Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Rights

I have many flaws, not the least of which is self-protectiveness. It manifests in a militant dedication to wearing seat belts, following rules, and always being aware of my nearest emergency exit. These aren't really the things that get me in trouble though. It's the compulsion to defend myself when I've been criticized, make excuses when I've failed at something, or explain myself when I've been misunderstood.

It's my right to defend myself. But Jesus is not that interested in my rights. In fact, He gave up a lot of His own rights when He left the glory of heaven and came to earth to be our Redeemer. My rights just aren't that important. And as a Christian I joyfully offer them to my Lord because of what He's done for me. But it's still hard for me to keep my mouth shut in certain situations. I fail a lot of the time.

God has shown me that this whole thing is a deeply rooted pride issue. And you know, I don't really want to be a prideful person. God has been allowing some thorns and thistles to come my way and test me in this area. I'm not gonna lie - it's been HARD. I've wanted to state my case loudly. And forcefully. And publicly. My mom, knowing I needed some encouragement, shared something that she had heard recently: Shall I defend the flesh or be a demonstration of the Spirit? Isn't that good? She had to repeat it twice so I could drink it down. What I love about the Lord is that when He corrects you it's sharp like a double-edged sword that penetrates, even dividing the bone and marrow. But in the same pill you get peace and the grace to change.

31 comments:

Breathing His Joy said...

Amanda, thank you so much for sharing this. I have found myself struggling with this most of my adult life, and my big mouth has not led me into the relief I thought defense would achieve. What a great reminder for all of us to be a demonstration of the Spirit instead of defending the flesh.

BooMama said...

Uh-huh.

Yep.

COME ON, NOW.

And you know that I know how you feel.

Hang in there, sister friend.

CrownLaidDown said...

I am very much like you in this...a good word from Mama B...a timely one! I think the Spirit's gonna win out in this one, don't you?

BTW, I have a good example of being militant. Once in high school, I made a girl chase down the trash she threw from my car. Yes, she had to run our in the middle of traffic and may have been hit, but we Don't Mess with Texas now, do we? :)

Praying for you in this. I actually thought about scanning a journal page for you (from Becky Tirabassi's Partner Prayer Notebook) with your name on it from 1999...it had your whole family listed and I have prayed faithfully. 'Thought that would make you feel as special as you are!
Love,
Holly

R said...

Wow...that'll preach! :0) I'll be pondering that nugget all weekend!

Them Chandlers said...

I have thought about that quote often. Thanks for sharing, Amanda :)

courtney said...

I love how your mom has always said that Jesus is the only one who can deal with your stuff and still leave you with your dignity. So true.

Alana said...

I've been reading your blog for a couple of weeks and I'll choose this post to comment for the first time. Those are wise words from your Mom.

Here are a couple of lessons I have learned in dealing with those types of situations... 1) You've gotta put your faith in God and not people because people will always fail you and 2) You don't have to "win" because Christ already has the victory! Amen? Amen!

I would say to keep your chin up, but maybe it is better to keep it down (in prayer).

God bless and thanks for sharing your heart!

Abby said...

i'm not from texas but i believe the phrase your mom used a while back was

"that dog'll hunt!"

thanks.

Liz said...

I can so relate to this. I get myself into trouble with my mouth way to often. Thank you for your encouraging words. I love what your mom said too,"Shall I defend the flesh or be a demonstration of the Spirit?"..I needed to hear this.

Inresting how so many sin issues are rooted in pride.

Thank you again! God Bless!

amberburger said...

amanda. in college i had this sign i made out of computer paper taped on my celling so that it was the first thing i saw every morning at SBU. it read "Amber you have NO RIGHTS" i took that sign to each new place of residence, it was worn out and tattered by the time houston rolled around. you'd a thought i would have learned...But most days since motherhood, i have thought about hunting that tattered old sign down and putting it in its rightful place, on my celling above my bed!
Thanks for sharing that quote and thanks for your honesty.

Lindsee said...

I really wonder how many sin issues are rooted in pride. I mean, aren't they all?!

