Throwback Thursday Reruns — A Time To Pray

It’s Thursday and I’m ready for a Throwback Thursday Rerun. I have been thinking about this post lately because I’ve been thinking about praying the Litany of Humility again. Ugh! I kind of tremble when I think about doing it knowing what it can bring…but part of me thinks I’ve hit a point in my life where I need it again. Lord Have Mercy.

I hope you enjoy the rerun of this post from Feburary 2011.

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I have had a rough 24 hours.

Have you ever heard of this prayer? Litany of Humility

A little over a year ago, I was introduced to this prayer. I prayed it fairly frequently for about six weeks. What happened was a sequence of events in which I was humbled. When the events happened, I didn’t really think of the fact that I’d prayed to become more humble. But as time wore on, I realized that I had been humbled by the events and I had even grown in my faith through this humility.

I haven’t prayed the prayer really frequently since then. I have thought about it and there is this nagging feeling that perhaps I should…but there is a human fear of doing it. Because, quite frankly, being humble is difficult. Praying for humility seems masochistic. I know that the Lord heard my prayer because He gave me a six month span of time in which I was humbled by my circumstances…and when I remembered that I had actually asked for it, it really put a block somewhere in my head and my heart about praying for humility again.

Humility is a virtue that is so difficult to grow in. Our society tells us that being humble is bad. We must “toot our horn” and make sure everyone acknowledges our gifts and talents. We expect affirmation at every turn. And those who don’t notice how wonderful and how giving and how talented we are somehow fall into this category of adversary.

I have seen this in a couple of different scenarios. While I think families are there for support, acknowledgement, affirmation and such…sometimes (and to the detriment at times) there is so much support and acknowledgement and affirmation that one might grow up in their family never hearing they have done something wrong. Parents don’t want to discipline or for whatever reason they don’t discipline and the children grow to expect that discipline is never necessary for their behavior. Parents step in and berate teachers for a child’s poor marks in school instead of searching deeper and perhaps discovering an underlying problem for their child with material. Parents may complete their childrens’ homework or check it long after such action is necessary in order to avoid their child ever experiencing a poor grade. To avoid a humbling experience, accountability and responsibility are thrown by the wayside.

Photo Found Here

Another place I have seen this is within my workplace. It’s difficult to work for people sometimes. I have found that perhaps I need to spend some time praying the Litany of Humility because lately, I have struggled with my management. Perhaps I need to pray and really meditate on,

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That in the opinion of the world,
others may increase, and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


This is a powerful prayer. I remember when I spent time praying it for about six weeks. I literally CRINGED every time I prayed this part. My heart was crying, “NO!!! I want to be LOVED! I want to be ESTEEMED! I do NOT like to be SET ASIDE!!” And those cries were the little bits and pieces of my soul that cling to the world being chipped away so that I could be ready for the events that followed in the next six months.

So, yes, my friends. I have had a rough go of it the past 24 hours.

I have found out that I acted unkindly and hurt a friend.

I have been on the end of the phone shaking and my heart pounding, feeling helpless, while I listened to my sister suffer through anxiety attacks.

I have had a difficult conversation with a couple of people at work that have opened my eyes to my current reality and given me a certain focus for my future actions.

I have forgotten valentines for my sweet baby girl Helen’s class St. Valentine’s party.

I have lain awake in bed for two hours when I desperately needed to sleep contemplating many of these things.

And then…it hit me this afternoon square between the eyes. Prayer. That Litany of Humility Prayer. While it was painful to pray it prepared me for the events coming my way. and I’ve been feeling a building lately that more events are on their way and I must be prepared.

I must pray.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
deliver me, Jesus. (use this response after each line below)
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,

From the fear of being humiliated,
deliver me, Jesus. (use this response after each line below)
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (use this response after each line below)
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That in the opinion of the world,
others may increase, and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should.
Amen

All of the virtues are the key to living like Christ. However, the virtue of Humility speaks to me at times so much more than the rest. How humble Christ was to live and walk on Earth as a human. How humble Christ was to suffer and die…to be spat upon, ridiculed, beaten and crucified…for you and for me. For all of us.

