Pride is tough. I mean, it’ll really getcha. Just when you think you’re on the right track to becoming a better person, it’ll put a stop sign dead center in middle of the road and make you backtrack the way you came. I really don’t like pride. It has been the biggest roadblock to much of my spiritual, emotional, and overall personal growth.
Remember last week I said I was having a tough time transitioning to Lincoln? Well, I wish I could say this past week got better. My blog ended on an encouraging note, and I’m glad I was able to get perspective. However, instead of living in the freedom I described, I let my pride tie me down. I’ve thought of only myself the past few days. I’m not super proud to say it.
On Sunday, Ellie joined a worship team at church. This is kind of a big deal because the worship team at our church strives for excellence, and their musicians are top notch! It was very exciting to see Ellie included in that. As a best friend, I genuinely celebrated in her win and bragged about her to everyone I talked to that day. We were both riding high that morning! That afternoon, however, something happened. Some tension sprouted between the two of us, and neither of us could really pinpoint why. Day 1 of my pride causing a problem. Instead of being proactive and talking through the tension in that moment, I pushed her away and focused on my own wants. I holed up in my room so I wouldn’t have to speak to anyone and pretended like everything was fine. We both knew it wasn’t.
Later that night, she texted me asking for prayer. She had been going through a really rough time personally that evening, and I had been too wrapped up in my selfishness to see it. She was hurting, and I was snobby. I can’t describe how horrible I felt. I laid in my bed and, after praying for her, I described my ugly, mucky, bile-filled, maggot infest heart to God. I couldn’t believe I had been so blind! I couldn’t help my own best friend in her time of need because I couldn’t see past my pride. That’s 100% on me.
Those are the thoughts I fell asleep to. I wish I could end the story saying the next morning was better – I learned my lesson and gave Ellie a hug. Nope. Unfortunately, the embarrassment of my failure the night before caused my pride to spike yet again. The next morning, as we were both leaving for work, I couldn’t look her in the eye. I acted like I was too busy doing other things to pay attention to her. I barely spoke, and definitely didn’t apologize. I knew it was necessary, but my pride kept my mouth shut. It was the same story when we came home that afternoon. She kept asking me important questions about our ministry, but I ignored mostly everything and gave short answers to the rest. I could sense the hurt and confusion, but my pride numbed my heart to it.
Tuesday was the same story. I could see the problem my pride was causing, but I wasn’t willing to address it. Ellie asked me many times over if I was OK, if our friendship was OK, and I always answered yes – pride says everything’s OK. I shrugged her off, but again, couldn’t look her in the eye. We sat in the evenings in awkward, unspoken tension that I couldn’t bring myself to address, but acting like it wasn’t there. Again, I went to bed defeated because pride kept me from being open and genuine, and it was digging a hole in something very valuable to me.
The next morning, things changed. I went into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and smiled at myself. I pushed away the temptation to be selfish that morning, and instead chose to be joyful. I asked God for His joy to overflow in me so that it’d pour out onto everyone I met that day. I asked Him to help me conquer the pride I’d been losing to because I was sick of the joy it was taking from me.
I went downstairs prepared to talk to Ellie, to smile at her and tell her we were OK – for real this time. However, she had to leave quickly to fill up with gas before work. What happened next is a testament to her courageous and kind heart.
A few minutes later, she messaged me saying how much she cared for me. SHE apologized to ME for not being herself and saying she was praying for me. She promised she was in this ministry and friendship for the long haul and she was committed to being there for me. I could honestly hardly believe it! Here I was struggling with the pride tearing our friendship apart, and she was apologizing! I do not deserve a friend like Ellie. Not in a million years.
Because of her humble words, our friendship really is OK now. We’re working through our struggles and attempting to be more open about them. I confessed my pride to her, but admittedly I haven’t apologized. Yet. Through prayer and genuine openness, I will attempt to conquer this pride that’s plagued me all of my life. Because of it, I know I will see health in my friendship with Ellie, and in my relationships with other people. I will have joy in abundance.
Pride is something I’ll always struggle with, I’m sure. It causes me to look inwardly and focus on my own selfish desires instead of looking outward. That is not how Jesus wants me to live. In Philippians 2:3,4, Paul writes about this exact problem:
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
These two verses are always convicting to me. “Regard others as more important than yourself.” Man, is that difficult! That goes against every fiber of my being, but that is exactly what Jesus did for me. Because of His love and grace, I can now have the power to say no to selfishness. I do not have to let pride control me. Jesus is the master of my life, not me. I am called to deny myself DAILY and live for Him. It’s a difficult road, but it’s one filled with love, joy, and peace. With those things in my life, I think humility is a small price to pay.