In the past few weeks I have been shown that I have been too big for my britches. Not my physical britches, despite the fact we just came out of the food-laden holidays, they are still fine. No, my other britches.
Many of you who did not grow up in Eastern Kentucky might not know what britches are. This is an alternative spelling for breeches—cropped riding pants. This doesn’t make a great deal of sense until you realize this is an idiom meaning asserting oneself beyond one's authority or ability.*
I learned this phrase from my maternal grandmother. I am sorry to say I can’t count how many times she said this phrase to me. Seemed as if I was forever outgrowing my britches.
Sometimes we get so comfortable in our faith and routine we forget we are not above mistakes and sins. We ignore the fact that even though we have been saved by his grace, bought and cleansed by his blood and justified by his sacrifice we can still be the one in the wrong. We can still be the one not making the right choices, saying the wrong things and not doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done.
During the past few weeks the Spirit has been gently and quietly, but very firmly disciplining me (I mistakenly typed the word discipling—fits too, I think). His reprimands began a couple of weeks ago in church (the morning I did NOT want to go) and he has been relentless ever since. His word to me had been very clear.
I have asserted myself beyond the authority and ability God has given me.
I have offered answers to questions I didn’t have any business answering. I have acted as if I know more than others around me. I have judged when I should have extended mercy. I have patronized when I should have offered the hand of grace. I have been stubborn when I should have been flexible. I have hidden when I should have been available. I have turned inward when I should have been focused outward. I have been too harsh when I should have been gentle. I have been too demanding when I should have rearranged my expectations. I have found fault when I should have allowed love to cover a multitude of wrongs. I have exchanged the Word of God for the endless prattle and fodder of a novel. I have ignored the silent promptings of the Spirit. I have been silent when I should have spoken. I have spoken when I should have been silent.
This is not a hypothetical list. I can give a specific example for each.
And the root of it all is hubris—ugly pride.
I have been too big for my britches.
O God, renew a right spirit within me.