Friday, July 15, 2011

The Mishandling of Pride

HALLELUJAH! :) :) It's Friday! And not only is it Friday, it's also the first day of my vacation! :) I cannot WAIT to spend a week soaking up the goodness of my family and the brilliance of rural living. To paraphrase the masterful poet John Denver, "Thank God, I'm a country [girl]!"

Before I head out, though, I had to blog a little follow up lesson from the last post. In it, I mentioned that I was battling pride with the release of the book. Totally normal, and totally real! I'm not going to pretend that it doesn't feel good to be a published author. But where I really found myself wrestling was in how I dealt with that pride.

More than anything, I wanted to remain open with God about it. Anytime I try to hide something from Him and deal with it on my own, it just festers and swells until it is way bigger than He intended. And, most likely, has also created a wall between us. So, that wasn't an option this time. I wanted to allow Him to speak into it.

So, I was having a conversation with my mighty man of God (*smile*) at Starbucks on Wednesday, and he was encouraging me and ministering to me about it. He'd just finished up making a point, and I got up to go use the ladies room. It was the perfect timing for God to follow up on what Matt had said. Here's the realization. See if you can relate...

When I deal with pride in the sense of "Look at what I did! I'm awesome," I usually try to battle it by internally pointing out things I do wrong. Because I know I shouldn't exalt myself--nor do I want to--I fight the pats on the back by telling myself, "Yes, but you know your sins. You do this, and this, and this. You're not all that great."

Does anyone else do that? It's like we think we have to tear ourselves down off the pedestal we're being put on in order to stay humble.

But here's what's wrong with that. We're still focusing on ourselves! When we condemn ourselves in order to battle pride, we're still being prideful. Keeping our eyes on our own hearts and staying in our "me bubble" when all the while, our focus should be on Christ!

Isn't that a marvelously smart tactic of the enemy? He will do anything and everything he can to make sure that our eyes aren't on Jesus. Condemning us for our failures is one of his best tricks. And this one comes with a price tag (as most of them do). We not only lose our godly confidence, we also disregard the grace and truth that we are offered through Christ. We lose sight of the forgiveness He's given and the gift of the cross.

What I felt the Lord telling me that day was that I needed to turn to Him in my pride instead of fighting the battle on my own. The weapons I was using (self-condemnation) were ineffective--counterproductive, actually. The proper response was to thank God! Praise Him for the gifts He's given me! Quote His Word that every good and perfect gift comes from Him and that He'd created me for a purpose. The pride was definitely to be surrendered to Him and laid before Him in authenticity, but then the gaze was to be turned to Jesus, not my shortcomings.

I think Matt quoted to me that humility is confidence properly placed. Instead of shaming myself to squash the pride, I needed to glory in the Lord for what He'd gifted me to do. It was and is, in fact, HIS GIFT! And it's okay to thank Him for it!

If you can in any way identify with this, I totally want to encourage you today. There is NO condemnation in Jesus Christ (Romans 8)! If you are battling pride by tearing yourself down, turn to Christ immediately. Tell Him what you are feeling and battling and ask Him to show you how to handle it. Ask Him to help you bring glory to Him by using those gifts for His Kingdom. It's a tremendous blessing to be created by Him for a purpose and called into His service. Ladies and gentlemen, live it up!!

Hugs to you all! :)

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