Please Lord, grant me the perseverance to pray the Litany of Humility with all of my heart and to prepare to humble myself before You and before my fellow man.

Pride Goeth Before A Fall

PRIDE. I think it’s my nature. It’s a sin I struggle with over and over again. Whenever I prepare for confession, I mentally list out my sins and I try to get to the root of them to confess the proper sin. Because sometimes, the fact that I argued with my spouse is not really the problem…it is the WAY in which I argued and the fact that I was so convinced my way was the best way that I spoke to him as though I were all-knowledgeable and he were a dunce.  And the very root of that attitude is the fact that I took pride in myself and didn’t look to God for the solution.  That’s just an example.

But recently, I’ve had a great big slice of humble pie served up with a (literally) bitter pill to swallow.

I had my annual well-woman exam this week at the doctor.  Yeah.  That one.  Ugh, right?  But honestly, that “ugh” part is over and done with easy enough and then the discussions start.  I don’t think I’m unlike too many people who kind of make note of things to discuss with the doctor as that annual checkup approaches.  I had made some mental notes of some physical things I have been experiencing.  And really only physical things because, you know, I have it all together up there in my brain.  

So, as I discussed a few of the concerns I had with my doctor, the conversation took a turn I did not expect.  He had me talking and I was explaining a little bit about the lack of “quiet” time I have.  I think I was telling him how I understood that just seems to be part and parcel for the life of a Mom who works full-time outside the home and has 5 active kids and a husband who is in the same boat.  I also lamented the lack of couple time my  husband and I have and the impact that seemed to be having on our relationship.  Nothing negative at its core, but I think I characterized it as a “minor annoyance” or something that I know will pass because the day WILL come when the kids will be grown and we’ll have our couple time then.

As we were talking, the doctor opened up his drawer of handouts and pulled out a questionnaire.  I don’t know if I was supposed to see the folder with the label “Anxiety” on it, but my brain made a note to kick that file drawer shut and not worry about whatever the folder said and listen to the doctor.  He simply asked that I read through, answer the questions, and he’d score it later.

After I got dressed and ready to leave, I approached the questionnaire and inside, took a deep breath and told myself, “Be honest.  If he wanted you to take this, he’s just trying to get another picture of what’s going on with you.  He can’t help you if you don’t answer honestly.”

I would be lying if I wrote to you that I remember what the questions were.  I remember that there was one where I rated the frequency and the level of discomfort from numbness or tingling in the past few months.  And there was at least one (maybe three) questions that asked me to rate my level of fear regarding things outside of my control.  But there was a whole page and at each question I repeated to myself that I needed to be honest.

I turned it over to the nurse and headed out figuring nothing would come of it.  The next day, I received a call from the nurse that the doctor thinks I am suffering from mild to moderate stress anxiety and recommended stress counseling or medication.  

In the 24 hours I chose to take in order to absorb this information and think it over and make a decision, my emotions fluctuated.  I remembered how I felt when I took a week off from work last month and I wrote this post.  I thought about the comments and e-mails I received about that post and how relieved lots of you told me you were that you were not alone.  I remembered how supportive you all were to give me encouragement that my feelings of inadequacy were not in vain, that I did have a lot going on and you were relieved to learn that I really don’t always have it all together all the time.  And I remembered the crux of why I HAD to tell myself to be honest as I answered the questionnaire:  Because my prideful nature makes me the kind of person who must always look like I have it all together.  

From my vantage point, I don’t have time to lose it.  I don’t.  I have six people depending on me to keep it together at all times.  I have five children who expect me to be strong, with it and happy about it all.  I have a husband who understands my struggles and supports me wholeheartedly, but who also would suffer immensely to see me suffer. 

I went to counseling for about 3 years, religiously, I’ve let that lapse in the last year because, let’s face it, I just don’t have time.  My schedule is crazy.  And you know what?  My pride is sitting there banging my humility on the head with an anvil-type hammer saying, “Don’t you DARE write that and actually PUBLISH it!”