Thank you, thank you for your precious heart, Amanda! I can SO relate to this...it's just all that dang pride. OH, how I hate it! I choose to defend my flesh way more than I decide to be a demonstration of the spirit.

My prayer is that I would choose the spirit over my flesh!

I needed to hear this, so thank you!

Lynn said...

Hi Amanda!

Praise God for His grace. On this very topic I heard a priest say

Never defend yourself if you are the only one you are defending.

That little nugget has stayed with me a long long time and caused me to bite my tongue numerous times and reget instances when I didn't.


Peace,
Lynn

RealEstateGirl said...

Girlfriend, you are not alone! The very things you were describing are things I struggle with all the time.

I love the quote from your mom. I think I'm gonna have to write that down and post it in a million places.

My hubby says there is no filter between my brain and my mouth sometimes! I usually don't take that moment to "pause" before I react.

I am the DEFENDER of TRUTH and JUSTICE!!! Wanna be my deputy?

April said...

Well said! I needed this. Sometimes we just have to swallow our pride. It is hard but when we think back to our purpose through Christ it (most days) quickly softens us!

Teri said...

I have been dealing with this VERY thing for about 3 months. It was brought to my attention that I seemed to be defensive. Sometimes you just want people to understand your mind on things. But I have been learning to just shut my mouth. (That is hard!) God is my defense and if I have walked in the Spirit of the Lord, then I must trust Him for the outcome. It really does get easier, hang in there!

Sharon said...

Boy do I know about this issue.
God is teaching me to get it right when I am wrong and if not---leave it to Him because it is his job to defend me.
I have been amazed at how- when He rights the wrongs---He has ended up building something big.
I have gained a great friend out of one who was an enemy!
He is good that way!

Mindy said...

Amanda -
I want you to know how much this spoke to me!
I spend get quantities of time thinking about my rights. It is my right that my husband put me before the "job" (which is being a pastor btw), it's my right to have the kind of home that I want to have (and not have to suffer with the decorations of a parsonage).....It is my right to have my 3 little girls dressed to a T and look so cute all the time........and so on and so forth.
You hit the nail on the head -- pride. Pure D ugly pride.
I also spend great quantities of time thinking about my ugly pride, too...........though obviously not enough since I haven't been able to captivate those "rights" to God's thinking yet.
So - amen sister!
I am "right" there with ya!

Tammie said...

You are so precious. I love you. AND, am so proud of you! Reading this kind of stuff makes my heart melt where you are concerned. I know I am not a whole lot older than you, but I feel like I am. Mostly because I have been a Mommy so long now, and grew up way to fast!!

I remember you as a young high school girl, and feel like I have gotten to see you grow up before my eyes. I always thought you were absolutely darling. As Peyton is going into 9th grade this year, so much is hitting me. I have SO enjoyed seeing you grow up... and I feel such dear affection where you are concerned! This blog made my heart swell. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU AMANDA!


tammie

No need to post this one on your comments...I just had to love on you a minute!

erin said...

i think i am always trying to defend either myself or someone that i love. that always got me into trouble growing up, because it was always MY job to protect and defend my family from outside "attacks." i have a mentor who recognized this tendency in me and finally said, "i need a much bigger Defender. no offense, but you're just too small." it RELEASED me from that pressure! it's not my job! and it goes the same for when we try to defend ourselves. it's just not our job - we couldn't do it if we tried!! we have someone much bigger and stronger. thanks for this post.

Amy T said...

Well said (or well written). I have gotten a bit better about defending myself, but have a long way to go. I also feel the need to defend everyone else, even if what I'm hearing is right. I'm trying to learn to just zip it. What a hard lesson!

{Karla} said...

this is one I've struggled with myself... I tend to stay quiet, not because I want to, but because my emotions go all bonkies and I end up not being able to do anything.

thank you for this.

blessings,
karla

Lisa said...

What great wisdom! I AM going to write that down and put it somewhere so I can be reminded of it continously!

