I looked at him, shook my head, and said, “I know. I get it. Me too.”
Foster swaggered when he walked with a confidence he could back up with strength and attitude. Only when he overplayed his dominance with another dog who was tired of his nonsense did he experience his comeuppance. That dog kicked his little dingo butt. Though he got a scrape or two, his pride was undone. He simply couldn’t believe he was beatable.
I know. I get it. Me too.
Most dogs play on an equal plane, many assessing those around them before engaging. The less confident may crawl, expose their bellies, and submit first, showing their willingness to get along at all costs.
Then, there’s Foster.
Then, there’s me.
It’s possible to have an overblown sense of ego as much as there is undervaluing ourselves. Too much self-esteem? Yes! Too little? Same.
Sometimes our sense of who we are, what we can do, how others see us, and our skills leap off the edge of the deck and land in harsh truth. In a culture that treats truth like a commodity to be amended, revamped, and resold, we tend to think that how we feel is truth.
But only Truth is Truth.
Jesus calls us. He tells us our condition. We are created in the very image of God. We are valued more than anything else on the planet. We are worth dying for, despite that other component of terrible reality – we kind of suck. We constantly make choices that land us in peril, even when it may take us years to realize it. Whether it is outright theft or coveting another person’s anything or hating someone with the heat of a thousand suns, we mess up. Even if we value ourselves as God sees us, we often value others much less.
“Consider others more highly than yourselves.” Jesus said that. My response tends to be, “But Jesus, have you MET the others? They are really annoying. Why would I consider them BETTER than me? Look at me – I’ve got it together and I am kind and practically sin-free, really.”
The Terrible Inconvenience of Reality is that….it’s an equal playing field. The whole “the ground at the foot of the cross is level” thing is for real.
Walking in our identity in Christ means a proper assessment of ourselves – we mustn’t undervalue the awesome creation of whose we are and we mustn’t base our confidence on anything other than His Love for us.
It’s not so easy as repeating over and over, “Yes, Jesus loves me.” I mean, that’s good and I’m all for it and if it works for you, please do it. But for most of us, we can’t simply read a truth and instantly change our behavior or thought processes. Sometimes it takes a bending of the knee, a humble, helpless prayer, and more than a few tears.
The good news is God works really well with helplessness. Yes, that state we all resist with dug in fingernails is exactly where God makes some of his amazing changes in us that we can’t do ourselves.
Remember not to cower through life. There is plenty of scary stuff in our world, but it’s not what controls the world. Remember not to boast through life. Sure, you’re great and I’m great (probably even greater haha) but there are the fragile among us on whom we ought not trample, and it's entirely possible that we aren't as fantastic as we think we are (?!).
Sauntering with the confidence of love is allowed. Remember whose you are. That Reality may be inconvenient when compared with our own attitudes, but walking in truth is the way to true freedom. And that is worth having.