unhindered

Keep Me Humble by Michael Nichols

Lately, I have a hard time waking up with my alarm. I ended up skipping my thyroid medication, making less-tasty coffee, and forgetting things on my way out the door--all of this simply to make it to work on time. It kills me that I do this to myself. I mean, this is insignificant stuff! Well, maybe except the meds part.

It's the little things that get under my skin when I'm dealing with myself. I tend not to sweat the bigger stuff because I tend to think I can handle it. "Think." I am mistaken. Little stuff piles up easily and becomes a big ordeal if left unchecked, ignored. In arrogance and ignorance, it's easy for me to say, "It's nothing. I can deal with it later." This, however, is not the case, and learning this fact can be humiliating to oneself.

In times like that, have you ever been guilty of using the statement, "I guess God is just keeping me humble"? Maybe it's not those words exactly, but do you know the attitude? Something happens in your life that doesn't go the way you planned it (meticulously or casually), and you become upset. That's not wrong, right? I'm sure most people mean well when they say that.

But really, isn't it generally with a hint of disdain? "God, why did you let this or that happen?" as though we know better than He. Isn't this an indication of hurt pride rather than humility? We reap the consequences of our actions.

It's supposedly a great "Christian" thing to pray for humility, right? In a sense, that acknowledges that, yes, I have pride, but it also presents us with a problem. What is it we think we have to be proud of?

We seek reasons to stand alone, be independent, and often times we do this in arrogance, without even realizing it. Do we not daily need the Lord? Is it not better to every moment pray that He be glorified, and pray this in honesty, rather than fall and be hurt along with our ego? God will take care of you! You don't have to go through life by your own strength. Though we must be responsible for ourselves, the Lord is our strength to be responsible.

It can be humiliating to fail, a crippling to the Achilles heel of our pride. It can even make a person hate himself. But that isn't what God wants for us. True humility is found somewhere between our arrogance and self-deprecation. Not everything is rosy, but not everything is bleak, either. You may live well one day yet be a complete mess the next. No, you are not bipolar, nor are you a failure. You are human. If God is who He says He is, He will do His part. Whether or not we humble ourselves and surrender to that, and follow Him, is completely up to us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgJGyFR759Q

Update: Pause by Michael Nichols

As you guys know, I've been testing the waters with regular posts, specifically "Entering Rest" and "Renewed Life" which sort of go hand-in-hand with each other. It's been fun, and it's also been brief, but I'm going to put those two on [see title of this post] for a bit. The only reason is that it's difficult and frankly droll to write about basically the same thing week after week after week.

So what's going to happen is you'll see these titles [or rather not see them] disappear from the routine, but you'll still be able to access them from the "Categories" hierarchy widget on this site's right sidebar. This way, if you enjoyed them, you can revisit them.

As a result, this change will also allow me to devote more time and thought and genuineness into the "Unhindered" series. It's not that these regular articles haven't been genuine or thought-through, but the way that life ebbs and flows-- well, it's the furthest thing from rigid, and it can't really be put into a box. Sometimes to rest, you need to just rest, and sometimes to renew your life, you just have to renew it. You just have to choose, and that is a constant. Anything is a variable, subject to change, not the foundation for life.

Thanks, as always, for reading. God bless, and I'll see you soon. Happy writing. :)

-- Michael N.

Beyond the Logic of Sin and Insecurity by Michael Nichols

The movement of the Holy Spirit is a funny thing. He's not just our heart rate during worship, nor is He just the force behind an armada of supernatural events, nor is He simply your conscience when your own sense of reasoning fails, nor is He just the lifeline that God throws to us when we're drowning in the world's system. He is all of these things and more. What I'm about to explain is what happens when we don't latch onto Him when He moves.

Like anyone, whether it's in my own mind, radiating through my fingertips, or lashing out through my tongue, I have, and, as certainly as the night will come, will deal with sin. Will every thought be corrupt? No. Will every thought be pure? No. Thankfully, I have a Heavenly Father who trains me daily in the way I should go despite me, and who reprimands me clearly yet lovingly when I need it.

I've said so before, but I'll say it again: I micromanage myself sometimes, especially with spirituality and sin. I'm hypersensitive and hypercritical of what I do and how I feel and what I think and believe, often times to my detriment. That having been said, it's easy to justify the sin, the distance, the lack of direction, the lack of passion -- really, without wanting to admit it, the lack of Him, in an attempt to quell hypersensitivity with insensitivity.

The fact about me -- really all of us -- is that I desperately, utterly need Him, but I don't always run to Him. I tend to make excuses, to justify what I sometimes do so that I won't feel as guilty, but the cover up that we impose upon ourselves is worse than whatever sins and insecurities we hide. We only start to make excuses when we run out of reasons, to rationalize when we've done the irrational, to justify that which is unjust, to fabricate false answers for the ones we refuse to humble ourselves to seek out... and after all of those simulations of salvation fall to pieces, we are left to either accept the truth or scream in its face.

When you get past the reasons, the justifications, the excuses, and finally dismantle a sin, and you can finally see it for what it is, something will happen. You'll ask yourself, "Why do I do these things?" to which you will quickly reply, "I don't really know." But since when was the purpose of sin to be understood? Sin exists for one reason: to kill you secretively. When all of the other "reasons" we ascribe to it fall away, it's okay to say, "I don't know," because that's the moment you realize you've fallen and need help to rise to your feet again.

Don't panic. You can rise to your feet again. To do that, we must latch on to God's hand. Sin's purpose may be to kill you, but your purpose is to kill sin, and the victory is already won. We often define our chances in life as the sum of our sins and insecurities, but these things are small, and they collapse eventually -- the Lord doesn't. Don't tell God how big your chances are; tell your chances how big your God is.

"For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." -- Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:9-10 NIV)

Update: The Regular and the Random by Michael Nichols

Over the past couple of weeks, I've published a few issues of "Entering Rest" and "Renewed Life" as a part of a refreshed, more regular version of this site. It's been an interesting experience, stretching the limits of my mind. Just having my feet in the water has been a needed and welcome part of becoming a better writer/thinker/person.

That having been said, I've put my normal posts on hold while I get used to this new found routine. I've been drafting like mad, but just haven't been publishing them. The simple reason is that I'm not sure how that fits into this new regularity -- whether I should give my other articles the same treatment or just let them flow as they form, like I've always done.

So, here's what I'm going to do about that. Almost like a "season" for a TV show, I'm going to post 10-11 articles, cap it off with an issue of "Change and Constancy," then break for a few weeks and start again. That way, you get the regularity without the rigidity. I plan to resume with the first issue of "Unhindered" next week.

Boom. There you have it. Thanks for reading, guys. I'll see you soon. :)