I can so relate. I, too, have always been a defender of my rights or someone that I felt was wronged. It is something that God is working on in me and will have to continue. It is great when you can see small victories and feel that I am making progress.... I say "I am making progress", because God has all that I need to do this right the first time... unfortunately I don't always choose to lean on Him and make the wise choice to keep quiet. He is there and more than able to give me what He wants me to say OR not to say. I am going through these exact same things right now. My husband is in the ministry as well and I feel this is where my mouth wants to defend the most. I hope that makes sense,.... hopefully it will to those of you in the ministry!!

Anyway, something else I heard your mother say a while ago that has really stuck with me and I have used it in some trying situations, was something to the effect of "The one without any mud on them is the one who wins." (Sorry, Beth, I know I didn't get it exact!) I am trying to not sling mud and pray through situations, but I must say.....for me.....it is a road I can only travel down with God's grace and help!

Debra said...

It is such a hard lesson...but so true.

I am going through a season of re-learning this moment by moment.

The Silva's said...

It is truly amazing the ways in which God works, random blog navigations have led me to you page today and reading that was just what I needed. I know that feeling, a little too well (it almost felt like you were describing me) anyhow, there is a calmness that has been brought into my day because of you, and the Lord.
Thank you,
Megan

Addie said...

Ugh! Amen!!
I sat in a meeting yesterday and got VERY frustrated "on behalf of my husband". And as I sat there frustrated, God pretty blatantly let me know it had less to do with my man and more to do with my pride. Nasty, ugly, pride. If I had read that quote before the meeting ("Shall I defend the flesh or be a demonstration of the Spirit?"), I'm sure HE would've quickly brought that to mind as well.

II Cor. 10:3-5 Help me Lord!

The Preacher's Wife said...

Most of the strongholds I've had in my entire life have resulted from my trying to be my own defender.

However, once I was the one who was accusing and I later found out something the one I was 'put out with' did on my behalf without letting me know. Ouch and double Ouch. It pierced me much more than if she would have blasted me for my misunderstanding of our situation. Let's just say the lesson was learned.

Loved mom's wisdom...thanks for being so transparent! :))

Shelly said...

Oh oh oh! Yes mam (well - you're not exactly a 'mam,' but just meaning that my spirit is in strong agreement here on this one). that I Oh Amanda (I include myself here as well), may we receive the measure of His grace where we experience such things, because it'll give us a chance to know Him more, and love others better. May we be kept flat-faced before Him and dependent on Him to be our God of recompense. I want to know the One who made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, and was stripped of His glory. I need to see the face of the One who willingly, obediently, and joyfully allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross. I need to know the heart of the One rejected to the utmost - by His very own - misunderstood and mocked. Draw me nearer ever Jesus, nearer unto Thee. He is your rear guard. Hide under the shadow of His wings. For the One who was esteemed not, the one who disrobed His glory for the flesh of mankind, and the One who was betrayed by His own, must understand your heart. Let us cry out to the One who knows.

jennyhope said...

I so needed to be reminded of that. I always have to go back to Phil 2. I wish I would get it and it stick forever...so hard.

ang baylis said...

Thank you for sharing this, Amanda! I had to read your mother's encouraging words a couple of times before I got it! I will definitely put this somewhere I can see on a daily basis!

You are so sweet to be so open and honest!
-angie

Tracy said...

Thanks, Amanda...

Too often I feel that burning in my cheeks and all those things I think I have the "right" to say on the tip of my tongue...

Shall I defend the flesh or be a demonstration of the Spirit? I really needed to hear that...

Shelly said...

Amanda, The LORD sent one of these instances my way since I posted here. I was driving home and biting my lip to hold back an outbursts of tears. He began tenderly pricking my heart and speaking to the wound that I was so wanting Him to touch, but had to let Him tear down my false walls of self-protection first to even get there. He brought this post of your's to mind, so I came back to read it, and my own comment (nothing like walking your 'talk') and sowing His Word. I just wanted to let you know that He used it to minister. So thank you for sharing.