Pick me! Pick me! Don’t pick them! Don’t pick them! The desire of being preferred means that others must be passed over to make room for me, and I’m happy about it. It is the competitive streak of the sore loser. It manifests itself in poor sportsmanship and arrogance. It is quite possible, however, for an accomplished athlete to be competitively successful while simultaneously exhibiting humility. Pride and arrogance must not be confused with confidence.
There have been times in my life when being picked last to be on a team was disappointing and humiliating. But it was the wrong kind of humility I was experiencing. I was experiencing a self-defilement of sorts, feeling sorry for myself and placing my worth in the hands of other people rather than in God’s hands. In other words, being picked last hurt my pride, and I thought I needed that pride to be worth something. Additionally, focusing on my wounded pride caused my performance in the game to suffer. It was a kind of self fulfilling prophecy. But even if I wasn’t at all skilled in that game it had nothing to do with my worth in God’s eyes.
The desire to be consulted is another challenge. I’m a therapist. I’m supposed to want people to come to me for consultation. I’m supposed to be good at what I do and take pride in my work. So, why get rid of my desire to be consulted? I think it has more to do with wanting to be a know-it-all. No one knows everything. Even consultants need to consult with others for information and continuing education. I may have lots of answers, but only God has all the answers. An unhealthy desire to be consulted makes it hard to say, “I don’t know.” The person who knows it all has nothing to learn, and that can be very dangerous.
The desire to be approved is another attempt at stroking the ego. Like the other pitfalls in the prayer, approval can be just another way of focusing on self at the expense of others. There have been occasions when people approved of me just to be manipulative. “Buttering people up” is a great way to influence them. Be wary of people’s approval. Sometimes they just want something from you. The desire for approval can backfire very quickly. It can also become addictive. Know that you are loved by God regardless of other people’s approval. There will always be people that disapprove of you. God may disapprove of some of our actions, but God never disapproves of us. God is our biggest cheerleader.
From the desire to be preferred, consulted or approved, deliver me, Jesus!