Husband & Wife Articles


 

Give God the Glory

Don’t let your own desires block his will in your life

By Sherry Antonetti

We are living in Easter glory this week, celebrating the eight days (Octave) from Easter Sunday to Divine Mercy Sunday as one continuous resurrection day. The Mass readings are all about the risen Jesus and his encounters with his disciples. We will be living liturgically with this Easter elevation till Pentecost, May 15.

Yet we must remember that the glory we celebrate is God’s, not ours. This reality was brought home to me recently when I recalled a reading from Lent on the three temptations of Jesus in the desert (Lk 4:1-13). I especially wondered what it means to put “the Lord, your God, to the test.” How can we, simple creatures, test God?

Nielsen Family

I think it is when we claim a part of God’s glory and his blessings solely as our own. The pursuit of glory is something we struggle with in all areas of our lives. We tout our degrees, our jobs, our volunteer work and our accomplishments to illustrate our merit as human beings. Sometimes we even use our children, when we attribute their successes to our fine parenting skills. Grabbing glory from another can be a weakness born of doubt about our own worth. Even pious people can be tempted by measuring their worth in how they pray, fast, and receive favors.

God loves us far beyond any efforts on our part. Seeking glory means to venerate one’s self through the manipulation of what is sacred. The pursuit of glory even plagued the Apostles. James and John, who boldly asked to sit at the right and left of Jesus in the kingdom, give us the perfect example of how we can easily slip into using our relationship with Jesus to bolster our image. We, too, want to be recognized, to have the rest of the world know we are special, really important in God’s eyes.

The goal of faith, however, is to let Jesus use us to reveal his love. The question is how?

In my own life, I struggled for years with the temptation to be a poor sport in games, particularly when I played my best and still don’t win. We play a lot of card and board games in our family, so a long losing streak can get to my temper. My husband, on the other hand, is an amazing sport. It doesn’t matter to him what the game or whether he wins or loses, he enjoys the process and the togetherness.

I’ve tried copying his manner, but anyone can see the struggle on my face, the fight to match my heart with my words as I try to represent good sportsmanship to my kids. Sometimes, I fail. In time, I apologize and admit, “I shouldn’t have lost my temper. I should have been a better sport.”  

It pains me because I know my temper is telling my kids that winning matters more than being with them and sharing fun times. I knew my attitude needed to change. One day, I said to myself, “No matter what, I won’t get worked up over the game. Please God, help me be a good sport.” Guess what? I got trounced. Never had I felt more like growling. I prayed to God for help. The irritation evaporated. God’s grace showed how to place my will under his, to look at the bigger picture and the company of my loved ones, rather than the momentary pleasure of beating them.

Keeping my temper during games may seem like a small issue, but marriage and family life are made up of small moments of little sacrifices, annoying habits and petty vices that can add up to something big after a while. As Jesus said, “He who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones” (Lk 16:10).

How do we empty ourselves of ourselves to make room for God’s glory? First, recognize your desire to be elevated in the eyes of the world, and then ask God to help you not so much overcome this desire as to surrender it to him. Start small, and let the Lord lead.

Sherry Antonetti is a freelance writer, blogger and author of The Book of Helen. She lives just outside of Washington, D.C., with her husband and their ten children.