For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The (Un)Burden of Being on the Atlar

In Saturday's post I told you I would share some things I've learned about self-righteousness as I have been camped out on the altar. Probably the biggest thing is I didn't realize the weight of needing to be right. Notice I did not say "the weight of being right". The truth is, the need to be right is crushing. It crushes us mental and stresses us out. It crushes us emotionally and kills relationships. It crushes us spiritually and retards or totally stops any growth in Christ. It crushes us physically as all the stresses take their toll and we experience migraines, muscle tension, high blood pressure, indigestion, and a myriad of other issues. The need to be right is a killer kind of weight.

At the root of self-righteousness is the need to be right. Except there is more to it. It means we also need others to know we are right and to act, think, believe, dress, look accordingly.

Now, we can debate the source of this until Jesus returns, but ultimately there is only one answer, which we will talk about in a bit. For now, let's talk about the weight of self-righteousness.

Self-righteousness is all about self. Seems pretty self-explanatory. Right? Let's really look at this. SELF-right(eousness) means it is all about me and my being right. So my job then is to make everyone see things the way I do. I have to argue a point to the very end, whether that be the end of my time allotment or more likely to the end of the relationship. Sometimes if a person just won't see how smart and enlightened I am, I have to shame or demean someone so they can see how stupid their thinking is. A lot of the time if someone won't see things my way and do things my way so I can stay in my comfort zone, I have to punish them by not speaking or not having anything to do with them until they realize their foolishness and align with what I want...because after all, I'm right. Oh, and I always have to talk first because then everyone knows the right way so no one else will be so foolish as to say the right thing. I always have to have the answer because if I don't, someone might question whether I'm right about other things, and we can't have that. And, if all those things don't work, I can always launch a public campaign, play the victim, and tell my side in such a way as the get the greatest degree of pity so the people I tell realize I am right. But if all that fails, and believe it or not, sometimes people just are determined not to see my superior thinking/opinions/etc., then I will simply show them and leave. No big deal for me because I will simply go somewhere else where people realize I am right. There.

It is indeed a heavy load, but some of us, like me, are forced to bear it.

I would say I hope you are laughing, except really, it isn't funny. Well, if you are watching from the outside as some self-right(eousness) person is throwing their tantrum, they can look funny because really, what adult acts like that? Well, me. Hopefully not to that extent...anymore. But, yeah, I know how this works because I have the crown, t-shirt, AND tie-tack.

So you may be wondering why people don't get it and get over it. Well, it is hard to see why you need to get over it when really, you're just the victim.

See, it's really all about character flaws and suffering rejection.

That is THEIR character flaws and MY suffering rejection.

Don't believe me? I'll show you I'm right.

See, if someone doesn't agree with me, they are rejecting me.
If they don't like my opinion, they a rejecting me.
 If they don't like my color choice for a room, they are rejecting me.
If they don't agree with my idea of modesty, they are rejecting me.
If they don't agree with my opinions on politics or beliefs in faith, they are rejecting me.

It is all personal. It is all about me, and anytime someone else doesn't see that, then they are obviously rejecting ME, not a color on a wall or a festival theme or a shirt style, BUT ME! And any time they reject me, I'm going to get offended, and, folks, offense is a heavy thing to carry.

Have you ever noticed how exhausting it is to be mad all the time? We aren't made to be mad all the time. We are made in God's image. We are made for relationship. We are made to love people and enjoy them. We are not made to find offense and hold onto bitterness. Holding onto those things is fighting the very core of who we are made to be, and that is exhausting.

When you get on the altar and sacrifice your right to always be right, you don't give up the chance to be right, you give up the weight of having to be right. You give up the responsibility of making everyone else right, and those are some heavy burdens. You also get to quit carrying the weights of bitterness and offense.

We think of sacrificing something as what we have to give, and we do give up our rights, but when we sacrifice something, we get so much more. We get Jesus. We get to let Him deal with things. We get to stop being something we aren't (always right) and be something we need of Jesus being right in us.

In Matthew 11, Jesus offers an invitation:

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Let me reword this a bit for you.

Come to Me, all you labor to preserve your self-image because you are afraid people will see you weak, unimportant, or stupid if you don't know everything, and I will give you rest from all those false expectations people put on you and you put on others. Take My expectations upon you and learn what I call right, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest from the burden of false righteousness.

I'll tell you the truth. I never saw this verse this way until this morning when I was writing this, but now I'm copying it and printing it out to put on my wall so I see it and meditate on it everyday.

I hope you come back tomorrow so I can tell you how I've learned to offer my self-righteousness so I can receive His. Until then...

May the Lord grant you the courage to be wrong...and be okay with it.

Shalom y'all!

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