Pride

When I’m being really good, I start my day with some devotion time.  I’m so ADD that this is often hard.  While reading scripture, or a devotional book, or trying to pray, I am Related imagethe proverbial dog cartoon (the movie “UP”) with the thought bubble “Squirrel!” or “Butterfly!” It takes major effort for me to just sit still and be.  And now that I have a lovely back deck, with a seemingly ideal cathedral of tall, green trees, the distractions of creation such as deer and beautiful birds (and squirrels!) often interfere with my focus on prayer and devotion.  Sure, it’s great to praise God for his creation, but a time for everything.

I’ve been making my way through a book by Beth Moore (Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds), one of my favorite women’s writers/speakers. Beth Moore isn’t for everyone, and I’ll admit that having done several of her video-based Bible Studies her cheerful cuteness sometimes was a little overwhelming.  But I believe she is real, sincere, and listens to God’s voice as she pens her books, blogs, studies, and lessons. Even if I didn’t complete all my homework, I personally walk away from every encounter with her spiritually enriched, and with a deepened walk with the Lord.

The most recent chapter I’ve read was “Overcoming Pride.”   It hit home, and it showed me some things about myself that I perhaps had preferred not to see.

Beth starts out with saying “In some ways, Christians have to be more alert to pride than anyone.  If we don’t presently have an issue that is actively humbling us, we veer with disturbing velocity toward arrogance and self-righteousness.”

Yikes.

Someone once responded to her presentation on pride saying, “I have far too little self-esteem to have pride.”  She goes on to say that “pride is not the opposite of low self-esteem.  Pride is the opposite of low humility.  We can have a serious pride problem that masquerades as low self-esteem.  Pride is self-absorption whether we’re absorbed with how miserable we are or how wonderful we are.”

I personally think the greatest challenge that insecure people face is overcoming pride. That perhaps sounds oxymoronic—but I’m considering it a heart issue, and a faith issue.  If you were raised as I was, with one parent who was an insecure bully out to prove himself (even among children), you catch a lot of bad lessons.  Your own self-esteem takes a hit, but once you leave home you can spend the rest of your life trying to prove you’re worthwhile.  Insecure people are sometimes overachievers.  We try to compensate in so many ways: becoming learned or knowledgeable; well-traveled; indispensable servants.  We can turn blessings and achievements into shields—or are they weapons?  We try to “prove” our worth by our works, wealth, or superior knowledge.  We dare people to say we are unworthy.  Our woundedness leads to a sin of pride.  Basically, Satan uses a hurt or a weakness to justify our pride, and tempt us to view ourselves not as perfectly loved by God, but defined by our achievements.  And we completely miss (or discount) our worth in God’s eyes, and that we are to walk humbly with our God.

Pride is Satan’s specialty.  God hates pride.

Image result for prideIn my marriage, I know my sin of pride has caused a lot of pain and dissent.  It’s caused me to believe I was better, smarter, and “more” right.  It has caused me to be self-righteous, even critical at times.  I’ve been prideful about my abilities and knowledge, and not considered the value of his point of view, abilities, and knowledge.  I need to ask God to forgive me for so often considering myself better than others.  I need to beware of spiritual ambition (doing God’s work for human recognition) and continuously ask God to help me have a humble disposition.

One area I am working on:  Hubby makes a suggestion for a plan.  I possibly have (a) mentioned it, or b) already thought the same thing.  Now, I can choose my response and tone.  All too frequently my prideful response is, “I already told you that (i.e., weren’t you listening?);”  “I already thought of that;” or worse, “Isn’t that obvious? (verbalized or thought).”  Bam.  I’ve “boosted” my self-esteem, and slammed his down.  I pray for the humility to change this arrogance, and respond in love and affirmation:  “What a wonderful idea!”  “That’s a good plan!”  “I like that plan;” or “I’m so glad you thought of that, thank you!”  Who cares who got “credit” for an idea or a thought?  Can’t I be happy we think so alike?

Another notorious habit of some women is to tell their men where to park. This may Related imageseem such a small thing, but my hubby abhors this (yours probably does too).  Somewhere deep inside a prideful voice is saying “Hey, I saw a GREAT parking spot, and YOU (ineptly) missed it!”  Wait—that prideful voice really isn’t “deep inside.”  It’s apparent by my mere suggestion that my adult husband isn’t capable of finding a decent parking spot.  So what if we have to walk a few extra steps?  Good exercise! And, he is faithfully a gentleman about dropping me at the door whenever weather is inclement.

The format of Moore’s book is one of praying scriptures. Here are a few of the many that I need to hide in my heart and pray daily:

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2

“You oppose the proud but give grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself.” Philippians 2:3

“Help me not to be the kind of person who goes into great detail about what he has seen, and whose unspiritual mind puffs her up with idle notions.”   Colossians 2:18

“Clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”  Colossians 3:12

In Your Word, You define “who is wise and understanding among us:  The one who shows it by her good life, by deeds done in the humility, that comes from wisdom.”  James 3:13

Is there an issue in your life that is actively humbling you?  Is your lack of humility causing you to veer with disturbing velocity toward arrogance and self-righteousness?

Be glad for teachable moments, and pray for humility.

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8 Responses to Pride

  1. C for now says:

    “Pray for humility.” Interesting closing on two counts. The first is the worn but fair observation that prayer starts on one’s knees. A fitting observation.

