Symptoms and Clues



I approached the issue of tiredness and stress in my life in ways that I thought would be helpful because who likes to feel that way all the time, right? I knew I had some clues to work with and more than one symptom as well. I knew I did not get enough sleep on a regular basis and would try to make up for that on weekends by sleeping later on Saturday and taking a nap EVERY Sunday afternoon. That was a small reprieve, but not the answer. I read books and articles on diet, health, and exercise and they helped. I added some B complex to my supplement list and increased my intake of water, but that didn’t reach where I needed to be. I turned down some invitations and handed off some responsibilities, but that still wasn’t enough. Years of the “busy habit” had accumulated and there would be no easy way to deal with it.


If I am honest, I approached the spiritual side of the issue last because I didn’t recognize that it was where I would find relief. I worked in a Christian counseling practice for years and then on a church staff as well. A quiet time, a journal, and prayer were not missing from my life, but it was also true that I was not focusing as well on the times I sat with a cup of coffee to do those things.


I was overly responsible and the type of employee, friend, and ministry worker or leader that everyone loves because we show up when others don’t and we can usually be persuaded to do ‘one more thing’ because it is a good thing and “no one else can do it quite like you.”  Yikes! Why do such words snag or appeal to us?


I would not want to simplify the answer to it, but one part of it that relates to what I wrote in my previous posts is how quickly and subtly pride can infiltrate a life even if we are trying to be humble. I am sure you have heard of the term ‘false modesty’, but in Hannah Anderson’s book, Humble Roots, that I have referenced in this series she has another term for that…the humble brag.


 “A humble brag is a statement that initially sounds humble because it uses certain words like ‘humble’ or ‘thankful’ but ultimately it draws attention back to the person making it.”


 One example might be: “I’m thankful (or humbled) to be able to use my gifting to serve in this ministry.”  I could list more, but I can guess you get the drift of what I mean.


Of course, our pride shows up unbidden and sometimes obvious to others when someone congratulates us or wishes us well and we try to deflect those kind words because it would be prideful to accept them with a simple “thank you.” It might even show up when we talk about how “unworthy” we are to receive an accolade of some kind.


We get caught in those things because we have the mistaken idea that pride is something we can defeat and humility is something we can attain if we try. Hannah Anderson has a response to that as well in her book:


“But humility is not a commodity. It is not something you can achieve. It is not something you can accomplish. Being humble is something you either are or aren’t. And if you aren’t, no amount of trying can make up for it.”


Our actions, words, and attitudes give us away all the time!


The difficulty in gaining rest, peace, and humility is in part due to the truth that I/you need to set aside your own sense of identity. I need to set aside the identity of the person who always can be counted on to meet your need, the identity of the person who can always come up with a solution, the identity of the person who will never disappoint you or let you down.


If you read those sentences carefully you might discover what escapes our awareness. No one can be any of those except God. And the problem is that despite our best efforts we cannot imitate Him very well.


The only way we can, as Hannah Anderson observes (and I agree), find true rest is this:


 “We too must be grafted. If we are to find rest from our stress, if we are to have any hope of escaping our pride, we must be grafted onto the one who is humility Himself. We can no longer be content to attempt to imitate Him; we must become part of Him in order to reflect Him.”



23 thoughts on “Symptoms and Clues

  1. Pride can be our excuses not to do His work, when we are fearful of other’s opinions. When we feel unworthy. This is something that’s been brought to my attention lately! It always comes back to our identity in Christ, doesn’t it? Christ is in me, and Christ is in the Father…when turned to Him I am Christ that is within me and in the Father. Sounds like a wonderful book. I will have to put it on my TBR list!

    1. Well said, Lynn! You’re right! I think you would find the book an excellent read and one to keep on your shelf. I have read other books on this subject, but Hannah has written in a way that produced encouragement as well as conviction and none of the others seemed to capture that. Have a blessed day!

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I’ll have to read that book. I really appreciate your comments about humility and pride. Very insightful!

  3. wow – love that last part on grafting. I was beginning to feel despondent i.e., if i can try and be humble, what next? grafting – of course. I will find this book and read it and let God get the gardening tool – it can be sharp but worth it.

    1. You’re right! This book has much more than I am sharing in this series and well worth the read. I will refer to it more in the future. Hannah’s words were both encouraging and convicting. Have a blessed day!

  4. This sounds like a fantastic book and one I need to read. Pride is a difficult thing to admit or see in ourselves. I too struggle with resting and I will be pondering if somehow pride is in the midst of it. I think it just might be. I do know spending time with God first thing in the morning helps me get off on the right foot. But then again here I am going to reading posts before having my time with God.

    1. I think the book is one everyone can gain something from. It is convicting and encouraging at the same time. And….I hear you about sometimes reading posts first. I know when my time with Him comes first the day goes better and I am even more productive, but I also feel I don’t need to be legalistic because sometimes He speaks to me through someone’s post as well and that enhances my time with Him.

  5. Well, this book is going on my must-read list right now!! Thank you, Pam for your testimony to the truth about rest and humility- and the excellent quotes and points.

  6. Wow, Pam! Your words (again) are like water for this thirsty soul. I’m struggling to be free of people pleasing and of “my sense of identity” and instead find it in Him. I am even finding that what I thought was God’s plan for me might be changing. I am just starting to sense a new freedom of just following His peace in what I am committing to. It’s life altering. It’s making me nervous. But living the life He has called me to (not the one I feel obligated to or think I have my identity in) is an exciting journey. Thanks for sharing your words today.

    1. So glad you found a glass of water here, Melanie! What you struggle with is something that plagues many of us. It can get worse in the body of Christ many times as we feel pulled to answer the calls for this and that and soon we have lost ourselves somewhere along the yellow brick road. If you have read the other posts in this series, you hear some of my own struggle with that. The great news is that Jesus is there waiting to allow you to experience His light and easy yoke and He will help you find the way He has designed just for you!! Hugs and love, Pam

    1. I think you would be blessed to have this book on your bookshelf! I have read a number of books and articles on humility, but Hannah’s book is like no other and I couldn’t stop reflecting on so many of her points. (The conviction and insight was outstanding as well!!)

  7. I definitely have to read her book. I already got the sample sent to my Kindle because another of your posts. This hurts: “Our actions, words, and attitudes give us away all the time!” Lord, have mercy. Thanks, Pam!

    1. Lisa, I just couldn’t stop reflecting on what I read in the book. At every turn her words caught and convicted me. I have read a number of books on humility and none were as directly on point as this one. Have a great day, my friend!

  8. I loved Hannah’s book as well. Pride is at the roots of so much we do (or don’t do), and I’m sorry to say that those of us who write may be more subject to it than most. Thanks for sharing your insights so well.

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