Friday, July 30, 2010

Hat Sizes

I was trying on hats at Target today and realized that my head has gotten bigger.  No joke.  I used to have trouble because my head was so small that Target never had hats small enough.  It was like being in a cranial version of "Little People, Big World."  This is not the case anymore.  Maybe the "medium" just got smaller, but I think I might have a bigger head!  At first, this thrilled me.  It means no more shopping for hats in the 7-12 year old section.  It is hard to be taken seriously in a "Diego the Explorer" hat.  My joy subsided quickly when I realized my cranial growth is directly proportional to the number of compliments I have received in the last year.  

At the office, I do what I call "What-About-Bob-ing" pride.  You may remember the Bill Murray movie "What About Bob?" where Bob has an array of phobias.  One of the ways he deals with them is to fake them.  If he's afraid of having a heart attack, he clutches his chest and falls on the floor.  "If I fake it, I don't have it," he tells his psychiatrist.  I thought this was a great way to handle pride.  The other day, I turned to my wife and said, "God must really love you to have given you a husband like me."  Another time, I re-introduced myself to a co-worker who knows me well.  "I act so much like Jesus," I told her, "that I think it is a good idea to remind people that I'm actually just Dan, so there is no confusion."  Turns out, faking pride doesn't keep you from getting it.

I've been thinking lately about the difference between confidence and pride.  I used to be so afraid to try things, so afraid of failure that I never stepped out.  I never took risks.  I was very shy and probably not considered funny or very interesting.  I could have been the national spokesperson for National Public Radio.

By God's grace, something changed.  It started late in High School and grew through college.  In recent years, I've been able to see God work to accomplish some pretty exciting things.  And, I'm blessed that He let me be a part of it.  Now, I feel a little bit more confident in the gifts God has given me and the personality he has made me with.  It's pretty exciting.

However, there are days when I just feel completely inadequate.  Sometimes, I look at my work life and realize that I forgot about something.  Other times, I think about what I do and wonder "Couldn't anybody do this?"  Am I really doing that much to make a difference?

God has a way of watching me humble myself.  I say "watching me humble myself" because I really think there is a thin line between confidence in my God-given gifts and plain old pride.  He lets me cross that line now and then, and that's when I revert back to healthier God-dependence.  I don't walk in perfect alignment.  I teeter back and forth on the tight-rope of confident God-dependence.  Sometimes I slip and catch myself on the rope.  Other times, I fall into the net of His grace.  Every time I so much as lean to far one way, I remember how much I need Him.

This week has been a slip and catch myself on the rope week.  I'm tired.  My mind hasn't settled down since May and now it refuses to work well.  Ideas flow more like molasses than water.  The day goes by and I can't remember exactly what got done that day.  I'm trying to brainstorm ideas for projects, but my brain can barely muster up a light drizzle.  I feel completely inadequate.

As is my practice in times of insecurity, I offered up a few "God, I don't know what to do about____" prayers.  These are the prayers I pray when I just feel spent and don't know what to do next.  You know what; He heard me.  He gave me ideas that I know I couldn't have thought of on my own.  He worked out details I couldn't control.  He showed me who has the real ideas, and reminded me while hard work is necessary, letting go and waiting for Him is too.  I'm going to take a week of vacation, starting this Sunday.  For several days, I won't have direct control over the ministries I oversee.  I am stepping back and letting God work through the leaders he has given me and developed through me.  When I get back, I'm going to see if I can fit into some smaller hats.

Would anyone else like to offer up some "God, show me what to do about _____" prayers?

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