Breath on Paper small group is taking a break between semesters. We’ll be back June 12th.
“I learned that beneath my goody two shoes lie some very dark socks.”
I laughed out loud when I read that quote, attributed to a mere cartoon character, but it resonated with me. Throughout my early years, my little brother was constantly calling me a goody two shoes. What’s wrong with being good? I always wondered. But his young mind was able to see through my goodness to the juvenile, puffed-up, prideful attitude that lurked beneath the surface.
And I imagine that is what God saw in Miriam’s attitude … pride. God had used Miriam in a mighty way on Moses’ behalf, saving her baby brother from the waters of the Nile and reuniting him with their mother, who nursed him. The prophetess had also become an influential leader of the Hebrew women when the families were delivered from Egypt. Miriam had plenty to be proud of, but where she made her mistake was in elevating herself (and her brother Aaron) to a position of questioning God’s judgment regarding Moses.
“Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” Numbers 12:2
God saw through her attitude to the darkness that laid beneath. But may I suggest that there was another facet lying beneath this issue of pride? Self-esteem. Self-esteem, when it is elevated, puts us in a place where Adam and Eve found themselves — believing they could be like God. And when it is low, we may find ourselves like the ten spies who returned from Ka’desh in Canaan, who saw themselves as grasshoppers in a land of giants. Whether Miriam was acting out of a prideful attitude of superiority or one of a lack of self-esteem resulting in a desire to self-promote, God was not pleased.
I wonder how I have angered and/or grieved the heart of God when I have behaved similarly. I have fallen victim to either clamoring to promote myself in order to feel better about myself or I have fallen victim to Satan’s lies that I am not good enough, strong enough, smart enough — enough whatever. Either side of the coin, it’s all about me. And I have suffered the consequences more than once as a result of esteem issues. Perhaps Miriam could have spared herself from the leprous condition she experienced as a result of questioning God.
The solution to the darkness that lays beneath my dark, albeit goody-two-shoes behavior? For me, it’s a two-step process: first, reminding myself how much God loves and values me; secondly, inviting the Holy Spirit to search my heart, exposing my real motivations so I may discern whether I am acting out of genuine love and concern for others or seeking to soothe my insecurities.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24
Are you wearing dark socks?
We are honored to introduce our Guest Writer for today, Pam Weyant.
Pam recently traded the harsh Midwestern winters for the sunny South. When she is not spending her time as a freelance court reporter, you will find her loving up her adorable cocker spaniel, hiking, traveling, writing creative nonfiction, or working out. Her passion is sharing her story so others can join her in celebrating the freedom found in a redemptive Savior.
Read more about Miriam: