my heart about so much of it. But one kind of surprising little nugget seemed to be thrown into the mix just for my benefit.

On Saturday morning, I wrote the following notation from Beth's teaching. "God cannot ever use our arrogance or pride. He will go OUT OF HIS WAY to protect our humility. (Because) humility will set us up for intimacy like we've never known."

Even as she said the words, I was frantically scribbling them in my notes. I've mentioned it before on this blog, and I'll say it again. I have a problem with pride. It creeps into my life at unexpected times and I look back on my prideful or arrogant moments with deep regret and pain because the Bible clearly teaches that God hates pride. He desires for me to be confident... just not in myself.

Well, in the midst of all the glorious inspiration of the weekend, I was unaware that a Godzilla-sized dose of ugly, disgusting creepy crawly pride had crawled right into the living space of my heart.

With a few new maternity outfits (purchased just for the weekend) and a little extra time on Friday to primp before I got to church, I arrived for the Simulcast event feeling pretty good about myself. The sweetest friends in the whole world did everything they could to build up my self-esteem. "Wow! You look great!" "I can't believe you only have 8 wks left." "You're just glowing." "LOVE the new hair-do!" It went on and on.

They were precious words from sincere mouths, but I let them settle into an ugly place in my heart.

And when Beth shared the following passage from Proverbs 25:27 (The Message): "It's not smart to stuff yourself with sweets, nor is glory piled on glory good for you."
I knew that God was prying my eyes open with the light of His truth. "Come see!" He seemed to be advising me. "Come see what has creeped in and is walking around in your mind."

Compliment upon compliment. Glory piled upon glory. Thought after thought cascaded through my mind about... ME, ME, and a little more ME. It needed to be dealt with. It needed to be squashed. And unlike my "stand back and spray stuff in the general direction of the problem" approach, God is willing to be a little more hands-on in my life.

So, on Saturday afternoon, He took a proverbial shoe to my pride. I was setting up some decorations for our Women's Ministry booth at the church. We had a special event the following morning between church services. I'd brought some lovely decorative items from home and was enjoying the results of my work (especially since many other people were walking through the lobby and vocally admiring what I was doing).

A woman approached the table and we began talking. I didn't know her - but she was delightful. I was enjoying our conversation. That is, until she paused, in the middle of a sentence, and asked with deep concern, "Do you have very dry skin?"

"Um.... not really?"

"I don't mean to be presumptuous here, but...I'm a beauty consultant for (yeah, you've heard of the company, but I don't wish to do them a disservice here) and I would love to give you a free facial to get your skin back on track."

"Um... thank you?" I managed. I was equally horrified and amused. A strange combination of emotions. Other people were standing around listening, and I wondered if they were as uncomfortable as I was at the moment.

I managed to mumble something about how my skin during pregnancy might be slightly different than my "normal" skin, so I'd better hold off on facials or purchasing any of her products until my body had a chance to bounce back after the baby.

And then I immediately made my way to the nearest bathroom to see what hideous skin condition might possibly prompt a total stranger to tell a hormonal, pregnant woman that her face was a mess.

A few hours later, as I mulled over the "offer" of help, I remembered the words that I'd scribbed in black ink that same morning. "God will go out of His way to protect our humility."

Do I think that God sent this woman to give me an insult and make me feel bad about myself? No. I really don't. But was it a humbling experience? Absolutely it was. And did it give me cause to run to Him, to put my confidence in Him rather than myself? It sure did.

And for that, I'm so very grateful. Because there's nothing redeeming about arrogance and pride. Not one thing about it that God can use in me.

So, when He sets about to squash the things in my life that are so ugly and displeasing to Him, so that I can share a more intimate relationship with my God...it makes me just want to shout,



Christy said...

oh DEAR! What a nervewracking thing to go through, yet I'm in awe of your response and letting GOd use it to grow you! Thanks for sharing! :)

Two Shades of Pink said...

Um, OK. First off, I am in complete excitement that you posted this story. Love, love, love when we can be transparent for the glory of God!!!! Even more, I am laughing way too loud for my girls to be still sleeping. Wow. God so tapped out the words on those keys to weave humor and humility to bring it all back to the King himself. Too much to comment on... sanitized, odor free yet very dead roach, loving response to rather presumptuous beauty consultant, and allowing God to protect your humility for His glory. So incredibly well written and best of all you make others laugh as God sifts you. I love you my sweet friend...enough to give you a novel of a comment!

Surviving 4 said...

AWESOME. Yes, indeed, my friend - you did come back inspired! I love the metaphor you used. What better way to describe pride than as the one thing that grosses / freaks most of us women out more than anything else?! (Um, ick by the way on your acrobatic roach.) Great balance of humor and spiritual insight. Loved it...

...just don't let my compliments go to your head :)

[Unless, of course, they will lead to another brilliant blog entry]

Anonymous said...

wow! what a great correlation to a cockroach hanging upside down on your ceiling!!!! God tends to speak to us in such strange ways, doesn't he? i really enjoyed this post!

btw...only 8 weeks left!!! from this end, it seems like your pregnancy is flying by!

Kookie Krums said...

I love that you were able to share this. I admire your courage, and your perspective. God sure uses what it takes to get our attention and turn us ever so gently (or sometimes not) back to Himself. Thanks for a beautiful reminder from a not-so-beautiful creature!!

Anonymous said...

Why are you not getting your writing published!!!!?? I love this entry and reading it makes me wish we could just hang out every day.