When you think you’re better

When-a-man-is-getting-better_C.S.Lewis

You don’t see it in yourself first. You see it in somebody else. You hear them complaining, and you think how trivial it sounds. You’d never do that. Can’t people be appreciative? So spoiled these days.

But then something happens to you. And you find yourself doing the same thing. Complaining—maybe even about the annoying people who are complaining so much.

And you see you are no different.

No better.

We’re all more alike than we are different.

I found out (again) Wednesday. I pride myself on being organized, on time. So when I arrived at Buena Vista a few minutes before 11:00, I felt satisfied.

I sat near the door to wait for the others. Three minutes passed. Now ten. And no one showed up.

Then it hit me—I could be wrong. Maybe we were meeting at Casa Blanca instead. I pulled up the email. I had the right restaurant. But I had the wrong day. Lunch plans were for Thursday.

I smiled at the hostess and explained I’d see her again tomorrow.

We all get it right sometimes and wrong sometimes. We all have good attitudes and bad ones, victories and defeats. We take steps forward; we take steps back.

There is only One always right. Always superior. Always better.

Thinking we are better than others only makes us worse.
Knowing Jesus is better brings out the best in all. 

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”
Psalm 118:8

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42 thoughts on “When you think you’re better

  1. Kelly Chripczuk

    For me, knowing that I’m not better or worse allows me to truly be WITH others, which is such a heartfelt need – we find such community at the foot of the cross. And I’ve SO been the one on-time a day (or week) too early.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Excellent point, Kelly. Being side by side with others is how love is best transmitted, not in a one-up or one-down position. We’re all in this together.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Sometimes I learn the most by what sets me off the most. Critical of the criticizers; intolerant of the judgmental; etc. I’m guilty too, Floyd. Thankful for our God of grace.

  2. blankLinda@Creekside

    mmm … YES! The things that most bug us about other people are often our own sins / foibles / faults / idiosyncracies staring us straight in the face.

    looking in our own mirror can be a rather painful experience.

    as ever, thanks, Lisa. your insights always make my day. i hope your week soars high, my friend!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      That mirror is a great tool, yes? But a painful one at times. I’m thankful God sees his Son’s reflection when he looks in our mirrors! That’s who I want to see more of too.

      Praying you have a blessed week too, Linda.

  3. blankJoe Pote

    “We’re all more alike than we are different.”

    So true! My wife and I are so very different in so many ways. Which makes it all the more frustrating when I’m forced to recognize that the areas in which she is most likely to annoy me are the areas in which we are most alike.

    Go figure! 😉

    So thankful for God’s amazing grace seeping into every aspect of life! 🙂

    Thank you, Lisa!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I hear you, Joe. I found myself getting annoyed over the weekend by something Jeff was saying–but it was something that *I* was just as likely to say to him. Ouch. Yes, I need that grace to cover all aspects of my life too!

  4. blankLynn Severance

    Lisa – such a great posting in which I see myself all too clearly!

    Interesting that I read your thoughts after I had prayed through my prayer list and found that with almost every name I was asking forgiveness for the times I find myself “judging” or being “envious” of the ones I call friends. I hate it when that happens ( outside of my being convicted this morning going through my prayer time ).

    It only provides me mental anguish when it pops up – try to pray for them instead when it happens – but it still happens and it is so frustrating!

    Although I wish it did not – what you have shared helps me to recognize that it is one way God keeps me humbled and knowing it is His love with which I love – not via any high “power” of my own.

    xo Lynn

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate your honesty, Lynn. I think all of us could agree with what you’re sharing, if we can only have your maturity to recognize that we need forgiveness. I’m so glad that God washes us clean of the guilt that we feel when we understand that we’ve been judgmental. It’s a hard sin to escape, but I definitely want to leave it in the dust. Thank you, sweet friend!

  5. blankJoanne Viola

    I often find when I am reminded of my humanness through an experience like this, it is so I will be more gracious to others, more willing to extend grace. Knowing how far I have yet to grow totally changes my perspective. Great application through a real life story!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I agree, Joanne. God definitely can use our times of blunders and weaknesses to grow compassion in us, as long as we’re willing to see our frailties and let him take over. I pray for greater vision…. Thanks for stopping in.

  6. blankbluecottonmemory

    This weekend – I had dates and times wrong on 90% of everything;) God has really worked with me on thinking I have it all together – and the pendulum has so swung the other way, I need a little more confidence. When I keep focused on Him, I’m in balance – when I take my focus off Him, right now I feel so not able!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      You hit the nail on the head–it’s all about focusing on God. It sounds so simple you’d think I’d have mastered it by now. But not yet.

