pride onion

Hello. This is Josh. Long time… no talky. ☺

I talked to a guy and a girl this week who recently lost their jobs. They both feel a little worthless. (A story that many of us are hearing or telling lately) I know a girl who struggles with drug use. I know a guy who rarely sees his kids because he doesn’t know how to talk to his ex-wife.

The theme in church yesterday was pride.  It was said that most (read “all”) sins stem from the sin of pride. Is this possible? With so many of us struggling daily wanting to be taller, smarter, skinnier, wealthier, what ever…  can it also be possible that we struggle with pride?

To be completely honest, pride has probably always been my sin of choice. I don’t think I’ve ever been the up-in-your-face-and-braggadocious type…  I like people too much to try to make them feel bad. But when it comes down to it, my personality likes to think that it can do X, Y, and Z  better than most everybody else. I guess there is an “I need to believe in myself” issue as well. If we’re going to do something and do it well, we need to believe in ourselves.

But that’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about us trying to work our lives out on our own terms.  “Sure I love God, and I will read my Bible some, and I’ll go to church, and I’ll listen to some Christian music.” But when it comes down to it, if God tries to veer us off of our own predetermined course, pride it rears its ugly head.

 After our daughter Ava died, I thought I did a pretty good job of putting my pride on the shelf. Then, after I was paralyzed, I thought I put my pride on the shelf. After all… being in a wheelchair and depending on so many people for so many things has a humbling (read “humiliating”) effect.

In reality,I don’t think that I let those things check my pride at all. It hasn’t been until the past five or six months that God has really begun to peel back the layers of my pride… kind of like an onion –  smelly.

Have I really earned anything on my own? God has gifted me with the skills and personality that I have. God saw to it that I was born into the family that I was. God saw to it that I was born in the country and in the time that I was. How is it then that I can get prideful about who I am and my accomplishments? I owe everything to God.

Beyond that, I am also prideful about what God owes me. 

I love working with my hands. I love building decks, landscaping, finishing basements, mowing, making homemade pasta, entertaining, grilling, working with electronics… and on and on.

I love music. I play guitar, piano, turntables, mandolin, harmonica… I love singing.

I love sports. I play basketball, I mountain bike, I golf (read “slice”), I jog, I lift weights, I sail, I wakeboard, I scuba dive, I play soccer… and on and on.

I love my family. I love throwing my kids are around and wrestling with them. I like camping.  I like doing Zoe’s hair.  I like playing catch. I like teaching how to make a layup. I like tucking my kids in. I like the look on Shelly’s face when she comes home to a clean house when she wasn’t expecting it. I enjoy fixing things around the house when they break.

But now I can’t do any of those things.

A person that I barely know gets paid to help me get out of bed every day. I need help taking a shower, using the restroom, cutting my bushy red beard, getting dressed, putting on cologne, and lots of other things.  Without abdominal muscles, I can’t sneeze or cough very well. I have trouble picking my nose. I can’t eat pizza unless it is cut up into pieces for me. I have to drink using a straw.

With society’s view of what a man, husband, and dad is… where do I find my value?  Where do I find my identity? 

Doesn’t God owe me more than this?

The answer is no… He doesn’t. I am just now beginning to be okay with that. I think that I am finally finding the definition of humility. It’s not thinking that we are worse than everybody at everything, but it’s knowing that God owes us nothing and being truly at peace with that thought.

Before you start to think that I am saying that I am unusually brave or insightful or godly… I’m not. I actually think that it is pitiful that God had to humble me in so many ways before I actually saw how deep my pride really ran. But praise God, he finally rooting it out at me! Yes!

I talked to a guy and a girl this week who lost their jobs. I know a girl who struggles with drug use. I know a guy who rarely sees his kids because he doesn’t know how to talk to his ex-wife.

We may lose our jobs. Are we so proud that we find our identity in our employment? Life may not be going the way that we thought it would. Does that mean that we will turn to drugs (or maybe other more PC addictions) to cope with the pain of not getting what we deserve? Maybe we have had to endure a divorce. Maybe someone we love has deeply hurt us. Does that mean that we will pass the pain down to our kids because we are too proud to make that connection?

Pride might be at the root of most of the sins that I commit, but I feel like God and I have finally turned a corner. There may be many more corners to come, but I am so thankful for the peace he is bringing me and the many many many blessings that He has brought into my life.
Posted on May 19, 2009 and filed under "josh".