Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Please Don't Feed the Bears

I was standing in the kitchen, Sunday, talking to my husband. I just really wanted him to know how I loved the changes I was seeing in him. I commented on "his growing" that "he's been doing" and he interuppted me. He asked me to word my comments more carefully, saying that he could too easily get a big head. So, I rephrased my encouragement and praised God for the changes He's been making in Gary and for growing him.

Today I was thinking about what he said. I used to feel that he needed my words to make him feel good about himself and I never seemed to succeed. I couldn't feed his ego enough. Now, he's asking that I stop feeding it and put the praise where it belongs. That's humility. (but don't get a big head about it, Gary)

It reminded me of times when he would want to "sing my praises" and I would get uncomfortable and actually irritated. I'd love to say that I was just humble and didn't like receiving praise. But I was really just afraid that I would eat it all up.

These two thoughts came together in a picture.

A national park with a sign posted "Please Don't Feed the Bears."

Why not? Because they will become dangerous!

We all have an ego. It is our self-image. I'm sure that brilliant philosophers could intellectually explain the ego, but I prefer to picture it as a bear.

Bears survive naturally, in their natural habitat. Then people come along and feed them. And it's never enough. They want more. They seek it out. They become extremely dangerous.

The natural habitat of our self-image is Christ. We need to be fed by Him. When we are looking to others we never get enough. We become beastly. Our egos will either become too big, or too small, but in Christ they are just right. Hey, look! There's another bear analogy there...Goldilocks? Did you catch it? Moving on.

Our egos are all just as dangerous. It may seem harmless enough to toss a bear a ding-dong, but I pity the family that camps there next.

Please Don't Feed the Bears
Let God sustain them.