What are you looking for?!
This was my first encounter with pride—my first encounter that I became aware of at least. I didn’t see it in the moment but it didn’t take long for me to be humbled. Fast forward to weeks ahead, I was over this position. At some point, I wanted nothing to do with that person nor anyone and anything associated with the position. I never had peace to leave but I was making a list and checking it twice, justice needed to be served. I considered me walking out as the proper service of justice.
The weeks to follow I began to pay close attention to everything. I picked out things I liked and things I didn’t like. After a while, I began to see my list of dislikes outweighing my list of likes. It didn’t take long for me to find more things to complain about. “So and so always does this! What is wrong with them?” or, “I hate it here! This never gets done or that always happens!” Woe is me, woe is me! The funny thing is, in the beginning I was singing the praises of the position at hand. I was thanking God for the opportunity. But when I saw something not going my way, I picked at everything until I despised what I saw.
That is until…I heard a message. It wasn’t just any message. This message had my name written all over it. It was as though the speaker was beginning every sentence with my name. “Jasmine, pride goes before the fall…, Jasmine, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God…, Jasmine, promotion is from the Lord.” There’s more but I’ll leave it there lol. But in that moment, if I had ever had a question of whether or not God wanted to get a message to me, this was a moment of confirmation for me. I was convicted, but I needed it.
The gist of the message was along the lines of finding what you’re looking for—good or bad. We find ourselves seeking God and claim He can’t be found when really He can and will be when we’re truly seeking after Him. The same is true for anything else. If we’re offended and looking for things to confirm our “right” to an offense, then we will find things to make and keep us offended. Like in my case, it wasn’t until things didn’t go “my way” that I decided something was wrong with the position at hand.
It’s funny how pride and offense can go hand in hand. When we’re offended, it’s pride that won’t allow us to move on. And when we’re in pride it’s almost always due to an offense. Neither place is a safe place to be. Scripture confirms it, take a look at James 3:16 “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” It’s mentioned in scripture as a warning for where we can find ourselves experiencing the manifestation of what pride and offense can do in one’s life.
Notice “self-seeking” pride is all about me or self and what I feel entitled to, whereas offense is also all about me but in a way that is directed toward something or someone else. Think about it, when I’m offended at someone it’s because of a wrong I feel they’ve done TO me. The thing is, in the space of offense I’m meditating on what was done to me by someone else. In turn I’m setting my attention on blaming them, until they confess and apologize for the hurt they’ve caused me—if ever.
If they don’t apologize I find myself being critical towards them and questioning their character. All responses that direct my attention towards them. Because they failed to do what pleases me, I’ve taken it upon myself to nitpick at their flaws. Which in some cases points out areas I see in myself that I may not like. Remember how I said we always find what we’re looking for? We do. In the business of self-seeking we will always find ourselves—the good and the bad—flaws and all. But when the arrow is pointed at someone else, it’s easy to overlook our own flaws. Let’s be real, we’ve all got flaws and it’s not ok to seek out the flaws in others in order to hurt someone and to cover our own.
The story gets better, I promise. It wasn’t instant but when I opened my heart and allowed God to put things into perspective, I stopped looking for ways out and started looking for more ways to be of help. Due to my new choice of seeking I began to see more things to be grateful for about the position and about the new addition to the team. My eyes were opened to the fact that the enemy seeks to destroy what God put in place. By me seeking for ways to get out, I had joined forces with the wrong team. Ultimately I was there to serve God. It wasn’t about me nor anyone else, it was about filling a position from a place of excellence all for the glory of God.
Pride wouldn’t allow me to realize any of that. Seeking me instead of God gave me a limited point of view, for one I am just one person. I mean that in the best most humble way possible. But two, there is more to life than me—there are people on the other side of my obedience. While pride wouldn’t allow me to realize the bigger picture, offense would have kept me from it all together. Given that I was ready to quit, I would have missed out on the huge blessings along the road.
In the midst of what I thought I was missing out on, I found that God had something better planned for me. I had desires in my heart that would have gone unfulfilled due to the busyness of the position. Somehow God was strategically placing me right where I needed to be in order to see the fulfillment of His promises to me. I was blessed with the opportunity to be mentored by someone He’d put on my heart to ask a year prior to joining this team. I got to attend some things I’d only ever dreamed of and a lot more.
My point in all of this is, be intentional to seek the good—in everything. The good in you and in others as well as the good all around us. Evil may be evident but we live in a world where it’s easier to identify. But to seek is to look for—so in the midst of evil, we have permission to look for good. We have permission to look for and believe the best of everyone and every situation. Trust me when I say I’m preaching to the choir! Here’s to seeking and finding the good in our lives!