26 Jun Pride’s Downfall
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Proverbs 11:2 NIV
Pride is something we have all dealt with at one time or another. It took a mission’s trip at the age of 19 for me to open my eyes to the pride in my own heart. I didn’t like myself for being that way. And I tried my best to keep that awareness. When Jason and I married, pride crept up again and sealed itself tightly within me. There I was, a 21 year-old homeowner, recently married and with a nice salary for my age. Jason was 23 at the time and taking in a very good salary, as well. We were living what we did not grow up with: money.
We were young and reckless. Our priorities were unbalanced. We would put the things that mattered on the back-burner and prioritize our wants to the top of our list. Our focus would include trying out the newest high-rated restaurants, and other meaningless ventures. Jason loved his gadgets and was always looking for the next best thing. I, on the other hand, was always looking for the best bargain and sale. But, that meant nothing. Just because the pair of shoes was on sale or a great bargain didn’t mean I even needed them, nor did it mean I was making the right decisions. If you really think about it, we were more focused on what others could physically see about us and not what God was looking at: the heart.
God put us through the ringer, for sure. That “high” of being able to afford things left as quickly as it had arrived. Jason went through about 4-5 layoffs throughout our marriage. The first layoff occurred not even 6 months into our marriage. We were stripped down, and intimately confronted with the reality of our pride. It was a humbling experience. Thinking back to those earlier years, I don’t believe we learned fully, though. Once Jason had found his “bread and butter” position with a wonderful company after the first few layoffs, we went back to the same patterns; not to its full extent, but still…and the same pattern of layoffs continued. We went from eating out almost every weekend to checking our budget to see if we were able to afford ice cream on occasion. God continued to strip us of our pride and confront us with His truth of what really matters in life. Even in the details that didn’t seem to matter to the human eye, God was using sandpaper to smooth us out. My shoes, for instance. I loved my heels. I was proud of them. I was proud of finding that great deal online or at the store to purchase them. I didn’t realize that I was putting more effort and focus on material things than on what really mattered. And guess what? I gave them ALL away. Not cheerfully, though. I cried. Health issues had begun to occur around this point and I realized that I could not wear heels for the time being. It was a painful process for me. I cried over material things. I mourned over the luxury of eating out, matching my outfits with my shoes, and going to Sephora to check out the latest makeup palettes. This sounds kind of petty, right?
But, God knew what He was doing. I didn’t realize I was filling my mind and heart with “first world” problems. These aren’t even issues. And while this process seems to be ongoing, I embrace it, because I don’t want to be or act like a self-entitled brat, who cannot tell the difference between a want and a need. I need to continue to go through this process. I need to learn this life lesson and become the right example set for my children and anyone else watching me to see.
Today, I live in a small house. But, it is immensely filled with peace. We don’t wear expensive designer clothing and shoes, but we are covered. And on occasion, we are able to eat out. Our needs are met on a daily basis. There is a HUGE difference between a need and a want. And while it’s never easy to be stripped down of our pride, I am beyond grateful that I continue to learn from this life lesson. Peace, love, joy and God’s wisdom are priceless and what I want for my life more than those material possessions.
I don’t want to lose sight of what actually matters in life. At the end of it all, who is going to care about our material possessions? Our character and integrity is what will determine what is said about us when we pass on. I don’t want to teach my children that a pair of shoes is more important than respecting others, or that the newest game console is more important than having food at the table. No. I want to keep what’s most important at the forefront of my mind. And I want to pass this on to my kids, so that there is some kind of chain reaction for the better of this world.