Posted on June 28, 2015
Blessed: when you endure patiently (A series on the Beatitudes)
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
As I processed this Beatitude early one weekday morning, the first thought that came to my mind was,
“Meek is weak.” What does the word “meek” mean anyway?
I turned to the dictionary and the words seemed so negative: submission, yielding, compliant, timid. Bleh! These descriptions can’t possibly be right! I kept reading,
Enduring injury with patience and without resentment. Humbly patient as under provocation from others.
And just like that, the negative turned positive, and I understood the connotation of meekness to be something much more powerful and life-changing than I first thought.
I am not meek. Let’s just get that straight right now. I don’t endure hardship, provocation or injury with humility or patience. The reality is, I work in a world where meekness is not necessarily a virtue. Being driven is a value, and the words submission, yielding, compliant and timid aren’t exactly the way one would describe a leader in the corporate world. No, instead we are supposed to be driven, focused, dynamic and outspoken. In my work world, I don’t want to be weak or compliant or timid or any such thing. Is it possible to be meek AND be a focused and driven leader? I think so, but it means that I weigh the tension of the authority I possess in delicate balance with humility and patience.
Over the past few months, I have been dealing with a lot of negativity within myself with regard to my work. Most days have felt like a long, slow grind. Each day’s challenges are so many and so varied it’s tough to even know where to focus my attention. I find myself spinning a web of discontent and negative thoughts. The more I complain the bigger the web gets. I began to question why I do what I do and if any of it is worth it. Feeling trapped and unhappy, I approached my Bible for guidance, wisdom, help.
It’s hard to settle myself when I sit in my chair early in the morning. I’m tempted to check my email, browse through Facebook and Instagram, check the weather. But on this day, unable to quiet the overwhelming heaviness in my spirit, instead of distracting myself with social media or my email, I read Matthew 5:5. Quiet and willing, I heard the voice of the Spirit saying to me:
I’m breaking down the hard shell of entitlement, resentment and negativity in you. I’m exposing those places that are raw and ugly, those places that are choking out my Spirit in you. I’m asking you to lay them down and take up humility and patience. I’m asking you to be meek.
You see, I feel entitled to be negative, even though I know it’s not a good place to dwell. I feel resentful that my voice seems to have no effect. I feel entitled to have things my way. And many people would think that’s okay! They would say, “Stand up and fight for what is right Kari! That’s how you get ahead.” But Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek.” It’s backwards. It’s counter-intuitive. I feel the right to “own” my space at work, my opinion, my way of doing things. I like being right. I like proving a point. I like being in control. When control is taken from me, well let’s just say it’s not pretty.
It’s not just external things that provoke me, I am provoked by my own internal, negative thoughts. I realized that morning, that my constant internal (and external) complaining and negative self-talk were provoking me even more than the things that were happening around me. I had to make a choice to do what the Apostle Paul said we should do:
…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
I won’t tell you that it’s been easy. Meekness does not come easily for me. I still am not enduring hardship or provocation easily or with humility. But, I am learning to take my thoughts captive and to bring them into obedience to Christ. I’m learning to breathe, because breathing means I take a minute to collect my thoughts when I’m provoked to react. I’m learning that to be meek means that I exhibit not weakness, but a quiet and humble strength. I’m not a doormat. I’m not a wet noodle. I’m a patient, non-reactive strength that refuses to let provocation get her goat! (Well, at least that’s the goal!)
Blessed are those who remain calm, humble and patient in the midst of situations that provoke you to react harshly. You possess way more than meets the eye. In giving up control, you will find you have something much more valuable: Calm assurance that there is Someone who cares and bears your burdens with you.
What does meekness mean to you? Are there places in your life and heart that you need to give over to God and take up humility and patience instead? I’d love to hear from you.