Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:26
When I was a child I desired the praise of others, particularly my mother. I wanted her to see how smart I was, how fast I was, and how talented I was. My mother would come to my track and field events to watch me run. Many times, I made her sit in the living room to listen to me recite my newest poem, and I enjoyed seeing the excitement on her face. But at thirteen all this attention abruptly stopped.
My aunt and guardian in Canada wasn’t as attentive. She never came to any of my track and field or soccer competitions during high school. She hardly knew that I was part of the announcement club, the anti-racism committee or the geography club. I was a star in high school and no one was watching, at least not the people I wanted to see me. This is what I remember most as I got older, the feeling of rejection, isolation and lack of love. All because I associate my mother’s attention to be what love was, and when I wasn’t getting that devoted parental love from my new family in Canada, I assumed they didn’t love me.
READ MORE: Take the step of faith
Could it be that we are this conceited (or desire vain-glory) because we are trapped in a moment of lack when we were a child? What I mean is, at a time in our lives when we really needed the validation from others and we didn’t get it, we started craving it more and more. And we look for it even in random strangers. I am saying, we are conceited because we lack love. The love and affection that we desperately needed from those loved ones may have provoked us and made us envious of others. It’s a vicious cycle.
Paul says do not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Are you doing those things? Many times we exhibit behaviours that we may not be totally aware of. I encourage us to be mindful of our feelings.
I admit that for a long time I carried that need for attention, for love, and the need to belong everywhere I went. The good thing is that God finds ways to work with us. When I found a church at 14 years old and got baptized at 15, I committed myself to a new family. Even though I didn’t realize that I was throwing my need to belong on them, it was a safe place. But of course, I wasn’t at church every waking moment. When I went off to University I still carried with me those same needs. And when I became an adult, those needs were still tagging along. Until I became aware of them and addressed them…
READ MORE: Let your Father help you
My Advice for 2021 are these:
- BE AWARE: Know yourself, your weaknesses, your strengths. What makes you anxious? What makes you frustrated? What makes you sad?
- GIVE VOICE TO YOUR EMOTIONS: Do not suppress your emotions and ignore your bodily symptoms. Find respectful ways to express your feelings.
- DO NOT HOLD ON TO NEGATIVE EMOTIONS: Do you feel jealous? Envious? Angry? Why? Let them go- write about it, sing about it, share it, just get rid of it and let it not consume you.
- STOP CARRYING AROUND THE PAST: This is such a heavy burden to be walking around with every day. Learn what you need to learn and move on. Forgive who needs to be forgiven, Speak the truth to those who need to hear the truth, and forget about it.
- LOVE BIG: Love really is the answer to everything. You love by giving, by serving, by showing up, by listening. Don’t be afraid to love people, even those who are hard to love. Love compassionately, love prayerfully, love forgivingly, just love the heck out of people- they will change.
By becoming more aware of our own issues and pain, we get to develop compassion for others and are better able to love them. It’s hard to be conceited, provoking and envying to those you love. Love prevents us from exhibiting the acts of the flesh, but we need the Holy Spirit to transform us from the inside.
So for this year 2021, let us choose the gifts of the spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And let us abstain from the acts of the flesh: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. As we journey through our lives do not carry our past pains into our future. Rather, I pray that you will learn from them so that they will transform you to become a servant for God’s purposes. I love you all.
This is the end of this series of Galatians 5. I want to thank you readers for showing up to read my blog each week. I hope that you were richly blessed the way I had been as I showed up every Sunday to gain a new perspective from God. Honestly, it was a joy to show up for God this way. May God’s love envelope you this year and I wish you an extraordinary 2021 journey.