In preparation to write about pride today, I went back through my journal from a year ago. I was actually shocked by how many pages I filled as I studied the book of Job...and realized it could probably translate well to a book proposal, too. (Crazy how I went from zero "real" book ideas a few months ago to at least three currently rolling around in my mind...)
One thing I didn't need to re-read to remember though, was my hesitation to completely align myself with Job. I remember clearly connecting the dots that if I fully aligned myself with Job, I was in for a reprimand at the end. And I didn't want to be wrong.
And that, my friends, is evidence of my pride.
Even though the root of my childhood trauma was out of my control...it wasn't MY sin...over time, I had become self-righteous in my defense. Like Job.
Rather than having a large view of God, I had a large view of my circumstances. Rather than acting from Truth, I reacted out of my depression. I continually found myself traveling between usefulness and uselessness, for instance, I knew suffering had given my faith depth vs. I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!
Job seemed to travel that line, too.
But with that learning came the realization that it was time for me to start owning some "stuff." My adverse childhood experience opened me up to severe spiritual and emotional damage. I desperately needed affirmation. I was terribly critical of myself. I tended to withdraw into myself when I most needed relationship. I would often resort to pure willpower to make it through. I feared being a disappointment.
And until my character and structure were repaired, I would continue to fight spiritual, emotional and cognitive distortions.
Cloud and Townsend say this in their (amazing!) book "Boundaries" -- "Until we can own our boundaries with God, we can't ever change them or allow him to work with them. They are hidden and not communicated. They need to be honestly owned, exposed, and made a part of us. Then, we and God can face the problem."
Job did that.
So that's where I went, too. I cried out in as much honesty as I could muster.
God, I'm MAD about all the struggle I've been through, and I'm mad that you put me there. I feel like I always have to suffer. I expect punishment rather than love. I feel like I'm a pawn. I'm mad that you didn't protect me. I'm angry at being a victim. I'm angry that I'm depressed. I'm TIRED of THIS. I'm tired of being broken.
You say you won't fail or forsake--and yet, I feel like you failed and forsook ME!
I think YOU failed.
At the heart of everything was my belief that God had somehow failed me.
I became self-righteous in my defense.
But here's the thing. Like Job, I am not God.
I can't make it snow. I can't make it rain. I can't make the sun rise every morning. I can't change hearts. I can't form a man from dust.
But God can.
According to Charles Swindoll in his book "Job", the study of Job is at its core the study of God Himself.
"All the way through the story, it is God who captures our attention and makes us wonder. Better stated, He confuses us," says Swindoll.
Swindoll continues to explain that correctly analyzing everything is impossible when it comes to the living and reigning God.
In my confusion about God, I latched on to an incomplete picture of Him that I then applied over and over to many different things. I believed He wasn't acting out of a correct nature in my life. In essence, I thought I could do better.
I let my lack of understanding...my pride...direct my path as truth.
God's methods are NOT like mine. And when I set my way above His, I reduced God to manageable terms. I had thoughts about God that were UNWORTHY of HIM. And I worshiped my manageable god as God. An idol.
It took reading the whole book of Job plus processing at least another week, but I finally decided it was time to claim a HIGH opinion of the Lord. To break the idols. To smash pride. It was time to purify and elevate my concept of God.
It was time to claim a belief in YAHWEH...in I AM WHO I AM.
Today, I urge you to do some idol smashing of your own! Let me tell you, it comes with such relief to agree with Job:
"My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you." (42:5)
May our senses begin to work together to elevate our God!
Even if you have not walked the road of adverse childhood trauma, please don't let that stop you from examining your heart and breaking down idols! Pride is a sneaky dweller, and causes lots of heartache if left unchecked!