It amazes me how little we know about ourselves. I’ve mentioned before that marriage has brought out some less-than-glamorous sides of myself. Through experience, communication, forgiveness, and some help from outsiders, I have been able to find the root of the anger and envy I have felt at times in my life: I am afraid that I'm not enough.
I thank God each day for a patient and devoted husband who simultaneously works on his struggles as we both look to God, answering the call to discipleship. One thing I had never considered, though, was that I am prideful person. I’ve never had too much of a problem extending the olive branch toward reconciliation after an argument. That's humility, right?
This past week I was preparing a talk on spiritual warfare. I stumbled upon an article referencing the anecdotal notes of a Vatican Monsignor who observed the top three sins committed by men and women, as confessed in the confessional. He shares that women tend to struggle most with pride, envy, and anger. Pride?! I was shocked. I knew that pride keeps us from acknowledging that we need God and His Catholic Church. I knew that the anecdote was obedience. I also knew that pride was not a sin I struggled with. WRONG. I could not have been more wrong.
I started reading more about pride and noticed that each article commented on some different facets of the sin. I quickly realized that pride manifests in such subtle ways--presenting with such diversity--that it can be virtually undetectable.
A few indicators that you are consumed with pride:
Hypocrisy: You think you are somehow superior to the majority of the human race. More holy. More intelligent. Quick to judge the soul. You may be a bad listener, always thinking that what you have to say is more important than the person in front of you.
Prayerlessness: You don’t spend time with God in prayer, conforming your life to Jesus. You are so focused on your day-to-day life and goals that you do not stop to acknowledge your nothingness before God. You do not consider that perhaps He has a plan for your life completely different than the one you are pursuing. How can you hear if you don’t listen? How can you grow in goodness if you ignore He who is Good?
People-Pleasing: You care more about what people think than what God thinks.
Entitlement: You complain often. You fall into despair because you think you deserve a life better than the one you have. You allow your self-pity to become an idol, lacking trust in the Lord.
Lack of Obedience: You present as a Catholic but openly speak against Sacred teachings of the Church. If Jesus is God and left us a Church (two basic Catholic Dogmas), then we exist to follow that Church because He is One with Her. You are called to humble submission, not to advance your mission.
I realized this week that each time I compare myself to another woman, thinking that I am less pretty, less faithful, or less intelligent, OR perhaps greater in all of these things, my pride is driving the situation. I am so consumed with fear that I am replaceable that I become envious and angry, putting myself down or puffing myself up. Who I am to determine these things? Who am I to compare? If I were looking to God, I would hear Him telling me how much He loves me.
This week was the first time I confessed my pride, believing that God can heal me, setting me free from worry, fear, comparison, and feelings of inadequacy. The next time I hear that pestering voice that tells me I am not good enough, that my husband doesn’t love me, or that the youth ministry would be better off without me, I resolve to renounce it in the name of Jesus. You should, too!