I asked God, “How can I avoid pride and despair?”, and my loving Father answered me.
First, He told me to spend more time with Him. Prayer turns my thoughts and my focus out of myself. It’s about emptying myself, my worries, to God and spending more and more time with Him. To spend time in the Presence, even if it’s mostly in intercessory prayer, is to spend time in a place where it is impossible to be prideful. This was the first place that God directed me, when I asked Him how I should avoid pride and despair. First, I should look *up*. Prayer also directs my thoughts towards others, and encourages me to love them.
Next, I was told to spend more time really looking at what was before my eyes. I was told to spend time in nature untouched by man, and to allow myself to see. Noticing nature, unfolding my defenses and just looking, it allows me to look and appreciate at other parts of creation, other humans. To enjoy what God put in place, to pity the hurt parts and want to heal them, to just… appreciate what has been made. When I allow those things to unwind in my head, then I can come to the place where I can appreciate myself, where I can see how far I have to go without beating myself for not yet being there, where I can just be.
Creatures are valued not only for their functions, but for their differences. I have three cats. Which is the best at being a cat? I suppose it depends on what you want from a cat. I have a chatty pretty cat, a hunting cat, and a ball of floppy love and soft fur. I like all of them. I expect that God likes all of His creations, too. He created us with differences because it pleased Him to do so, did He not?
I take delight in my friends, my fellow creatures. Every one of my gal pals has had the experience of me squealing over some ornament that I absolutely need to see them in *right now*. It’s a good thing, to delight in my friends. I don’t compare them. I enjoy them, and I enjoy them for who they are. It is good to remember that I’m just another creation – and that this means that I am equally worthy of squeals.
When I allow myself to realize that I’m just clay on the Potter’s wheel and that I am being molded, that it is not my responsibility to mold myself, I kill both pride and despair. To relax, to obey … but not to anticipate commands or situations or conversations or moments or challenges, but just to be the pot on the wheel, and maybe I’m just a lump of clay right now and I need a good many more spins before I look remotely like a vase, but if I try to skip right to the vase without going through the spins, I’ll be a bad vase, and patience with myself will bring fruit, so just … be where I am, do what I’m told and rest.
I’m not the Potter, it’s not my responsibility to decide what I become, it’s my responsibility to cooperate. I need to spend more time appreciating His creation (including myself, as creation) and less time spending time worrying about my imperfections and being excited because “I’m over all that now”.
I am what I am, I didn’t make myself. As long as I’m getting on with what I’m supposed to do – I don’t need to spend much time looking at myself at all. To look up, to look out, to see what is before me… this will cure my ills far more effectively than any striving of my own ever could.