What Size Are Your Britches?

What Size Are Your Britches?
   Some days when I think I’m sailing along just fine, I hear my mother’s voice whispering in my ear: “Don’t get too big for your britches.” That was her way of corralling my ego when it was evident I was being overly prideful. I might have been bragging about a job I thought I had done better than someone else. Or, perhaps, enjoying an “A” on a test and feeling really smart when I knew darn well I had had a lot of help in that subject. The image of tight fitting pants usually could “bring me down a peg or two.” That was another of Mom’s idioms.
   She has been gone many years, but the cautionary advice she used to keep me “between the guardrails” as a kid is still working today.
   Lately, the Lord has blessed me with a number of opportunities that have turned into successes. As I smiled at my reflection in the mirror one morning, thinking how good I felt about these ventures, I heard my mom whispering in my ear that old familiar warning about my britches. It actually made me laugh because I realized what an appropriate image it brought to mind.
   Pride would never have made it onto the seven deadly sins list if it wasn’t so efficient at puffing us up, making us haughty, and bringing on bragging. Pride can easily expand our opinion of ourselves and make us believe we are bigger and better than our peers.
   We may be familiar with the warning in Proverbs 16:18 that says, “Pride goeth before destruction” (KJV). It is clear where too much pride can take us.
   However, properly placed pride and well-balanced self-esteem do have their places. Like spicy herbs, they can flavor our personalities and be helpful to our conduct, as long as we remember the rest of the above scripture, which points out “and haughtiness before a fall.” That is where keeping in mind what size britches we are wearing is useful.
   When things are going great, success is piling up, and recognition is pouring in for our talents or achievements, it can be easy to slip into a prideful pit of self-aggrandizement.
   But, our Lord is clear with his advice on how to balance these natural inclinations. David realized this when the Lord rescued him from his enemies and from Saul. He sang in Psalm 18:27 that “you rescue those who are humble, but you humiliate the proud.”
   And Romans 12:3 tells us to “be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given us.”
   It is fine to have healthy self-esteem and appraisal of ourselves, as long as we realize where our talents and abilities come from. They are part of the story God is writing in our lives. We have been given them by a loving Lord who wants us to use them for their intended purposes. 1 Peter 4:10 says “God has given gifts to each of you; manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you.”
   So, we should nurture and enjoy our talents and abilities. We must work hard to perfect them. But if we begin to feel a bit of binding in our britches, it may be time to take a self-inventory and give a nod of gratitude to God for the gifts we have been given.
-Ms. Nancy Baumgartner, White Pine Church, Cogan House Township