For many years, I was under the tyranny of a cruel taskmaster. She was unforgiving, condemning, and her expectations were more than any human being could imagine much less accomplish. When I was broken, she was unrelenting in her taunts. She was a bully on steroids, and there was no escaping her. She showed up for every gathering and keenly watched every performance, criticizing successes and exploiting failures. Who is this beast you ask? She is I.
Many come to Christ with a rap sheet that includes addictions, incarcerations, betrayals, felonies, but my list holds the worst of sins . . pride and its evil spawn control. Of all the vices, pride is chief because it it keeps us from total surrender which is the gateway to total freedom. Pride keeps God at arm’s length, only accessing Him when He follows my plan. It disallows fun and adventure, choosing safety and the road most travelled every time. It demands that I wear a mask of togetherness when I am anything but.
One of the greatest gifts God gave me was salvation from myself. He loves me unconditionally, and though I do my best to honor and serve Him, He forgives me when I miss it. He doesn’t rub my nose in my mistakes; rather, He picks me up, dusts me off, and lets me try again, cheering me on all the while.
When I finally recognized pride for the dictator that it was, the damage had already been done. Anxiety, stress, fear, regret, and worry were a part of my story, and God never intended those chapters to be included. Still, God took the broken pieces, and He continues to be the Savior of my heart, mind, and body.
Pride still tries to eclipse God at times, jeering at failures and mocking mishaps, and it’s my decision whether I will listen to what it says about me or what He says. I have found that the more time I spend with Him and in His Word, the quieter the voice of pride becomes. My Dad always said, “What you feed grows, and what you starve dies,” so I try to starve pride daily. Part of my prayer time is dedicated to laying down baggage and allowing my heart to feast on God’s Truth rather than pride’s putdowns.
I think Matthew 11:28-30 in the Message Bible sums it up best. It says, 28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I’m running to Him! Come join me.