That lead me to thinking WHY is it so UNnatural to not be self focused? Why is it so difficult for me to just LET someone cut in front of me without getting angry or annoyed? What is it in me that says, "That TICKS me off! They can't do that to me!" or "You don't talk to ME like that!" I think that is what is called PRIDE. Pride goes hand in hand with DESERVE. I've found myself thinking at times, "Well I deserve this...I've worked hard for it". But others have worked twice as hard and gotten much less.
We take pride in our education.....but how much did we really have to do with that? We went to the college our parents sent us to or one we could afford. Maybe we got a scholarship? But how much do we have to do with our own intelligence? We worked hard and took advantage of opportunities. But who put those opportunities in our path and who gave us the wisdom to recognize those opportunities?
We take pride in our appearance.....but did we have anything to do with the genetics that gave us the face and body we have? If I'm told my eyes are pretty, what do I have to be proud of? I had nothing to do with the color, shape or appearance of my eyes. Thankful for the compliment? Absolutely! Proud? Of what? We could take pride in our athletic accomplishments, but again, who gave us a body with that athletic ability? Sure, we train, practice and are disciplined....but ultimately, do we REALLY have anything to do with our muscle make up, physical ability, or athleticism?
We take pride in our talents.....but who gave us those talents? Some can sing beautifully and that could be a great source of pride. But who gives voice to sing? Again, one could argue, "Well, I took a lot of lessons and worked really hard." But how many others with beautiful voices have no money for lessons? Drawing, writing, sewing? All of those talents are God given, not earned, but given and EVERYONE has been given talents with no one's being more important than anyone else's.
We take pride in our country....but did we choose where we were born? Let's be honest. If I were born in Norway, I'd probably be PROUD to be Norwegian. We were born where we were born to a citizenship not of our choosing (most of us). And while there are many who CHOSE to come to the US and become a citizen, who gave them opportunity to even consider such a thing? Is any person's citizenship a greater source of pride than another's? I'm no different than a woman in a remote Brazilian tribe. Neither of us CHOSE where we were born.
We take pride in our kids. Ahhh...now THERE'S something we can take pride in right? I mean, WE raised them. They make straight As, we can stick out our chests and say, "Yup! That's my kid!" But how much of their intelligence can we really take credit for? How many kids are born in horrendous conditions and go on to achieve great things? So can THEY take credit for overcoming their dysfunctional upbringing? Again, who gave them their intellect? Who gave them opportunities to have a life that offers more than poverty?
We take pride in our possessions. Our big homes. Our nice cars. Our designer purses. Our jewelry. Our toys. But AGAIN....why are we even able to have those things? If we lived in any third world country and worked twice as hard as we do now, we probably wouldn't even come close to having a fraction of our possessions. So what is there to be proud of?
And maybe sometimes we take pride in our charity, how much we give to others. How much we DO for others. But where did the resources come from with which to give to others?
So why are we so proud? Why am I so proud? Hopefully, the next time I want to hold my head up in pride over something that I've accomplished or have, I'll just say, "Thank you Jesus!" instead! Because, I guess I'm coming to realize that gratitude is everything and pride is foolish. And there's really nothing for me to be PROUD about. Thankful for? Well that's a different story! How much time have we got?!