Thursday, September 27, 2018

Pride - the Thing God Hates Most is the Thing I'm Best At - Ugh

Pride has always been a major issue for me. God gives each of us gifts and abilities, but somewhere along the way, I decided that mine were more gifty and more able-y than other people.

My actual college diploma - I really
wish it listed my major - Mathematics -
but we can't have everything
It's really funny because with my "what can we do fun today?" attitude that doesn't seem to take anything seriously, people are always surprised when they discover a brain in my head. I used to be offended by their shock - "You studied math in college? Are you sure?" "Yes. Yes, I'm sure. I was there. I even taught math for a living." "But don't you have to be smart for that?" (yes, this exact conversation took place once.)  I didn't respond to that question. I just gave that person a look that let them know it had gone one step too far and she had better back up - fast. The thing is, she wasn't trying to be mean or funny. She was dead serious. She was just shocked that I had the mental capacity to be a math teacher. And I get that a lot. I'm not offended anymore. Really. Now it's just funny. Like a game. But I'm digressing here.

Between my intellect and my gifts with people, I've always been pretty pleased with how God put me
I spoke to a group of
moms on my 40th birthday
I was obviously very shy about
the fact that it was my birthday
(please insert face palm here)
together and the things I'm able to do. And even at the lowest points in my life, I've had confidence in my skills and my mind. And at many, many times in my life, that confidence has shown itself as pride - pride in my gifts, pride in my intellect, pride in my people skills, pride in my confidence, even when I was struggling. And that pride had me looking down on and judging others.

I hate admitting all of this. It's super ugly to see in black and white here on my laptop screen. And it makes me cringe to read. Pride is so ugly! It's the thing God hates the most! And for good reason! I have no right to be proud of my abilities - He gave them to me. I have no right to be boasting about my intelligence - that came from Him too. Everything I have - every gift, skill, ability, anything - is from Him, and I have no basis for pride in it. And yet -

The journey of my brain injury has done a real work on my pride issue. After I fell on my face and got a concussion I had to be in a dark, quiet room for a week. As I lay there, completely unproductive, using none of my gifts, being of no tangible value to anyone, my pride was taking a huge hit! My family's life went on without me. God's work was going on without me. I wasn't as necessary as I thought I was. The pity party that started hard that week eventually gave way to realizations that my pride levels were way out of control. Over the next few weeks as I adjusted to life with new limits (no driving, no texting, no email, very little working around the house), my pride continued to feel the blows. If I wasn't going to use my gifts and abilities, what good was I?

God used this time to sweetly and lovingly remind me that my gifts and abilities are not why I matter. I matter because He loves me. He loves me for me. Just me. Not because of anything I do or think or produce. Just because I exist. And He loved me long before I knew how to love Him back. I didn't do anything to earn His love, and I couldn't do anything to lose His love. I also, couldn't earn extra love by using my gifts and abilities to please Him. He's such a good, kind, loving God to be confirming His love for me while my pride was being torn down. I was being deconstructed and rebuilt correctly at the same time.

This is how I spent those first
few weeks. In the dark.
Completely useless. I still
have days/weeks like this.  
Over the last three and a half years, I thought my pride was pretty much conquered. I've battled dizziness, forgetfulness, serious confusion, and the cabin fever of being a shut-in when it gets really bad. And I've put most of that battle on social media. I'm hoping it can be both entertaining and encouraging to the folks who find it, but really, documenting my issues does help keep me humble. Ironically, I do still get tempted to be proud of my willingness to be so humble. Yes, it's that bad! Anyway, I thought I was through the worst of the pride conquering. Then this latest batch of symptoms hit.

This is me waiting for Drew
to come get me. We had gone for a
walk, and I couldn't finish. So I
had to sit down right on the
sidewalk and wait for him to go get
the car. 
My newest adventure - I'm having trouble walking. Yup - my brain and my feet aren't communicating well. I tell my feet to walk, and they don't get the memo. The result is that I end up walking like a drunk or even falling over. Super fun out in public! So I have to be helped out of places. By the arm. Very slowly. Like an old lady. And people turn and stare. It's not bad enough that I'm an imposition to the people I'm with - holding them up with my incredibly slow pace or needing them to go get the car because I can't walk that far - but now strangers are turning to look and wonder what's wrong me. The looks are brutal to my pride. And I thought I had this pride thing licked.

I'm torn. On the one hand, I want God to keep chipping away at me until the pride is all gone. If pride is the thing He hates most, I certainly don't want anything to do with it. On the other hand, all of my "get rid of the pride" experiences have really sucked. And I'm so over miserable experiences. I'd like to be done now.

I've told God exactly how I feel. I know He loves me and is doing what's best for me. I'm trying to be patient even though it's hard. And I'm proud of that :-)


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