Pride of Life

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 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.  I John 2:15-16

What is your title?

I’ve been thinking about some things for a while.  Some of my readers may hate this blog, some may love it, my hope is that we understand and apply it.  There are many titles that we assume in life…daughter, mother, brother, father, teacher, pastor, husband, wife, doctor, lawyer….some are more specific, “Stay at home Mom”, “CEO”, “Elder”.  A title may say a lot about you or it may leave an impression some positive, some negative.

I was reading a blog earlier today and the writer mentioned that she was a  “Homeschooling mom”.  She said it was her proudest title, or something to that effect.

In my group of friends, many who may read this, there is a trend to the holistic or organic.  There are many who have given birth at home (and one friend who is studying to be a mid-wife).  Breast-feeding is really the only choice.  And as their children grow up, many are chosing to home-school their children.  All personal choices. And all good choices for their family.

So why is it that I feel bad when I don’t make similar choices for myself and my family?  One of my friends in our group couldn’t breast feed when her little one was born.  She confided in my that she kind of pretended her formula bottle was fast forwarded.  Why on earth would she feel like she would be judged among friends for not breastfeeding?

Please don’t misunderstand…our friends are not judgmental.  In fact, most of our friends are supportive about family decisions being family decisions.

The real issue today is that society is judgmental.  Seriously, if a women who is able to breast-feed chooses not to it’s looked down upon. It is.  Hopefully you know that I understand all the benefits of breastfeeding.  It’s just an example of who people can be.

Beth Moore hit upon the topic of pride this past weekend.  One statement she made was to the effect that no matter how humble someone tries to be if pride is in their hearts it will come out in their actions and words.

I’ve seen this so much in my own life.  There seems such a fine line between pride and confidence.  My confidence says, “I can do all things through Christ” my pride says, “I can do all things”.

The Hubs says that I need to promote the book I’ve written more than I do.  I hate promoting it…not because I think it isn’t good but because I’m afraid people will think I’m prideful…”I wrote a book.  YOU should read it.  IT’S so great.”.   The attitude associated with self-promotion makes my stomach turn.  I know the reason there is a book out there that I wrote is because God put it in my heart.  If some day someone decides to read it, my deepest hope is that they will catch a passion for prayer.  I also hope that I can encourage others to WRITE because I believe that the written word is powerful.

I do like to say that I am a writer.  It is a title that I take pride in.  There, I said it. And that is the problem.  that is where my pride is.  Yes, it is something I do…it is a defining thing that I do.  But what about the days when I have nothing to write?  Am I a writer on those days?  If not, does that make me worthless?   That’s the problem with pride, it misplaces our value.

There was a time when I was being asked to speak to different groups here and there and I loved that…it was my gravy (for those of you who aren’t southern or Texan that means it is the stuff that makes life extra good); my sweet spot.  Guess what, I haven’t had opportunity to speak to a group of people in years; YEARS. Why?  There could be many reasons but I think the bottom line is I started thinking I was good at it.  I was never good at it. Heck, I cannot stand the sound of my own voice.  That’s right, I hate listening to videos or recording of myself (probably because it sucks all the pride right out of me, all those things speakers do that are annoying..I do them…uuhm).  If God didn’t give me something to say, it was terrifying.  It was empty clanging cymbals; just noise.  Beth Moore used the word, “entitled” in association with pride.  I think that’s what made it clear for me.  I’ve seen others around me have doors open for them to speak and I wondered why those doors haven’t opened for me.  (I am being completely transparent here…with you and with myself).  I’ve been jealous of them when I should have been rejoicing with them.  I’ve been the fakest cheerleader.  (I am so sorry my friends.  In my heart, I know with certainty that I would not have survived the roads you have walked down or are walking down.  Your message isn’t my message and even with our similar giftings, I know that I cannot offer what you offer but I was still envious of your opportunity.) I felt I was entitled to the same opportunities; why shouldn’t I be asked to speak?  Why shouldn’t people want to hear me…oh my goodness Beth was right…the pride was seeping out.

I’m not the only one.  Welcome to the part you aren’t going to like to hear.  Almost everyone has some “pride of life”.  Some part of their life or who they are that they are titling their “proudest title”.  Maybe you feel so proud when your two year old uses good manners or quotes the Sunday School Scripture…you say, “I am so proud of little Johnny”. No you aren’t, you are proud of yourself for teaching him good manners or the scripture or the fact that you gave birth to such a brilliant child.  I’m not saying, don’t be proud of your child.  I am saying question all pride.  Are you really proud of Johnny or of yourself?

What has this to do with organic, home-birthing, home-schooling stay-at-home moms?  Nothing probably.  But to the mom who sends her babies off to school because she has more little ones at home…you aren’t a failure as a mom because the idea of home-schooling is overwhelming or you do not feel God has called you to do it, you have value.  And to the mom who works and sends her babies to daycare because she’s the only parent in the family, God hears your prayers for your kids, keep praying, you have value.  To the couple who cannot have babies who want a family so badly, God sees your heart and you have value.  To the single person out there, just because no one else (beside your mamma or maybe not even your mamma) has declared their undying love for you doesn’t mean you aren’t loved; God loves you and you have value.  And to all my friends who eat vegetables with names I’ve never heard, that would look like a weed to me…well, I’m going to need your help because I should eat more weeds vegetables, oh, and you have value.

The “pride of life” is empty braggart talk; confidence in that in which life is sustained; resources, wealth and goods (according to Blueletterbible.com). The NLT (New Living Translation) says, “pride in achievements and possessions”.   Basically, we get so wrapped up in our lives and what we are doing and when we do it well we begin to believe we are doing it and we forget it is the greatness of God in us doing it.  The Word says, “Pride [goes] before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).  Be on guard.  Pride is a slipper bugger that mucks up everything.  And as easily as God blessed or opened doors or enabled you, within a blink of an eye it could all be gone.  When that happens it is easy to believe that your value as a person is gone but it isn’t.  God still loves you.  He may sit you down for a while but still loves you.  It’s just a “time out”.  Make it right.  It is just what I tell my 4 year old.  Sit down and think about what you have done and when you are ready to “make it right” (repent and apologize) you can get right back in the game……make it right.

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