Monday, November 8, 2010

My Struggle with Pride

In "Winning through Weakness" I describe how God comes against our pride.  I want to tell about my own personal struggle pride.

Growing up, I was the typical first born child.  I was the "achiever".   I excelled in sports, and academics.  I was active in clubs, and my church.  I tried to obey my parents.  I was a "good" girl.  Though at the time I didn't perceive myself to be  prideful, I now see my  pride.  I trusted in my own abilities rather than God.  It was more important for me to please others and for others to see me as a "good" person, than it was to please God.  I still struggle with the "people-pleasing" tendency.  I wanted "perfection" in life.  I hated making mistakes.  It somehow confirmed that I wasn't who I wanted to be--a person with no flaws.  Crazy--huh?

As I look back over my life, I can see places where God initiated a struggle with me in order to break down pride in various areas of my life.  Here are a few:

Wrestling With God

My pride in being a "good" daughter was broken down as I was forced to choose between obeying God and my parents.  I agonized for months over the decision.  I chose to obey God and marry my sweetheart.  It was the hardest thing I ever did.

My pride in my athletic ability was broken down as I played college basketball.  I went from being one of the best players on my high school team and the entire state, to being a player who played here and there on a mediocre college team. 

My pride in my academic ability was broken down as I was in graduate school.  I took an undergraduate computer programming class.  After much hard work, I made a C in the class.  Threatened with the possibility of losing my graduate fellowship, I was forced to ask my professor to allow me to redo an assignment in order to bring up my grade.  She allowed me to do that.  In the end, I couldn't bring up my grade and yet by God's grace she gave me a B.  That was the hardest grade I've ever received.  I really didn't want it, because I knew I hadn't earned it.  At the same time, I knew I needed it.  That was a big blow to my pride.

My pride in my physical beauty--my teeth in particularly--was broken down after the loss of many of my teeth.  Especially after the loss of one of my teeth towards the front.  I agonized after that loss.  I felt ugly, and worthless.  I currently wear partial dentures, but if I have to go without them, I walk around feeling self-conscious.  God is teaching me that it's not about what others think about me.  It's about being willing to do what He's called me to do, no matter the cost.  And sometimes your dignity is the cost.  It's a hard lesson.  It's about finding my worth in Him alone.

The latest battle with pride came when I had to apologize to someone in authority over me, as well as a whole group of my peers because of comments I made, and because of a lack of submission to the authority over me.    It was also during this time that I was forced deal with a mistake I made which hurt someone that I was leading.  All this came during a time when I was forced to go without my dentures, so  the struggle against my pride was intensified.

There are many other times when God came against my pride.  These are just some that came to mind.  I want to tell you that my pride is cured, but I can't.  The Holy Spirit keeps revealing deeper layers of my pride.  I'm sure there are many more struggles to come.  But I am sure of this:  As God humbles me, I am blessed.  My prayer is that I will surrender to the King of Kings, without having to go through these battles.  We'll see...

The Blessings

God has shown me that His grace is sufficient.  He is infinitely more than I need.  His power is greater than I can fathom.  My eyes have been opened to see more of this Great God.  My ears have been more tuned to His voice.  I have been blessed to live more in His presence.

I've been set free from my need for perfection.  I can embrace my weaknesses more than I ever have.  I can be transparent and real with others, instead of living a life trying to maintain an "image".  I no longer have the pressure of trying to do God's work, or live any of my life on my own.  I have found more peace, and more joy than I ever have.  I'm excited about life, and I'm learning how to live in an intimate relationship with the God who has no limits.  He can take me places that I can never dream of.

I'm living more in His grace.  Would you join me?  Let's surrender together before the throne of grace before the magnificent, glorious, resplendent, powerful, majestic, GREAT God of the Universe. Let's choose to exalt Him today.

ISA 2:11 The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled
    and the pride of men brought low;
  the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

  ISA 2:12 The LORD Almighty has a day in store
    for all the proud and lofty,
    for all that is exalted
    (and they will be humbled),

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