We spread out two nights’ worth of backpacking, covering the entire lower level of our home with sleeping bags, Therma-Rest pads, two tents, freeze-dried dinners, rain gear, S’mores ingredients, fishing lures, flashlights . . . did we forget anything? We roll, fold, stuff, tie, pack, and squeeze the air out. Somehow, we confine our shelter, food, clothing and every need into five packs, compact and tight.
Our backpacking preparation always culminates with the same ritual: we weigh each pack. (Hear the drum roll.) Tense and unmoving, we watch the scale until its numbers settle. Then comes a trumpet accolade and the announcements:
Charles: 51 pounds!
Monica: 28 pounds!
Derek: 15 pounds!
Titus: 10 pounds!
Byron: 3 pounds!
The packs weigh more than they did the last trip, and our faces beam.
At the trailhead I shoulder my load, taking pride in every pound. Why do I keep track of how much I carry? Why am I proud of the weight on my back?
It is my own weight, mine, and I carry it alone. See? I can carry it! My strong legs take the trail and its thousand-foot elevation gain. I can do it. I need no rest.
It is an illusion, and I fall for it again: self-sufficiency. Anxiety hovers close by, ready to swoop down on me. I am now a clear and easy target, having marked myself with pride.
But the deadly talons never reach me. God’s Word has come between.
So, humble yourselves under God’s strong hand, and in his own good time he will lift you up. You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.
– 1 Peter 5:6-7 (Phillips)
Father, I don’t want to hoard my worries from You. Protect me from thinking that I operate on my own strength. I recognize that without You I can do nothing. Teach me (again) humility, which is an anti-worry shield. Show me how to shed pride and transfer the weight from my shoulders to Yours. I want to labor for You, but only by taking the yoke of Jesus. With this yoke upon me, may I learn from You and find rest.
When we humble ourselves each morning by casting all our cares on the Lord, we will start the day free of care. The humble are genuinely care free.
I’ve discovered how true that is about myself and my soul. Where there’s worry, where there’s anxiousness, pride is at the root of it. When I am experiencing anxiety, the root issue is that I’m trying to be self-sufficient. I’m acting independent of God.
– C.J. Mahaney, in Humility: True Greatness
(We just went backpacking, so I’m remembering this (originally posted 9/17/2009).)
(Linking with Ann Voskamp, who hosts on Wednesday a community of those who share about Humility. Click on the Holy Experience badge below to read more posts on Humility)