Kristina Abbott is a member at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. (Courtesy Photo / Kristina Abbott)

Kristina Abbott is a member at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. (Courtesy Photo / Kristina Abbott)

Living & Growing: Tales of the conceited canine

I feel like as time goes on, our country — our world is becoming more and more narcissistic.

By Kristina Abbott

Matthew 23:12 says “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Who would have thought that my 6-year-old German Shepherd, Elsa would be the inspiration behind this week’s writing topic? She is a spunky, sassy dog who loves my undivided attention. She also thinks very highly of herself. I am quite sure if she could operate a cellphone, she would be taking selfies as her fur blew around in the wind.

Two weeks ago, we welcomed two bunnies to our family and our dog has been less than thrilled. Upon bringing the bunnies home, I envisioned Elsa chasing them around the house. Thankfully, she has not done anything remotely close to killing the bunnies. Instead, she has been pouting and moping around the house … mourning the loss of her human’s undivided attention and affection. Last night, she trotted up to the couch where I was sitting with one of the bunnies and tried to nudge her off my lap with her snout. The bunny was chewing on a piece of lettuce and Elsa decided another attention tactic. She grabbed the piece of lettuce out of the bunny’s mouth and proudly took it to a corner where the bunny could not get it, sat down with her legs in a crisscross manner and held her head high. She looked so smug, and so regal… so proud of herself for showing her dominance and tact.

My darling dog needs a piece of humble pie! She completely lacks a modest view of herself. She is ridiculous; entertaining but so ridiculous. You know what else I find ridiculous? The same lack of humility in our society. I feel like as time goes on, our country — our world is becoming more and more narcissistic, less empathetic and completely lacking humility.

What does humility look like? Ask yourself this question, dig deep and find what it means to you. To me, humility means acknowledging that I do not have it all together. As aforementioned in a previous column, my life is anything but calm and cool – it is chaotic, and I am learning to embrace it. I also believe to live a life of humility; it means taking responsibility and accountability for my actions. All too often is it easy to throw out blame. To me, living in humility does not mean being weak or passive, it means I know the difference between self-confidence and pride. It means I value other’s needs; I respect others … and ultimately, I am filled with gratitude for what I have.

I have a really hard time being around anyone that talks about themselves or their accomplishments all the time. I feel that the inner drive behind this constant self-highlighting is someone trying to seek validation in their life. We all want to be loved, praised, and noticed. God sees you. He loves you. I know, it is hard to go through life feeling like you do not get a pat on the back or recognition for the wonderful things you do. I think it is very important to remind ourselves that just because God does not yell out from the heavens “Good Job!” or “You’re doing great at life!” Ge speaks to us in unseen and unvocalized ways. I call them “God moments”. Sometimes, we are so consumed with seeking out mankind’s approval, we miss our heavenly father trying to show us he is our number one supporter!

I feel we have been given time on this earth to help others, to encourage others, and to celebrate

with others. We do not need to take selfies in the soup kitchen to show how good of a person we are. We do not flash our wealth to our neighbors or brag about how our children are honor roll students or star athletes. We do not have to flaunt successes or possessions to have others acknowledge our lives on this Earth hold validity. I think it is important to remember that humility does not mean thinking of yourself less than others, but rather it means to think less of yourself. This is an attribute my dear and darling dog has yet to learn.

Kristina Abbott is a member of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.

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