Prideful thoughts are kind of like mice. You know they’re there, but must of the time they stay hidden. Until one day that prideful thought grows a little too confident and goes public, like a sleek, fat mouse, suddenly waltzing across your kitchen in broad daylight like he owns the place.
This is not just a squeaky metaphor folks. It’s an all-too-accurate picture of my own life. Both pride and mice have revealed themselves to me this month in a big way.
I’ve never thought of myself as a very prideful person (I know – denial is a sure sign it’s a problem). I’d figured out my main weakness was more along the lines of fear, and pride didn’t rule me like some people. In fact, I felt like it was such a non-issue, I would occasionally ask the Lord to reveal areas of pride, just so I could feel a little more normal and have something to repent about in that area. Wow — writing this out is making it rather obvious this was a bigger problem than I thought.
And then I went to Relevant. And learned about the concept of Upside-Down blogging. And I was smack in the middle of a community of passionate, God-following women for a whole weekend. And I was being my normal, ditzy, short-fused self, and I couldn’t hide it from my roommates. Or myself. Any longer.
Pride was alive and well in my heart.
You see, I hadn’t realized until then how much the cultural messages in the blogosphere had affected my blogging. All the advice about growing stats, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), finding your writing voice, networking, monetizing, and otherwise taking your blog seriously had disguised themselves as wisdom. I’d bought into it hook, line, and sinker. Whoops – mixing metaphors here. Let’s try, Cheese, Bait, and Trap. I said I wanted to honor God with my blog, with my online presence, but I was completely caught up in the way the world does blogging. Nearly everything I did online was centered around making myself look good, self promotion, and getting more people to think I was awesome enough to subscribe to.
Now, a lot of this was because I was trying to sell a book, and conventional wisdom said this was how one made money. And we needed money! But I was forgetting the God-factor. Yes, there were things I could prudently do to put my book out there. But stressing like I was and acting like it was all up to me — well, that was an entire lack of trust and a whole lot of pride.
And finally, just like the mice in my kitchen, my pride got bold enough to come out in the open.
It was on the drive home from Relevant with my roommate. We were just miles from the hotel when I made my first navigational error, causing us a 10 min. detour, confusion, and sweaty palms.
And anger. At myself. Why could I not just get from point A to point B without getting lost – even just once? The 30 min. ‘detour’ we took on the way down was enough to keep me humble, wasn’t it?
I expressed to my dear roomie my frustration, and in doing so realized how much I wanted to impress her with my navigational skills on the way home, if only to prove that they weren’t as bad as it had appeared on the trip down. Right there is where I saw the mouse – I mean, the pride. And suddenly, it was everywhere – it was in my appearance, it was in my conversation, it was in my blogging, it was in every relationship – it was an infestation!!!
I was overwhelmed. And that’s when my dear, sweet, roomie spoke words of wisdom that have given me direction as I try to deal with the infestation. She said,
“I always tell my kids, ‘embrace every opportunity to humble yourself, for if you don’t, God will have to do it for you, and that is a lot more painful.’”
Right there she gave me the secret to trapping the pride so I could toss it out of my life. Embracing humility means throwing down the mask of having it all together – in front of your friends, your husband, your kids, or the blogosphere. It means repenting openly and frequently when you recognize sin. It means trusting God with your reputation, your future, and your stats.
For me it means – no more worrying about subscriber count, if my writing is unique enough to get me noticed, or if my post fits the formula to go viral. It means just being myself here on my blog, and trusting that God will accomplish His purposes, with or without my harried attempts at fame. It means from now on I’m going to write what He leads, as honestly and openly as I can, with the simple, yet worthy goal of encouraging whoever comes my way. And praying daily and sincerely that He would continue to humble me and cleanse me from pride and all unrighteousness, which is His promise to those who confess their sin. (1 John 1:9)
Thank you for joining me on this journey. For coming to visit me even though the occasional vermin peaks his head around the dishwasher while we’re trying to converse. I’m doing my best to deal with the mice, and the pride.
P.S. Anyone have any tips for trapping the mice? They are not at all interested in peanut butter in the traps – I think there is just too much great food available, risk free, around the toddler’s chairs in the dining room…eeek!