    The second is a personal style that I may have mentioned before. Simply put, I dislike the prayers I so often hear. I refer to them as “ransom lists” for a very good reason. They lack any signs of wisdom, submission or humility. The sound of someone telling their creator what needs to be done seems so bizarre and unappreciative. My rules has always been simple. Thank God for his blessings and admit failings in a style very similar to the Hebrews. Doing this is a humbling reminder and sets the tone for my approach to problems.

    Odd suggestion but it has helped me daily.

    Hope you are doing well ma’am.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said. “Admit failings in a style similar to the Hebrews…” Can you expound on that? I too dislike the shopping list of requests that prayer becomes, and having a thankful heart is key to a true attitude of humility with which we should approach our Maker. Your comments remind me of how God responded to Job with HIS long list of WHO HE IS, and how dare Job question anything! (Job will always be a hard book to fully embrace, but I get it).

      Thank you! Your comment has provided fodder for a new post on prayer, a mnemonic for prayer that has always been helpful when I remember to use it!

      Like

      • C for now says:

        Ok, let’s see if I can make sense of this without bogging down a server farm.

        The writers of that time were unusual in their candor. They quickly exposed warts that those about today are quick to hide. Where we are “nice”, they were honest. How do you learn if you hide failure? Think of this as it may apply to our pride. Let me see if I can give this in the example of pride and prayer. (If the following seems unbecoming please delete.)

        What is typical in my experience:

        “Lord, help me get over my foolish pride and let me be more like your Son.”

        REALLY!?! You just told Almighty God what to do and followed that by telling YOUR Creator how you should be made. Doesn’t strike me as humble but it also doesn’t necessarily mean that the one praying even realizes the error. It is what they see and hear, the mimic in style may well be done without thought. This leads to the way I suggest. It makes you stop, think and then proceeded with humility. It is thoughtful, humble prayer. Never forget that you are addressing the One on whose rock you stand.

        “I fall short of your Son in many ways Lord. My pride blinds me to the path shown on many moments…..”

        Liked by 1 person

      • I appreciate that insight! Thanks!

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      • C for now says:

        You are welcome ma’am.

        Like

  2. It seems to me that Christianity is obsessed with rooting out evil in follower so much so that low self esteem is an endemic culutal issue that doesn’t seem to affect other faiths. Practicing self compassion is the first step to healthy self esteem. If loving kindness does not include yourself it’s incomplete.
    You aren’t good or bad – That thinking limits you and your behaviour as one or the other. You might find a great parking spot one day ?
    Humility is the antidote to our competitiveness as it frees us up from being right. It’s about accepting our views are limited, it accepts that not everything is either right or wrong – they can be both. Humility is recognising that there are many different perspectives and being open enough to allow other viewpoints. It’s meeting everyone and everything as an opportunity to learn and grow.

    There is nothing wrong with you – watching squirrels that god created is a prayer. Consider your sitting feeling the world as being with God. Have your own real experience not a second hand version of this cheery irritating woman! God created you just as you are – yes change if you wish but not because part of you is bad but because part of you sees something in a new way.

    Bless you x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really appreciate your inputs! We agree on so much.
      It is sad that some have come away from Christian upbringings with what you term as “obsessed with rooting out evil in follower so much so that low self esteem is an endemic cultural issue that doesn’t seem to affect other faiths.” A primary difference between Judeo-Christian based faiths and other faith traditions is an active acknowledgement of Creator and created, our fallen nature, and our free will to choose between good and evil. We can never BE good enough to earn salvation, we need a Savior, and God SO loved us that he gave us one, not because we deserved it or have a good self-image. This faith system should give us hope, never bring on self-loathing, because God’s grace and love are redemptive. Sadly some humans and institutions have made our humanness into a negative for some (raised Catholic, and understand). Christians also accept we are NOT God, or equal to him, we are HIS creation. I especially like your point “Humility is recognising that there are many different perspectives and being open enough to allow other viewpoints. It’s meeting everyone and everything as an opportunity to learn and grow.” I think this is always God’s challenge to us. I also agree that not everything is bad, believe there are SOMETIMES issues that are morally neutral, shades of grey (yet to believe that NOTHING is bad or good is moral relativism–where the individual decides, or perhaps present cultural trends “dictate”). I believe that there are some basic truths in life, and for me, God’s Word is where Christians find them. LOVE tends to wrap up all of these truths; humility (vs. ego) takes us to that place of perfect love, which is God. Yes, God made me as I am, I am fearfully and wonderfully made! I am also human, fallen, and sinful, but not without hope! He gave me free will to act as I wish, He is a gentleman and He won’t force His way. He gave me a free will to acknowledge Him as my creator, and to work towards the perfect love He showed us. Your term of “loving kindness” reminds me of the Eastern thought I learned in yogic traditions. Concepts of healthy self-esteem and compassion certainly align with Christian thought. God wants us to value ourselves (and not despise ourselves) and others, because we are created in his image, and we are loved. However none of us has “arrived,” we are a work in progress. We are on a journey, we make mistakes, we have regrets, we fall and stumble, we ask for forgiveness, we seek ways to improve ourselves and the lives of others, and we seek His Will to be be the best creation we can be. All of that requires humility (Philippians 2:3 above), we don’t boast about our salvation or goodness on our own power. There shouldn’t be self-hate in this process, but hope. Our only “Karma” is the knowledge of eternal life with our loving creator, and Christianity is the only belief system that follows a Living God and teaches salvation by grace and not works alone (“being” good enough). The light in me is my Creator, my God. I am not He.

      Thanks again for offering your views, and for reading mine.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. drmattsgirl says:

    I ordered that book because of your description. I’d been asking God to take me to a new level and praying the scriptures is a huge part of it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and life. ♥️

    Like

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