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I attended fellowship and someone alluded to the fact that I was being proud and/or showing signs of pride. Pride can be subjective and so I reached out to a friend (who is always straight with me) to ask if she thought I was proud. You see, I can’t always trust myself because I am aware it is very easy to be blind-sided and get in my own way. I have a group of inner circle friends who I call upon for accountability. Her response, “Ah, come on. No, you are not. I know when pride shows up in you (and so do you) but on this one, you are not. Seriously”. I read a lot and decided to do further research on pride. One of the books I read stated that the most prideful people aren’t usually the bragging arrogant types. They’re the nice friendly helpful ones.

I take pride very seriously and pray consistently to ensure that I don’t get blindsided by this vice. Back then, God seemed far away from me and the closer I tried to get to Him, the more I felt as though He was resisting me. That was when I realised that the root cause of God resisting me was pride. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. It was clear that the Lord was resisting me. Could it be that God is resisting you in your relationships or business or church or whatever area of your life?

Like I said last week, pride comes from a place of insecurity and for most of us, that is where it breeds. So how do you know if your insecurity is leading you to having an unhealthy focus on yourself?

1: Do you compare yourself constantly with others? Of course, you do! You are only human after all. You and I have lots to learn from other people but insecure people aren’t driven so much by the desire to learn as they are by the desire to know whether they are better or worse than others. Maybe you don’t feel great about yourself. Now, tell yourself as a source of comfort that at least you are not as badly off as some other people. What pride now does is that it compels you to pick out people to convince yourself that you are superior. You are not driving a BMW, but your car is not as dented or scratched as your brother in laws. You select people who, in your mind, assure you that you are brighter, richer, faster or more attractive. Virtually every ad on TV today is designed to do two things; first, convince you that your life does not stack up favorably to the general population and secondly, persuade you that XY’s offering will make your life so much better. This then leaves you feeling inadequate. The cycle is insidious.
2: Is your self-worth determined by your latest performance? This is a challenge for all of us who are driven by results, which clearly includes me. I’m addicted to progress. If things are not moving up and moving on, I become quickly alarmed. In some ways, this approach is good but, in some ways, it can warp your sense of security. One sure sign of insecurity is that your opinion of yourself rises and falls with how you perform on what others say about you. Your identity should be more secure than your latest result. For many of us, this is not the case. How do you know if your sense of identity is tethered to your performance? As Tim Keller put it “when work is your identity, success goes to your head and failure goes to your heart”. I know I know….should I then just throw my hands up and give up, you may be asking? After-all, progress makes life better. There is a difference between taking things seriously and taking things to heart. Secure people take things seriously, they just don’t take them personally anymore. They realize who they are and what they do are separate things.
3: Do you squeeze gifted people out of your life? Pride does not make room for the giftings of others. You’ll find yourself drifting away from your highly successful sister in family settings, not wanting to engage her in conversations beyond “hello”. You will be drawn to friends who are less achieving than you are so that you end up with the best stories and feel superior by comparison. If your social circles, however, include others who have accomplished more than you, you’ll find yourself deeply envious of them and critical of them behind their backs. Prideful people always feel a need to be the most talented or skilled. As a result, the number of gifted people around them is much lower than it is around people who are secure and less obsessed with themselves. Ask yourself, how comfortable am I around people I think are better than me even at the things I am good at? That will give you a fair measure of your insecurity.
4: Do you want some say in everything? Proud people end up being controlling people. If insecurity drives you, you will always want to add your little bit of knowledge, insight nor even an anecdote to everyone’s else’s story. It will not feel complete if other people get the spotlight and you get overlooked. You may even tend to be a know-it-all, whether you really are knowledgeable or just making stuff up to trump others in the conversation. When you value the counsel and input of others, especially on the things you are best at, you embark on a path towards greater wisdom.

Can you relate to this article? Are there things here that are staring you in the face and saying this is ME? For you to be a leader, you must first be in a position to lead yourself first, which means calling yourself out where you fall short. The first step to healing is acceptance. I always say, what you don’t confess you cannot change. To be clear, we will never completely conquer pride but if we know what it looks like when it flares up, we can knock it back down before too much damage is done. If doctors can’t recognize the signs of cancer, then they’ll never know how to help. Unless you know what is ailing you, you will never be able to seek treatment for it. This is the same case here.

If you need help walking the journey to knowing who you are and why you are here, please reach out to us. It would be our pleasure to serve you.