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My Desire Of Being Honored…
As my son stood above me yelling at me and trying to get his point across. I could feel my blood start to boil.
I stood up, raised my voice, and proceeded to walk quickly to my bedroom in tears.
All the while letting my knee-jerk reaction to being talked to this way influence and guide my unhealthy self-talk for the next several minutes.
How could he treat me that way?
How dare he speak to me, his mother, that way?
Where have I gone wrong?
These were the questions I was asking myself.
I try to be a good mom. No, I am not perfect, but I try my best and I am committed. I try to raise my children to respect others…and I continued to list all of the reasons why my child should never dishonor me.
I concluded that since I was very hurt by his behavior, I would not be speaking to him very much in the next couple of days.
So, with that being decided all on my own, I then turned to God.
Why God? Why should I even have to put up with being disrespected or talked to in that way? You know how hard I try. I don’t deserve that! All I want is for them to honor me – is that too much to expect.
Sidenote: This type of prideful response can be, in my opinion, a learned behavior. I learned how to be offended and take everything as an attack on me at a very early age – more on that in another post
Is this way too much to ask?
As I defended my plan in my mind I continued to rationalize. If I don’t talk to him for a few days, I’m sure he will get the point and see how wrong it is to dishonor a parent. ( I know that doesn’t seem rational now – but, this was my internal dialogue and what I was letting influence my thoughts ).
Just then a prayer I had been praying lately, the litany of humility, came to mind. This is a prayer that I had added to my morning prayers just a couple of months ago.
In this prayer, you are asking to be healed of and freed from the sin of pride. Then for that pride to be replaced by a deep healing humility.
This is all for the purpose that you may actually become a person of deep humility. True humility, so, that you can know who you truly are and grow in the character of Christ.
Well, in that prayer there is one line that came clearly to mind.
“From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, O Jesus.”
Wait a minute…let me say that to myself again…
“From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, O Jesus.”
I immediately realized that this little 10-minute pity party I had just indulged in was all because I didn’t feel honored. And since I obviously had the desire to be honored – this was really hurt pride?!
My sons behavior triggered a reaction I had done for years…
No, it couldn’t be a fault of mine, my son was the one who caused me to feel this way. His action started the ball rolling and I had absolutely no control.
This of course is a lie or mistruth that we can easily use as an excuse for our own behavior or response. We can react differently when we realize the root cause of our actions. Then we can take them to prayer and ask God to work with us in overcoming them.
The point of this whole argument is that God wants the happiness of all, but that selfishness and pride can make that impossible. We must work with him in humility…
Pride simply causes us to be unhappy. To live in the shadow of disappointment and hurt feelings. And at that moment I was very unhappy. There was no joy in Joy.
I was letting my son’s dishonor and disrespect of me steal my joy at that moment. He too has learning and growing to do. His behavior is was not acceptable or appropriate and is something he needs to learn to correct.
But this interaction held a profound lesson for me as well…
My injured pride led the way on the path of negative and manipulative thinking. Which then influenced my mood and thoughts in a way that was not good, true, or beautiful.
Praying For Humility
If I am praying the Litany of Humility, so that I may become humble, then I have to strive and do my part to rid myself of pride. I have to be delivered from my desire of being honored, loved, esteemed, extolled, or being praised.
These things are not bad in themselves, everyone likes to be honored, loved, and praised. What is dangerous is when we search for these affirmations in others. These become our sole reason and source of our very being and happiness.
When we do this, expecting all of these affirmations from the people we encounter, and not to Him (God) for our reassurance that we are loved, good and precious, we end up disappointed, hurt and even angry at those people who cannot give what we deeply need.
This is exactly where I was. Feeling betrayed and dishonored by my son who stood over me and would even dare to raise his voice at me – his mother!
I Should’ve Expected It..
Most Christians know that when you start to pray to grow in some area or virtue, you will be given plenty of circumstances and opportunities in which you can grow in that very virtue or habit.
This, I realized, is what this whole experience was. My son standing over me and yelling at me was a chance for me to learn about myself & grow.
Not that what he did was okay or right, absolutely not. And he knows better.
But, this whole episode totally taught me something that I had never even considered before.
This little conflict will, I pray, affect and change my life and how I respond to people forever.
The Devil Uses Our Pride To Influence Us
Finally, I realized something in that awesome moment. My Pride, the exact opposite of humility, was influencing my reaction and behavior.
I was acting out of my desire to be honored by my children. Yes, I believe they should honor their parents. But, if they don’t, the correct response is to correct, guide them, pray for them and move on. I should never take it as a personal attack on myself.
Their dishonoring of me does not make who I am bad, inadequate, unloved, or dishonored. It is not a personal attack on my person, it is just a boy or girl being dishonoring toward their parent.
I also realized that I had done this very thing over and over again. Many, many times I have been talked back to by ten children over the last twenty-nine years.
I can even see how I have let the desire to be honored, esteemed, or praised influence how I reacted when someone clearly failed to do just this. It has been there in all of my relationships. It has happened with my spouse, my family, and my friends.
Wow! I’m just learning this now?
Yes, we are all human and it comes very naturally for us to want to be noticed, honored, praised and loved.
But, I now see, we have to watch from whom we are expecting these things validations. And we need to be aware that no human will ever get it right 100% of the time. Only God our Father can completely and totally meet our deepest needs and desires. He fulfills them all.
Our children can’t, our spouse can’t and our friends can’t. It is actually not fair to expect our validation from them because they will come up short everytime.
Reflecting on this newfound understanding of my response to my son yelling at me. I realized that I have let my desire of being honored, my pride, influence my mood, my revenge, and my justification for my selfish response my whole life.
Having had fallen into the trap of thinking that when someone did not treat me in a way that I believed I should be treated, it meant that they were against me and they didn’t love me. I would always take it as a personal attack.
My mind would worry about me. How I felt, how they spoke to me, how they made me feel, how they really didn’t love me if they disagreed with me, and the list of ‘me‘ went on.
Pride is the putting of ourselves on the throne.
Meaning, this is who or what we think about, try to please, and never want to offend. I had during these times put me on the throne. I did this without thinking. When I let this happen it always stole away my joy and peace.
This looking for reassurance and validation from others by the way they may or may not treat us is dysfunctional and disordered.
When we do this, we begin to look at the facial expression, every response, or lack of response for any sign of someone’s disagreement or judging of our opinion, appearance, or behavior.
Freedom From Ourselves
I cannot even portray or share just how deeply freeing this experience and what I learned from it has been.
My children will, I’m sure, from time to time disrespect, dishonor and treat me in a way that I will not like.
But, I now have the knowledge of why I have responded very wrongly in the past and how I should rightly respond in the future.
I now have the knowledge to approach these encounters in a whole different mindset. One that looks at the situation as an individual occurrence and not look at it like it is a personal attack on me or my dignity as God’s daughter.
I will try to remember not to look for my validation from those God has placed in my life.
If I can come to really realize who I am and to whom I belong and get my honor and worth from. The one who carefully created me, deeply knows me, & completely loves me. I will then be more apt to keep Him, not me, on the ‘throne’ and live for only his approval.
A Catholic mom of 10 & a Deacon’s wife.
I Help Inspire Christian Women to Grow in Their Faith & Share with Others, Improve their Health, and Create Whole-Life-Wellness From the Inside Out.