Can I pick your brain?

Apr 11, 2013

That title makes me think of something my dad says, “You can pick your friends. You can pick your nose. But you can’t pick your friend’s nose.” truth.

Anyway, I need y’alls brains.

I love to read deep philosophical books & process through these concepts of pride/humility…surrender/spiritual disciplines.

Lately I’ve come to some conclusions (I hope you stick with me & give me your thoughts):

Reading a list of manifestations of pride started this whole “God Centered” journey.

When I read through that long list of yucky, embarassing sin (i.e., anger, control issues, people pleasing, sarcasm…) the weight can be unbearable.

How can I even wake up and love my children well considering the heart which should produce that love? A heart so self-serving and blind to the needs of others could not bow itself in service.

It’s a daily battle…

Previously, that’s where I got stuck. Knowing my sinful heart. Knowing my desire to replace “me” with “He”. Wanting to humble myself. Yet never feeling “progress”.

Am I any more patient now than 2 years ago when I started writing in this space? Do I demonstrate more godly love? Do I seek His way before my own way?


I read these words:

“Self can never cast out self, even in the regenerate man…nothing but the presence of God can reveal & expel self.” -Andrew Murray

I can desperately want to be selfless. I can wish/hope/pray to be more God-centered. But I can’t get rid of my selfishness by my own strength. Only God can.

The sins of pride awakened my need for humility. But it is His unmerited favor, His grace, which continually drives me to seek humility.

Because he did not leave me under the weight of those sins. But took them upon Himself so that I could be in right relationship with Him.

Here is my question.

If I desire to humble myself…If I desire to replace “me” with “He”… And only God’s presence can remove seeds of selfishness…

What is the practical expression of these truths? What does it look like to allow God to remove “self” from our hearts? 

Day in. Day out.

“The essential thing ‘in heaven & earth’ is…that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.” F. Nietzsche (as quoted in “Long Obedience in the Same Direction:Discipleship in an Instant Society”).

Speaking to a group of moms tomorrow and want to give them practical, tangible ways to allow God to do His work & remove selfishness. 

What do you think?



  1. kelli

    hey heather—my answer b/c it’s how the lord has revealed himself to me in a mighty and loving and intimate way—–seeking his face through worship and sitting quitely with HIM continually throughout every day (even in the midst of play time or cooking or laundry)—contant communion and conversation and praising HIS great name!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS is where he meets me and reveals himself to me—and when HE does that—all is well in my soul!

    • Heather MacFadyen

      soooo good Kelli!!! thank you so much for sharing. love that “constant communion & conversation”.

  2. Jo

    We become like those we spend time with and the fruit of the SPIRIT is not something we do or become in our own strength but SPIRIT. So. . . The more we spend time with Him, the more our heart becomes like His. Yes bible study is good and necessary. Prayer time is a must. But making time to be in His presence and feel Him and get to know Him. Like we carve out/make time for our spouse, so we need to set aside time to spend with God. Much more important than girl time – not knocking girl time, but if we really want our hearts changed, we need God.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Oh yes! those SPIRITual (emphasis intended) disciplines…knowing God through relationship with Him. good stuff.

  3. Kristin

    Love that you are asking this question. Here’s my thoughts:

    Freedom from anything (pride, selfishness…) is not the absence of that thing but the presence of Someone. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” So my answer to your question would be spending time in God’s presence and allowing Him to speak truth to your heart is the only way to overcome something that has us bound/tripped up like pride or selfishness. We long for freedom from those things and can work on it but we can only truly change when our beliefs fully line up with the Word of God and that only Happens when He gives us wisdom and revelation into His Word and by speaking truth to our hearts. So, true change comes from time with Him.

    Praying for you as you speak to these women!
    Love, Kristin

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Very, very well said Kristin! Thank you so much! Seeing everyone’s comments makes me realize the answer has been there all along. It just didn’t seem concrete enough. But that’s the miracle of faith…believing in the unseen. Faith that through spending time with God He will remove my selfishness and His spirit will overcome my pride. Thank you for your prayers they were felt! Complete peace this morning.

  4. Kristol

    I’ve found that when I ask God, he will reveal my selfish attitudes to me and then I have a choice. I can choose to continue being selfish, or I can choose, at that moment, to pray and ask for forgiveness and for his strength to change and respond accordingly. When I choose to ask for his help, he always comes through with an amazing response. Hope this helps! Praying for you!


    • Heather MacFadyen

      Great perspective Kristol! Admitting our need for God to forgive right in the moment. Not waiting for season of sin & selfishness to pass and then going to God…but in the constant conversation seeking to get back into right relationship. Thank you!

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