So, I thought about the doctor’s diagnosis and recommendation.  I told Craig about it.  I let my sisters in on it.  I slept on it.  And the next day, I made the call to the doctor’s office and said, “Yes, I’m ready to do meds.”  Of course, I qualified it all over the place that this would be “temporary”.  I told the nurse all about my new job where I went from managing a team of 4 (including me) to managing a team of 17 (including me) and how it’s a high profile gig at my company and I am scared — petrified, if I’m really honest — of failing.  I told her about five kids who are active in many things and I coach two of their volleyball teams and I’m on the school board, and that really…things will calm down a bit in a few weeks maybe a few months, but I don’t think I’ll need this permanently.

Pride is a tough cookie to crack.


I admit, I’m not quite sure why I share this with you all, my readers.  I try to be the person on this blog that I am in real life.  I know it’s this huge risk to put myself out there to the masses because you encounter all kinds on the internet.  But I think it is because of all of the support you gave me a few weeks ago.  I think you want to know about this stuff in my life.  I think you value the opportunity to pray for me.  And Pride be damned, I need to allow myself the opportunity to be prayed for and allow myself to acknowledge that I am not superwoman, or supermom or anything super at all. I rely more on God than I acknowledge and that is okay.  Let’s face it, it’s a miracle at all that we’ve come this far and it will only be through Him that we get through another year, month, week, day…

I haven’t heard back yet what the plan is since it was late Friday when I was in touch with the nurse.  But a feeling of relief has set in because I let her know I was open to this course of action.  Oddly enough, it makes me feel a little bit more in control.  My sisters were encouraging and they helped me realize that truly, this IS probably temporary (from a humble standpoint) because I just need a little help to relax my nerves and make it possible to focus and prioritize.  

I am grateful to have this outlet to write about my experience with all of this.  Even though I haven’t taken anything, yet, I think the medication is already working because I’ve taken a few more deep breaths this weekend and told myself to “relax” and to “focus” and to just take this day one hour at a time and enjoy my children and my husband and my friends.  And in that experience, I have learned that I do need a bit of help doing that because as much as I can tell myself to do it, sometimes, my neurological system doesn’t cooperate.

And maybe, when I’ve calmed down a bit and I’m able to think my actions through before jumping into them, I will get to work on this Pride thing.  I don’t think I’m ready to do that Litany of Humility thing again just yet.  Because I know that praying that has led to even more humble pie coming my way and I just don’t think I can handle another slice for awhile.  

I hope to remember that awareness is half the battle.  

Acknowledging the problem is the first step in solving the problem. 
 

Humility, Revisited

I don’t have a lot to write at this particular time.  But my Tweet feed this morning put humility in perspective for me.  I LOVE it when I find new ways to find meaning in the virtues!
The quote was from my CSLewis twitter feed and here it is:
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
Wow!  When I pray that Litany of Humility, I often get hung up on the fact that I feel like I need to think of myself as dirt or something.  Everyone else is better than me.  But now, it puts a whole new perspective on it.  It’s that I need to think of OTHERS more than I think about myself!
And now, as I read and pray through each line of the Litany, and I look at it more as…”don’t love myself so much, but love others.”  Or, “don’t desire to be esteemed and made to feel worthy…but esteem OTHERS and make OTHERS feel worthy.”
Wow.  I love it.

Have a blessed weekend!

A Time To Pray

I have had a rough 24 hours. 

Have you ever heard of this prayer?  Litany of Humility

A little over a year ago, I was introduced to this prayer.  I prayed it fairly frequently for about six weeks.  What happened was a sequence of events in which I was humbled.  When the events happened, I didn’t really think of the fact that I’d prayed to become more humble.  But as time wore on, I realized that I had been humbled by the events and I had even grown in my faith through this humility.

I haven’t prayed the prayer really frequently since then.  I have thought about it and there is this nagging feeling that perhaps I should…but there is a human fear of doing it.  Because, quite frankly, being humble is difficult.  Praying for humility seems masochistic.  I know that the Lord heard my prayer because He gave me a six month span of time in which I was humbled by my circumstances…and when I remembered that I had actually asked for it, it really put a block somewhere in my head and my heart about praying for humility again. 

