I made a decision after writing my last post--from now on, no more fear. Not one more time will I write and be so worried about what others may think that I have trouble discerning what it is that I have to say. Because you know what feels downright incredible? When I finish a post, and I click that little orange publish button, and I feel proud.
That's right, squirming Christians.
Let us consult Merriam-Webster for just a moment.
You see that? Two of the three definitions refer to feeling happy and pleased. I asked Jesus, and there ain't nothing wrong with feeling happy and pleased nor making others feel that way.
Ok, some of you are freaking out. It's ok. Stick with me.
In all seriousness, yes, God hates pride. But God hates a specific kind of pride--it's that third kind, the kind wherein we think we are the shit. Or, for my sensitive souls, the kind wherein we think we are all that. We suppose we're better or more important than others. The beauty of enjoying who God made us to be and, as a result, doing something we're good at and enjoy blurs into thinking maybe we get to take the credit. God made me so great that he doesn't just prefer me; he needs me more than others he made. Especially them and those people and her. And honestly, I think I can kind of outdo God, so while it's for his glory, sure, I don't really need him all that much.
That, my dears, is some ugly-ass pride that has nothing to do with the Jesus who laid his life down daily and then ultimately. Guess what? We all do it. You can think you don't, but it's there, be it unabashed or hidden under layers of your pursuit of holiness.
|Was something ever *more* me?|
[click the pic to buy this in grammyshop on Etsy!]
[[Um, buy it for me if you want. My birthday is in exactly one week. I'm just sayin'.]
Most people who automatically think, "Pride? BAD," are likely mentally referencing teaching based on Proverbs 21:4, which says,
Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
Now, yeah, haughty? Yuck. But where it says "proud" heart, some versions insert "arrogant" instead. "Arrogant" always carries the connotation of better than, because that's what it actually means. To be arrogant is sin, whereas "proud" can also refer to the not-necessarily-sinful feelings of being happy and pleased about something we did.
Funny how Christians can take a word and strip it of its full meaning and just ascribe to it the meaning that fuels their own agenda, so that the very word itself almost becomes evil. And think about it, if you identify as a follower of Christ, how often do you say you were proud of something? What about others around you? When's the last time you heard a very serious about their faith Christian say they were proud of something they did? Sometimes we make this weird exception in which we are proud of our kids or spouse or a friend who did a hard thing (or, you know, dropped their deuce on the potty, for which I really hope only refers to toddlers), but, duh, humility means only maybe sometimes being proud of others, never yourself.
I'm done with that. It's ok to lean into what I love and feel called to do, to seek the Lord and ask that my offering of words might truly be for his glory, and then to pour my passion into these posts and feel proud when I publish them. I worried for so long that someone would read my work, see that I actually cared enough about what I said to be proud of it, and then "tsk, tsk" me for my lack of holiness. As though I were letting God down to actually hone my gift/talent/craft into something that I could stand by and say, "Yeah, that's mine," and feel good about it the same way I feel when I read someone else's words and they feed my soul and set my gaze upon my savior.
We can be straight--the "tsk, tsk"-ers are out there. But you know what I forgot?
I forgot to ask God if he is "tsk, tsk"-ing me. If he thinks I'm gross when I feel good about what I wrote.
So, I asked him. I got my eyes off of how I could present myself in a way that might make me look humble and actually humbled myself to ask God what he thought.
He said, "Write on, baby girl." And he was proud of me.
Because I'm his daughter and he loves me. And, insofar as I can tell, I still care a hell of a lot more that you walk away from my words more enamored with Jesus, this superior giver of love and grace and peace and security whom I cannot keep to myself, than you ever are with me. If you want to like me, great. But if you think, "She was kinda meh, but damn, I never realized Jesus was like that and I'm pretty sure I can't stay the same in thinking he's kind of a jerk," because you read something I wrote? And you're less scared God's tensed up and ready to whack you, instead more certain that his arms are open toward you in the same welcoming stance he took when his crucified son entered into his presence after rising from the grave?
I can feel happy and glad about that. That's why I write, and if I think something I wrote is accomplishing the purpose for which I wrote it?
I can be proud of that.