Written by:
Ann Lea Santiago

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The Lady Who Climbed Downwards: A Young Adult Devotion

There I thought that I could do everything - that I could actually drive my own life and that I had full control over everything. Only then did I realize how problematic that desire for control was.

Don’t get me wrong; life’s been good to me. I claimed awards, recognition, fame in school, an edge on the completion, and accomplishments that I know can only be achieved by a few. Looking back, I saw how I had placed myself on a pedestal while at the same time I was looking down on others. I saw how my desire for competition had left a mark on everybody I knew, and myself worst of all.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”- Philippians 2:3.

My hunger for affirmation, for appreciation, for applause, for honor and for attention, finally came back in my face. It just felt heavy. Heavier than a hundred mammoths combined. My fellows would look at me as someone who would never get defeated, but also someone who would never give chance to others to be on the spotlight or help others reach their own goals. I was the type of person who never felt good knowing that there are people out there who could achieve the same accolades I dreamed of having. While I was enjoying all the good things, it just felt heavy.

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“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” - Proverbs 3:5-6

In my Christian journey, He taught me what I did not know before. It is written, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”- Philippians 2:3. It was an eye opener to me that in whatever I do, humility is key. Slowly, God taught me how to be selfless and how to value others above myself.

Off all the lessons God has taught me over the years, the most important was when His words instructed me in Proverbs 3:5-6 to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

We will never have complete control of everything in our lives. Yes we always have choices, but I know, no matter how many choices we get, there’s only one powerful and mighty GOD who can stir the wheel of our lives and can bring us to the place that He long ago prepared for His children.

In every act of recognition, and for all the appreciation I claimed before, I now know it’s not me who should be praised or be acknowledged; there is nothing that I can accomplish apart from God.

Discussion Question: In what ways have you put your personal accomplishments aside and helped other on their faith journey?

See more devotions from Ann Lea and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself, at our Young Adult devotions page.