Remember Hermey the Elf, from the Rank & Bass stop-motion classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?
He’s a misfit who doesn’t want to make toys. He wants to be a dentist. He also declares to Rudolph that he wants to be independent.
One recent week in my life – I was told by separate people that are important to me – the same message in so many words: “You’re an arrogant, narcissistic fixer who operates out of his head and not from his heart.”
If I heard it from one person — or maybe two — I would have probably been fine. I would have brushed it off, talked myself into how much I’ve changed, and how they were projecting onto me.
But it was three. A Biblical number. God was speaking.
I could have still taken it in stride. Actually, it devastated me.
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)
I spent three days feeling so low, it took me back to my teenage years where I felt isolation, abandonment and pure angst. I cried a lot those three days. Why did that happen?
Those triggering circumstances, however painful, were a true gift from God.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty He knows from afar. (Psalm 138:6)
Early in the next week, I heard a message from Tony Evans, host of the Urban Alternative — a man I really respect. He was speaking about idolatry — defining it as anything — any noun — we put beside God or in front of Him. You can always tell your god by what you put first. It becomes an object of worship.
It clicked — I was grieving. Grieving the arrogant, narcissistic fixer who operates out of his head and not from his heart. My idol.
That arrogant, narcissistic fixer served me well most of my life. Or so I thought.
Evans says, “You can humble yourself voluntarily, or you can be humbled mandatorily.”
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt 23:12)
To be humble means to go low. To discover that I am not all I thought I was.
Realizing that breaks me down, and sometimes I have to be broken down to my knees.
I can do it — or God can do it.
We all wrestle with the idol of Independence. I don’t want God telling me what to do.
God will make you desperate, so that you discover He’s the only one.
It’s just a matter of time.
By Tim White
Tim completed his initial weekend in 2013. He has staffed many weekends and leads L.I.F.E. Recovery for men at Willow Creek Crystal Lake. With an M.Div from Bethel Seminary, he’s a former senior pastor and now pastoral coach. Tim fulfills his mission by guiding men to greater connection through vulnerable transparency. TimWhiteCoaching.com