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Thursday, July 19, 2007

See the fine lady upon the high horse . . .

(Very quick follow-up to some of the skeptical comments regarding the amount of sugar in our sweet tea . . . I shared these with The Coach and he told me to tell ya'll that if you think that's too much sugar, then you don't really want sweet tea. You want iced tea with some sweet in it; we like ours to be sweet with a little tea . . .)

Four days into my first real teaching position, I did a crazy thing. I asked my students to write me a note with comments and suggestions on how our first week of school was going. I have never gotten over what one of my students wrote to me:

You're doing a great job and all, but I think you need to get down off of your high horse and realize we are high school students and we like to have a little fun . . . (it's been a few years and I can't remember the rest of his critique)

Once I recovered from the sting of a high school junior telling me to get off my high horse, I took some time to reflect on the truth in the message. Not surprisingly, it wasn't the first time I had been told I needed to get off my high horse. When the exact same phrase comes up again and again in relation to how people experience you, Lady Wisdom invites you to pause and reflect.

The truth is, I do struggle with a judgmental spirit. The truth is I have confessed this many times, yet still find myself getting a little too big for my britches. (And I gotta tell ya, size large maternity britches are pretty darn big, so you can just imagine . . .) The truth is I know God is opening my eyes to this same struggle once again by way of Scripture, sermons, and even blog entries like this one from BooMama.

So today I offer a Thursday Thirteen that is mostly a reminder to myself that there are many, many areas of my life that offer a big helping of humility . . . more than enough to keep me away from the "well, at least I don't do that" buffet in my mind.

1. I lack self-control. I am well on my way to gaining even more weight with this pregnancy than I did with D. And it's not because I am just one of those women who gains a lot of weight while pregnant; it's because as soon as the stick shows a positive, I abandon all I know to be true about good nutrition and overindulge with chocolate, cookies, and all manner of fats. I suppose the sweet tea doesn't help either.
2. I lack gratitude. Even though I have declared that I want to be responsible with sending thank you notes for every gift I receive in the next year, I have yet to write a single note of gratitude for any birthday gift I received last month.
3. I am dishonest. Though the Lord has brought about much victory in this area for me, I confess that when a situation comes up that I don't want to deal with, my very first reaction is to make up an excuse to get out of or around it.
4. I am a lawbreaker. There is rarely a time you will find me driving the speed limit on the interstate. It's nearly always just a hair over.
5. I am selfish. I have been known to contrive and manipulate situations to my advantage, even and especially within my own family.
6. I am a bad citizen. I haven't voted in an election since 2000. And I don't return my shopping carts to the parking lot corrals at Big Mart.
7. I don't live up to my own ideals. Though I am a passionate advocate of cloth diapers for the health of our planet and the health of my child, D has been in disposables since a month before we moved because I am just too tired to get her cloth diapers out and use them.
8. I am lazy. I haven't exercised regularly since two weeks after I found out I was pregnant. With D.
9. I am materialistic. I like stuff.
10. I lack focus. I am leading a Bible study this summer that I participated in last fall, and I decided to be frugal cheap and just use the same book this summer. Since all of the answers are already filled in, I feel like I have been phoning it in for the homework part of this Bible study instead of investing in discovering new answers and insights.
11. I am a worrier. I have more faith in my fear than in my God.
12. Have I mentioned I have a judgmental spirit?
13. I haven't had a haircut in six months.

Now, lest you misunderstand, this is not intended to be a "woe is me! I am so flawed, so broken, so unworthy" kind of post. The last thing I want to do is share this in a spirit of self-deprecation cloaked in false humility as a twisted way of boosting my self-esteem. Nor would I want in any way to dishonor the vast amounts of work God has done in this heart of mine. (In fact, maybe next week I will share thirteen victories that all give glory to God.) Nope, this is just a note to self. Having grown up in Oklahoma, I know there are two ways down from any horse - the hard way and the easy way. The easy way allows you to keep most of your dignity intact, not to mention keeping your clothes clean. The hard way hurts and usually involves a splash in a puddle of mud. As much as it has rained here this summer, the mud puddles are fresh and plentiful around here, so me and my too-tight riding britches are getting down from this high horse of my own volition. Besides, I think I heard someone ringing the dinner bell over at the chuck wagon. Wonder if they have any sweet tea . . .