Sunday, September 23, 2012

What to Lose: My Pride

I've had to lose some things lately.  And I still have a long way to go.

I need to brace myself before writing this next sentence: Before all this happened, I was feeling like I was pretty good.  Like maybe I needed to be forgiven a little bit, but certainly I wasn't that bad.  I thought my formula for living was working pretty well.  And I was taking quite a bit of comfort in the things in my life that proved it: my great husband and my three beautiful children.  As you can guess, that comfort didn't last for long.  In a way I'm glad my misplaced security was tested.  My faults have become extremely clear to me.  I'm sinful at my very core. I'm happy to let you in on some of these major faults.

The first one is PRIDE.

The past few months- especially the weeks after Mia's death- left me in a pretty pathetic state.  One day, I talked to my pastor about how I couldn't seem to do anything anymore.  I was trying to keep up with my household and my kids and my husband, all during my acute grief.  It just wasn't working!  And I was very frustrated.  My pride took a serious blow.  Of course, I have since learned that this is very common.  I've witnessed people in acute grief wandering around aimlessly, unable to accomplish anything.  Their emotions overload their brain and decrease their ability to function normally.

My pastor told me to focus on doing ONE thing at a time.  And so I decided on one thing.  I looked at an empty glass on my kitchen counter and focused only on filling it with water.  So I walked across the room and filled the glass.  I smiled and felt pretty ridiculous.  I did something else with the same laser-like focus and felt pretty good at having finished two things.  Eventually it snowballed where I could do a fraction of what I had previously been doing.

Three months later, I still am not up to my pre-loss capacity to accomplish things.  I've had to give up a lot of my pride.  And, you know, it actually feels good.  I've had a free-pass to bow out of the race for perfection.  I have accepted help from people when I thought I should have just risen to the challenge and did it myself.  It was hard to admit that, yes, I needed help.  I received meals from people.  I let my sister clean my toilets for me.  I let a friend vacuum my very dirty floors.  And now it's actually refreshing to let people know that I still can't do it all.

Of course, I have a pretty good excuse.  But I see women who are trying to do/have it all: a perfect house, perfect kids, a perfect husband, perfect hair, perfect nails.  They must be exhausted- I know I was.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  As my husband and I relaxed before bed last night, he told me, "You know, some people don't feel successful unless they measure up to all their friends at the same time."

What's the alternative?  Instead, my comfort could come from my forgiveness through Jesus' sacrifice for sins.  I can lay down my pride because I don't need to earn anything.  My worth is secure in Him.  I want to spend my life serving Him, instead of striving for approval from those around me.  It is so easy, though, to begin finding comfort and approval in lesser things.  It is so hard to admit that I don't have it all together- can't have it all together.  And never have had it all together.  What's worse is that I pretended that I could.

I'm hoping that as I travel this difficult journey, pride is one thing that I lose.  Our pride can isolate us and it can keep us from true peace.  I need to remind myself of Matthew 11:28-30:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

God shoulders the work with us.  He doesn't expect us to do it all on our own.

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