People have done this to me all my life. They tell me I'm an inspiration, a good role model for their daughters, a sweet girl that helps restore their hope in my generation.
And lately, when they do, a mask of complimented absence slips down over my face, and I smile and thank them, letting their words slide. In one ear. Out the other.
I'm not saying this because I'm proud. I'm saying it because I need to be humbled. I have an exorbitant amount of pride, and I am learning to despise, more than anything, heartfelt compliments of how great I am.
I am pleased I appear an obvious follower of Jesus Christ. I am glad that people see things in me they want their children to exemplify. I understand when they are compelled to tell me so and to let me know how they feel.
But it's the most difficult thing in the word for me to accept compliments and move on. I allow them to become a curse to me when they were intended as a blessing. I either let them go to my head, and sate my pride of how wonderful I am in a certain area, or I let it make me want to murder myself in cold blood for upholding pretenses of being so great when really I am such a wretched worm when it comes to fill-in-the-blank.
When I receive a compliment about some aspect of my character, it inevitably sets me up for a horrible disaster. I'll smile, and accept it, and think about it. I let it get to my head. I start thinking of what a fabulous person I am, how great I am at A, B, and C. I have it all figured out. Man, I am so brilliant I'm basically Einstein, Shakespeare, John Locke and the Greek philosophers embodied in a teenage girl! The sun hardly outshines my wondrous splendor and glory.
I convince me that we are perfect, essentially.
Cue miserable failure. I fall, violently, and I'm left a broken mess on the dirty floor, bloodied and aching and weeping. "What happened, God? I was doing so great at this. I was doing so well. What is this failure? I'm not supposed to be able to do that! I'm above it! What went wrong?"
I cannot escape it. Every. Time.
Pride. I have way too much.
I build myself up. I revel on that pedestal. I cannot be a more exemplary woman, I think to myself. The plebians do well to acknowledge and praise my incredible nature. I am the epitome of my generation.
Lies, lies, lies, lies, lies.
Where else can I go but down? I'm just a girl. A fallible, human, fallen, confused, self-saturated, mistaken and depraved teenage girl. I am, in the center, a carnal man (in the loosest sense of the word). I am not exemplary except through the incredible, amazing, and all encompassing power of the Cross of Jesus Christ, and He is working things out in me that I cannot imagine.
I struggle with my burning pride and a desire to appear perfect every day of my life. I want to be the one everyone looks to. Self-consumed.
I wrote this out of a simple desire to share my heart. I wrote it, published it, and read all of the lovely comments my beloved readers left. I let them consume me. I agreed with everything. My heart was exalted.
That's how long it took before I fell so far from that place. I hit the ground harder than I ever had before, and it hurt me deeply as I realized I have no business promoting myself or encouraging others to do so. My pride was stabbed and the knife began to turn.
That confused heart of mine has been under attack almost constantly since April 16th, and it has been hard. I have been reduced to tears often, falling to my knees in prayer and crying out from the bottom of my soul. I have been ravaged by thoughts, desires, and preoccupations I have allowed to enter my mind in my pride, in my supposed invulnerability, and it has been painful.
But I am making it.
I have fallen time and time and time again, and the only thing I can fall on is the Word of God. He has kept me at a place of brokenness, drawing me ever closer to Him, as I kick and scream and cry in confusion and an attempt to do my own will. It starts to get better, and I allow myself to drift, and fall so far to the glass-strewn and barbed-wire pit that is my own sin, and He has to pull me up again.
I am so thankful He puts up with me. Without Him, I would not be here today.
I apologize for my pride.
I apologize for my pretenses.
I will probably fail again, but His kindnesses are everlasting and His mercies never failing, and He will always draw me from the painful place that is life in myself.
I am so far from perfect.
Lord, I pray I would not let sin reign in my mortal body, that I should obey it in all of its lusts... for I KNOW it shall not have dominion over me, for I am not under the law but under grace! (Romans 6:12 & 24) I am under grace. Past sins are forgiven, future sins will be blotted out, and present sins are already known. That You would take away my desires, my dreams and wishes and preoccupations and anything not of You, that I might know You more fully. I pray that I would not be anxious for anything, but in everything with all prayer and supplication present them to the One who is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding may reign in my heart, that I might be more fully in love with You (Philippians 4:6-7 & I John 1:9). I still feel the same impatience, the same craving to be pursued and captivating, to be gloriously and rapturously in love. I invite You to take that place in my heart, that I might be so consumed by You, all else is nothing to me. That I would count all loss to love You, Lord!! Lord, I pray this time would not be suffering but a beautiful time of communion with You. Lord, through You I can be all things. Please help me to be Your love until I am called to someone else. If my desires are ill-directed, refer them back to You. If I crave something I ought not, take that back to You. And Lord, if this is something that You would call me to have, show me the way to walk in purity until my desires are fulfilled. I want You to be my lover. Help me see You romancing me. Help assure me You that You are all that I need. You are He, Lord. Help me see!
Just a Man
The Classic Crime
Dripping wet with practiced sincerity,
Cute slogans for intangible mysteries.
You reduce your god (pruned to profit your ego) to a TV commercial,
"Buy what I sell! (advertise, advertise!)" you scream,
"Purchase my lifestyle!"
I once held the key, but now I have nothing.
You are so naive.
I'm sorry for leading you along.
I'm just a man.
Wake me up and wipe the cliche from my eyes.
It's killing me when all I see is hypocrisy and lies.
I know that my faults bring me down, it's a constant battle.
That why I have to be honest with you now...
I'm not your saint, I'm not your savior
I once held the key to everything you ever dreamed of.
Now I have nothing.
I'm sorry for leading you along.
I'm just a man.