Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gratitude vs.Bragitude: Fighting the Spotlight Mentality

Luke 18:11
The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector.

I have to be honest and say that I really feel blessed in my life.  Mostly because I serve a really good God, and partly because I'm learning that the gift of contentment is one that really must be earned with blood, sweat and tears. 

With all that said, this journey toward contentment has allowed me- for the first time, to have the ability to take the focus off of myself.  God has been really challenging me to a growing awareness of the people around me....their joys, their struggles.

They say early adolescents go through a developmental season where they feel that the focus of the universe is on them.  When they walk into a room, the spotlight is on them.  It's as though they are living their life as the star of their own play, and everyone else is in the background- secondary characters. 

Sometimes I think that stage goes beyond middle school.  Sometimes, I think there is a fraction of that little adolescent living inside of us always...battling for the spotlight. 

Lately, I've been really trying to fight that urge inside of me. 

I heard a pastor the other day on national TV say that he is so "Thankful" for his amazing car, beautiful wife, financial prosperity, and incredible ministry.  "God is good", he said. 

Not sure why, but something about that rubbed me the wrong way.  It brought me back to those middle school days of fighting for the spotlight.  Me, me, me....thank you God that my life is amazing, thank you that I'm rich, beautiful, and smart...thank you, that my life is not like HIS...

I'm grateful for what I have...but I'm learning that there is a difference between gratitude, and "bragitude".

One puts the spotlight on me....the other puts the spotlight on Christ. 

This is something I need to work on daily.  To fight the Pharisee urges of glorifying the good in my life for the sake of praise and recognition, and accept the calling to lay those things down before the feet of Jesus....remembering that it is all because of Him. 

I'm learning to have an awareness of those around me, to approach them with grace and with love, taking the spotlight off of me, and willingly putting it where it truly belongs.

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