Tuesday, March 31, 2009

30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.

From Jocelyn in Baltimore:

The more I think about this maxim, the more I realize that defining myself based on people is, for me, a matter of spending all day long comparing myself to others. I'm better than so-and-so, more talented than so-and-so, less patient than so-and-so, more well off than so-and-so... and on and on the list it goes. Comparing myself to people can inflate my head when my judgments make me overconfident and prideful, and also devastate my ego when I judge myself lesser or disadvantaged.

But the key, truly, is pride. I'm prideful in myself if I spend my time comparing myself to others; I have a pride that I will somehow measure up.

No one can measure up to God, however, which is why it's not as satisfying to the ego to define yourself by God. But if you surround and bind yourself by God, you are free from the roller coaster of that pride will give you. You will be free to know who you truly are, as well. It may be ugly and painful, but true knowledge of yourself, rather than using others as a measuring stick, will ultimately create in you a more attractive personal beauty than anything.

No comments:

The Forty Maxims

  • 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  • 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
  • 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
  • 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
  • 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  • 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  • 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  • 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  • 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
  • 10. Be faithful in little things.
  • 11. Do your work, then forget it.
  • 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  • 13. Face reality.
  • 14. Be grateful.
  • 15. Be cheerful.
  • 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  • 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • 18. Listen when people talk to you.
  • 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
  • 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  • 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  • 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
  • 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
  • 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  • 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  • 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  • 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  • 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  • 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  • 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  • 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  • 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  • 33. Be strict with yourself.
  • 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  • 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
  • 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  • 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  • 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  • 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  • 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.