Things That Make You Go, “OUCH!”

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  Proverbs 16:18

So, how’s your day going?  Mine, thanks for asking, started off a little, uh, painful.  :=/

I spent some good time with the Lord this morning in Ephesians 4:1-2 which says, “I… urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, …”  The word “humility” in Scripture always strikes a cord with me as it’s something I pray about often.  Primarily because humility is the antithesis of pride, and pride is something this particular woman likes to make a clean sweep of daily.  As someone I greatly admire once said, “If you can’t think of any sin to confess, confess pride.  It’s at work in ways you don’t even realize!”  So, quite often as I confess the sin of pride. and the many forms it takes in my life, I ask the Lord to “please keep a spirit of humility on me”.  That’s exactly what I did this morning and then I headed off to The Bar.  “The Bar Method,” that is.

Just in case you don’t know what “The Bar” is, it’s the latest exercise phenomenon that is akin to ballet barre class ala Natzi Concentration Camp style.  The claims in the advertisements are that it will reshape your derriere in no time and give you nice, long, lean muscles quickly.  My friend, Meg, had been raving about it so I decided to check it out this morning, in secret, to see if I could handle it.  Then in walked Meg (grin).  So, we donned our special rubber-grip booties and cozied up to The Bar together.

The killer of all exercises began by raising up on “high heel” tip toes (imagine wearing a pair of Manolo Blahnik 6″ spikes), while squatting halfway down with derriere scooped forward, while squeezing a foam cushion between your thighs (I’ll give you a minute to get a visual on that).  We held that pose until our legs began to quiver like a bowl of Jello, then squatted deeper and deeper with little pulses thrown in for kicks.  It went on FOREVER!  At this point I was gripping The Bar like my life depended on it while every muscle in my legs was convulsing madly (I pity the poor gal behind me).  After 57 muscle-shredding minutes it was all over.  Certainly childbirth without drugs must feel something close to that experience.  Anyway, we finished and I felt good… and, yes, satisfied and a little proud that I’d held my own the first time at The Bar.  However I didn’t realize that my muscles were completely traumatized, and while saying goodbye to Meg I  stepped off the curb whereby my legs turned into Jello and gave way as I did a slow-motion fall to the ground.  Meg gasped.  I cried, “Ouch!”  I was basically alright, or so I thought, until I noticed I’d scraped the top of my foot along with my big toe (good thing I have a pedicure lined up for Saturday).  I forced my long, sprawled self up off the parking lot pavement as Meg helped me gather up all my stuff.  “You fell so gracefully,” she said (ever the encourager).  That’s comforting, because 5’10-1/2″ going down sure ain’t pretty.

Driving home I reminded the Lord that I had asked Him for a spirit of humility and not  HUMILIATION.  Then I checked my Air-1 email verse of the day from Proverbs 11:2, “Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” What is up with that?  A teachable moment for sure.

Falling down (literally) can be painful, and yes, a bit humiliating.  And it certainly has a way of reordering our steps as our bruised and scraped body (and ego) recovers.

We can fall in other ways, too.  A spiritual fall can be even more painful, but can also be more effective at razing pride faster that The Bar can lift your derriere.  The answer: Humility.  Peter said, “clothe yourselves” in humility (1 Peter 5:5); Zephaniah implores us to “seek humility” as a vital necessity (Zephaniah 2:3 AMP); Solomon said, “with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:12)- so it’s a “twofer”!  God saves the humble (Psalm 18:27), guides the humble (Psalm 25:9), sustains the humble (Psalm 147:6), crowns the humble with salvation (Psalm 149:4), gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6), esteems, exalts and lifts up the humble (Isaiah 66:2, Luke 14:11, James 4:10).  So it makes good sense to stay low and humble one’s self, does it not?

No matter how you look at it, falling down is hard.

Glad my friend, Meg, was there to help me this morning.  Reminded me of how blessed I am by her friendship and others in my life.  Solomon reminds us that “Two are better than one… If one falls down her friend can help her up” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).  Sometimes we fall down spiritually; we screw up big and we know we’ve let others down or hurt them deeply in the process.  Lots of folks will want to kick us and keep us down.  But it’s at times like this, when we’ve fallen hard, that we need a true friend to help us up again.

When we fall down we don’t have to stay down.  Jesus… steps in with His right hand of friendship to lift us back up again. Our job is to look up, reach out in repentance and take His hand.  He can make ministry out of our messes.

Have you ever been humiliated- suffered a painful but much-needed loss of pride?  Have you fallen in some spiritual or moral way in your life and been helped back up again by a friend?  How did you come back from a painful, humiliating or humbling fall?  Share a comment if you care to, leaving names out of course.  Your story might be the one that helps another reach out in love and friendship.  You know… reaching out in love to help someone who’s been humiliated is one of the most humbling things you can do.

xo – P