      Hoping you have a good string ahead of getting dates and times right! 🙂

  7. blankDana Butler

    Yes… it’s the difference between humility and pride, isn’t it? Oh, to receive from others and extend grace for their shortcomings, even as I receive grace from Him for my own… Blessings to you, friend. Stopping by from Kelli’s place today.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Exactly, and round and round we go. God gives us grace; we extend it to others; he gives us more; and on and on! A beautiful cycle as long as we can keep pride from jamming it up.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      That quote really speaks to me every time I read it. I’m thankful that even as we recognize our evil more, we also get a greater understanding of the grace that covers it.

      I hope you’ll blog about your Florida trip too!

  8. blankJean Wise

    Great and funny example. and yes, I sure do find out when i complain about someone I soon find myself doing the same thing. OUCH! Truth slaps me in the face again. thanks for the fun reminder…

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      It was indeed a humbling experience. ha. I thought about just keeping it to myself (no one would know if I didn’t tell it!), but I did confess the next day that I had showed up the day before. If we can’t laugh at our mistakes, we’re in worse shape than we realize. 🙂

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      It is a humbling thought to realize how alike we are, but it’s also a great reminder to let go of the comparisons altogether. Thankfully God doesn’t compare us!

  9. blankSharon

    Ouch, yes, been there. I have found that I’m terribly *hard* on the Israelites, until I see the same attitudes in my own heart. We are all the same. I want to have the right attitude of humility – I want to be able to see my shortcomings accurately, neither bigger nor less than they truly are. And then, I want God to work…

    GOD BLESS!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Very well stated, Sharon. I want all those things too! And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve considered myself better than those wicked Israelites who were always turning away from God. But oh how dangerous and wrong that thinking is! I probably would have turned and run away even quicker than they did.

  10. blankBeth

    This reminds me of an analogy I once heard about how we humans stand around comparing how high we can each jump. I, perhaps, an inch or two higher than you. But the goal is the moon. So who am I, really, to brag? None can reach the standard of Jesus. Thankful, then, for grace. Thank you for linking with Unforced Rhythms.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I love that analogy, Beth. I think I read it somewhere too (maybe a Max Lucado book?). Even between the richest and the poorest among us, we’re still not that different. We all need grace equally!

  11. blankDolly@Soulstops

    Lisa,
    You were definitely early, better than late 🙂 The C.S. Lewis quote is so true….the more I realize how far I fall from God’s holiness, it keeps me thankful for His grace and reminds me that there is only one just judge, God…definitely not me…blessings to you 🙂

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      True, better a day early than a day late. I haven’t thought of it that way, Dolly. 🙂 I’m thankful God is in charge of grace and justice too–with one of us in charge, things would go crazy fast! ha.

  12. blankNatalie

    Oh the compassionate pain of a moment such as this – compassionate in that I so desperately need reminders and in that it reminds me to extend grace. Thanks for sharing this today, Lisa. I need to hear things like this, especially about time!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      It was good that it happened to me because I need those reminders too about time. We all need to receive grace and give grace–that’s part of our human experience that God blesses us with. Thanks for stopping by, Natalie.

  13. blankLisa Smith

    “We are all more alike than we are different.”

    I needed this stark reminder today. To slow down. To smile more. To choose love that is patient and kind. To aim for acceptance when understanding doesn’t seem possible.

    Lord, let me love your people. Amen

  14. blankSherrey Meyer

    Well, Lisa, I think perhaps I should have bitten my tongue and heart a few more times than thought! “We are more alike than we are different.” What a reminder that we need to look at ourselves with a good measure more authenticity when we are looking and seeing fault in someone else. Thanks for this beautiful reminder!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Well, they do say we’re most annoyed in others because of the same things in ourselves. I don’t know if that’s always true, but often it is. I have bitten my tongue a lot lately but need to bite it still more often. 😉

  15. blankBeverley

    We all get it wrong sometimes… and we do, no doubt about it! But there are others i wish i could say ‘don’t say that – don’t act/react like that – don’t be like that – just don’t’ – yesterday i sat in a car with some people from church when one of the men turned to his wife and said if you do that again i am going to get out of this car and punch you – no there are some things that are not acceptable no matter who we are, i am just grateful that someone else stepped in before i did.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I’m glad someone stepped in too. There are clearly some things that are right and wrong for everybody. And a man punching his wife is wrong. Regardless of who we are or where we live, we know that intuitively. Sorry you had to be witness to the man’s threat to his wife.

  16. blankLisaNotes Post author

    Some reminders are painful, but profitable. Reminding myself often that I’m no better (or no worse!) than anybody else is just something I have to do. Thanks for stopping by, Lynn.

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