Monday, March 27, 2006

Poor Me

At the beginning of this year I started a personal Bible study not out of some great insight on my own part but on the Holy Spirit’s prompting, then leading, then pushing. I had to be pushed because the text was the Sermon on the Mount, which I felt was such familiar territory that it had little to offer me. I was wrong. So here are some excerpts from my own study/prayer journal woven into what I learned from Jesus by revisiting the Beatitudes. You’ll see my entries fro m January in italics.

Matthew 5:3-Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
You’d think that with the PhD in Sunday School I hold I’d be able to immediately define “poor in spirit” but I really had no idea what this meant. So I followed the foot notes and margin references and I came up with what this meant. Poor in spirit=Humble, contrite, servant
Ok, so now I can at least understand a one sentence verse...if a person is humble, contrite and a servant they will have the kingdom of heaven. Whatever. If you’re sensing some sarcasm and indignation there, you know me too well. I decided to just go ahead and take my medicine by breaking it down again.
Humble means I do not consider myself above, but below others
Contrite is penitent sorrow and remorse for sin
A personal attendant or one who provides support and/or service to an organization or individual.
I could not in honesty say that I was consistently poor in spirit. I couldn’t even say that I wanted to be. I had a life lesson going on for approximately my entire adult life to parallel the verse too. I have been consistently throughout my marriage the one who does the housework. The Mr. seems to possess superhuman x-ray vision allowing him to see through any given mess or chore. I felt very sorry for myself about this and very angry with the Mr. Then God brings up this Matthew 5:3 business and I’m wondering why I have to learn so many lessons and trying to call his attention to the Mr. But the point, you see, was not the right or wrong of the division of household tasks. The point was my spirit and whether I was achieving the kingdom of heaven with it. And I wasn’t. My Achilles heel in this is specifically waking up to a mess when I went to sleep with a neat house. I am the first to bed so daboyz and the Mr. are the culprits in this problem.
I read this passage and God issued a challenge. You wanna learn this? You wanna apply this? You wanna grow up a little? Clean the mess and shut up. Shoot.
So for a few days I cleaned the house (AGAIN) as soon as I woke up in the morning and it made my attitude slightly improved since I wasn’t looking at the pop cans and cereal bowls all day long. But I was still doing a lot of grumbling in the process and still telling those guys I had to get up and clean their mess and I’m sick and tired of it.
And I need to fix my attitude to humble while I’m doing this
...makes me feel unimportant. I am unimportant. I am not humble after all. I am not a servant either. Servants have no agenda. I have a lot of agendas to get rid of.

I started getting up, cleaning the mess and biting my tongue about it. If I’m not above them; if I’m below my family on my own agenda, I’ll serve them. I’ll do it.
I’m fighting the same battles I’ve been fighting forever but it is a different battle if I’m fighting with myself now
At first it was so hard to do this simple thing; straighten the house (it took all of 5-10 minutes every morning), go about my day and not announce my sacrifice when my guys got home. The initial shocker of this was how little time it took me to put the house in order and how many years YEARS I had spent angry about it. Stupid. I am so stupid. I realized it was a matter of moments in my life and that in return I was serving, I was humbling myself and I was living in the kingdom of heaven as a result. I felt...blessed. I stopped fighting my family and turned myself in for what I’d been doing wrong. When I realized that whether or not they were in the wrong for making a mess, I was absolutely in the wrong for my own response I felt...contrite.
Contrite is penitent sorrow and remorse for sin.
I honestly thought the Mr. was the sinner here. I thought there was one sin to any given situation and it was his. But there can be more than one sin happening in any given situation. I saw mine now. I was not humble and not a servant. I was proud and resentful. I thought myself above cleaning up a mess someone else had made. Ironically, I have never had a problem with Christ cleaning up my messes. Yet, I grumbled about the Diet Pepsi can on the coffee table.
I had a new take on penitence and remorse. God, I am so sorry.
I will not demand recognition or complain; I am sorry God, for pushing myself into the first position. I am sorry for being petty and demanding and belligerent and angry. Forgive me. I need to learn to serve at home if I am going to serve your people. This is hard God. I need to not feel humiliated but I do. Make me humble and help me to find joy in pleasing you.

Matthew 5:3-Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


tina fabulous said...

because i am so very helpful and holy, you can feel free to come exercise your humility and servitude at my apartment. i dont feel right cleaning it myself when there is someone out there striving toward godliness.

Margie said...


PLEASE... get out of my head!! I still think somehow you are my sister seperated sometime. I think we all struggle with this one, I think it starts when we're kids-- Suzy made the mess... why do I have to clean it up...

As always... thanks... and I'll pick the coke can with a much better outlook.