Friday, September 16, 2016

Be not ashamed, but be admonished

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Be not ashamed, neither confounded;
but be admonished in all your high-mindedness and pride,
for it bringeth a snare upon your souls.
(D&C 90:17)

This verse is interesting to me because it shows that while the Lord does not want us to be proud, He also doesn’t want us to go off in the weeds the other direction and be ashamed or confounded. This implies to me that being ashamed and confounded are counterfeits of humility.

I like that it says, “be admonished in all your high-mindedness and pride.” It is as though the Lord means for that rebuke to work for all time, or for us to work at humility.

Of course, I have found in my life that my pride doesn’t stay admonished for long. It takes every excuse it can to pop up again. I’ve had to learn to admonish myself, and I’m not as good at that as I could or should be.

Sometimes when I think I’m sitting pretty, I have to remind myself that Heavenly Father could change my life in an instant if He decided I needed some special difficulty.  I could be given a handicap. We could suffer financial reverses. We could have an unexpected disaster. In short, our stable life could be up-ended in a second. He might do it to humble me, or He might do it in order to stretch me in some new direction. In both instances, I would need to be prepared to accept His will. This reminds me that I am still dependent upon God.

Sometimes I have to admonish myself that God knows all the thoughts and intents of my heart. I can’t hide anything from Him. He sees through any posturing and parading and self-back-patting. He knows when my motives are selfish or when I’m gratifying my ego. So if I notice my interior life is amiss, I am just as in need of repenting as if I sinned in public.   Sometimes when I pray I find myself saying to Heavenly Father, “You see everything inside of me. Look at this obnoxious pride I have. Just look at it!” And I go on to describe the thing I happen to be extra proud of at the time. Weirdly enough, pointing it out to the Lord helps shrink it. I’m not sure why.

Also, for some reason, I find myself fantasizing about comparing myself to others and finding that I’m superior.  Which is ridiculous.  Because it is just as likely that I might be found inferior instead.  I’ve read studies that show we tend to overestimate our own performance. So consciously correcting my estimations of myself to take that into account is probably a good idea.

Another thing I use to admonish myself is to remember that everyone is the star of their own life, so to others I am just a bit player. I can co-star in my husband’s life, but not everyone is looking at me.  (I think social media tends to build that perception that everyone is looking at oneself.)

Another thing I know is that Satan loves to flatter me when I’m trying to instruct others in humility.  Any time I think I’ve got it figured out, I become vulnerable and start making mistakes.  I anticipate that after this post I will probably get hit with it, and if I don’t get into trouble with pride immediately, I will probably flatter myself that I do have this figured out and then get into trouble later. (Yes, prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.)

One question I had about the above verse was “How does high-mindedness and pride bring a snare on our souls?”

Pride causes us to act in certain ways, to scorn and feel contempt, to contend, in short, into a number of hostile attitudes that lead us to sin in our interactions with others.

It can be compared to a snare in that it lures us with comfortable feelings of superiority, and then it is hard to get out of because so often we start to feel we are justified and comforted by it. 

But I’m sure you can immediately see that if we enjoy feeling justified and comforted by our pride, then we can’t be justified and comforted by the Spirit of the Lord.

Hmmm…that last statement feels very important so I think I will repeat it.

If we enjoy feeling justified and comforted by our pride, then we can’t be justified and comforted by the Spirit of the Lord.

Will you share some of the healthy ways that you admonish yourself when you notice you are getting proud?  We all need more ammunition to shoot it down!