Humility is a virtue that is so difficult to grow in.  Our society tells us that being humble is bad.  We must “toot our horn” and make sure everyone acknowledges our gifts and talents.  We expect affirmation at every turn.  And those who don’t notice how wonderful and how giving and how talented we are somehow fall into this category of adversary. 

I have seen this in a couple of different scenarios.  While I think families are there for support, acknowledgement, affirmation and such…sometimes (and to the detriment at times) there is so much support and acknowledgement and affirmation that one might grow up in their family never hearing they have done something wrong.  Parents don’t want to discipline or for whatever reason they don’t discipline and the children grow to expect that discipline is never necessary for their behavior.  Parents step in and berate teachers for a child’s poor marks in school instead of searching deeper and perhaps discovering an underlying problem for their child with material.  Parents may complete their childrens’ homework or check it long after such action is necessary in order to avoid their child ever experiencing a poor grade.  To avoid a humbling experience, accountability and responsibility are thrown by the wayside.

Another place I have seen this is within my workplace.  It’s difficult to work for people sometimes.  I have found that perhaps I need to spend some time praying the Litany of Humility because lately, I have struggled with my management.  Perhaps I need to pray and really meditate on,

That others may be loved more than I
      Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  
That others may be esteemed more than I, 

     Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it 
That in the opinion of the world,
 others may increase, and I may decrease,  
     Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 
That others may be chosen and I set aside,  
     Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.   
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,  
     Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  
That others may be preferred to me in everything,  
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

 
This is a powerful prayer.  I remember when I spent time praying it for about six weeks.  I literally CRINGED every time I prayed this part.  My heart was crying, “NO!!!  I want to be LOVED!  I want to be ESTEEMED!  I do NOT like to be SET ASIDE!!”  And those cries were the little bits and pieces of my soul that cling to the world being chipped away so that I could be ready for the events that followed in the next six months.

So, yes, my friends.  I have had a rough go of it the past 24 hours. 

I have found out that I acted unkindly and hurt a friend. 

I have been on the end of the phone shaking and my heart pounding, feeling helpless, while I listened to my sister suffer through anxiety attacks. 

I have had a difficult conversation with a couple of people at work that have opened my eyes to my current reality and given me a certain focus for my future actions. 

I have forgotten valentines for my sweet baby girl Helen’s class St. Valentine’s party. 

I have lain awake in bed for two hours when I desperately needed to sleep contemplating many of these things. 

And then…it hit me this afternoon square between the eyes.  Prayer.  That Litany of Humility Prayer.  While it was painful to pray it prepared me for the events coming my way.  and I’ve been feeling a building lately that more events are on their way and I must be prepared.

I must pray.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, 
deliver me, Jesus.  (use this response after each line below)
From the desire of being loved, 
From the desire of being extolled, 
From the desire of being honored, 
From the desire of being praised, 
From the desire of being preferred to others, 
From the desire of being consulted, 
From the desire of being approved,

From the fear of being humiliated, 
deliver me, Jesus.   (use this response after each line below)
From the fear of being despised, 
From the fear of suffering rebukes, 
From the fear of being calumniated, 
From the fear of being forgotten, 
From the fear of being ridiculed, 
From the fear of being wronged, 
From the fear of being suspected,

That others may be loved more than I, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.   (use this response after each line below)
That others may be esteemed more than I, 
That in the opinion of the world, 
others may increase, and I may decrease, 
That others may be chosen and I set aside, 
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, 
That others may be preferred to me in everything, 
That others may become holier than I, 
provided that I may become as holy as I should.
Amen  

All of the virtues are the key to living like Christ.  However, the virtue of Humility speaks to me at times so much more than the rest.  How humble Christ was to live and walk on Earth as a human.  How humble Christ was to suffer and die…to be spat upon, ridiculed, beaten and crucified…for you and for me.  For all of us. 

Please Lord, grant me the perseverance to pray the Litany of Humility with all of my heart and to prepare to humble myself before You and before my fellow man.