Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Doubts, Pride, Humility and the Talents

I came across this post sitting in my draft folder. I wrote it yonks ago. Hope you find it interesting!

Sometimes I wonder why anyone actually reads my blog. I mean, why would anyone want to? It's just a few occasional random thoughts... and my random thoughts aren't that interesting.

Sometimes I wonder why anyone bothers to pursue a friendship with me. After all, there's really not that much in me that's hugely interesting. And I'm not that great of a friend. I try, but so often fail.

I often doubt my ability to play my violin. I play it because I love it, and not for any other reason. Yet the same old doubts I've battled time and time again still emerge and rear their great ugly heads. Why would anyone want to listen to me? My music isn't that great.

Sometimes I wonder why God made me. I feel like I don't really bring him much joy and delight! My greatest desire is to serve my King and glorify him through my life... yet I'm not too sure of how to go about that.

Doubts, doubts. Doubts, doubts, fear, doubts, anxious worrying about nothing. Doubts. More doubts.

Why do we listen to them? Why do we allow ourselves to be eaten up with doubts about ourselves? (Well, why do I allow myself, anyway. I'm not sure if you have similar doubts!)

Why do I listen to my doubts?

I think the reason is rooted in two things (maybe more too but I'm not a psychologist so please just accept my humble thoughts lol):

#1 Fear of failure / Pride
#2 A longing to be accepted

You see, out of my fear of failure and pride I tell myself I am not a good violinist. I am afraid to fail, on account of my pride, so I prepare myself for the worst. I tell myself I'm no good, so if I do muck up, I'm not disappointed because I already knew I was no good. If I do it well, then that was just a fluke. It's a way of reassuring myself because I'm afraid to look bad in front of anyone.

The other thing is a longing to be accepted. I tell myself I'm no good so if nobody tries to be friends with me, I won't be disappointed. I already knew there was no chance anyone would want to be friends with me. And if anyone is friendly to me, well, they're just being nice.

Some people would say that these doubts I have about myself are nothing. They're just me being humble.

Which is very nice of them to say and all that, but to be perfectly honest, the root of my doubts is not humility but pride. It may not seem like that on the surface, but the root is pride.

I'm so scared of failure and friendlessness that I worry about what others think of me. And that comes from my pride.

It's hard to explain, but I'm going to try.

So let's take, for example, Bill, who is a very outgoing, sure-of-himself chap. He brags about his ability to do anything and everything. He is good at what he does, sure, but he puts himself into people's faces, trying to prove how wonderful he is. He is arrogant, pushy and sometimes even downright rude, in his quest to show the world his talents and skills. He is annoying. He is what people would label: Prideful.

Then, on the other end of the spectrum is Bob. Bob is a likable chap. He's quiet, but friendly. He is very talented, but because he doesn't put his talents out there like Bill does, not many people know of his talents. He's hard working, devoted, diligent and steady. He plugs away at what he does and steadily gets good at everything. He's a great friend, mature and sensible. Many people would call him: Humble.

However, some people might argue that Bill, who uses his talents, is actually using them for God. Sure, he could use some humility about the way he tackles it, so as not to appear brash and rude, but he's at least using his talents.

In the same vein, Bob, who doesn't put his talents 'out there', isn't working for God. Because God has given us gifts and certainly expects us to use them, as is illustrated in the Parable of the Talents.

Matthew 25:14-30
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.  To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.  He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.  But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.  Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’  And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’  He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’  But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.  So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.  For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

And so you see, friends, that there are the talents we have been given. And we can use them pridefully, or we can use them humbly. I'm still trying to work out exactly how that looks. Because my problem is that I'm actually pridefully being humble, if that makes sense, which is actually pride... my goodness this is just getting more complicated!

What do you think? Where is the line? (Are you confused? I am :P)
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  1. I deal with pride by giving it all to God.

    1. Tim that's such a fantastic thing. Thank you for that.


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