Now I wouldn't normally categorize myself as impatient, stubborn and unteachable, but pride has a funny way of manifesting itself. There's a reason pride is known as the seventh deadly sin; the worst, and the cause for them all; a literary theme used from mythology to Milton's "Paradise Lost" and Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus;" and a trait associated most strongly with Hitler's narcissism. And, if the Greeks or British poets had an epic about me, pride would be my folly.
On my journey to sanctification, pride has a particular hold on me. It usually rears its head when it comes to sports. While my sport of choice and my talents are in running, my pride feels that I'm the best at every sport. My pride took a turn for the worst this winter while I learned to snowboard.
My husband, KJ, is a boarder, and I thought it would be nice to learn to board so we would have a fun activity to do together. Now, I realize snowboarding is extremely difficult to learn, but my pride felt that in day one, I'd become Shaun White. Sadly, I did not become Shaun White. I became impatient, stubborn and unteachable.
...with myself. Through my snowboarding experience, I realized the same grace I extend towards others, the same grace God extends towards me, I truly don't extend towards myself. I've begun to realize this is present in several aspects of my life, not just with physical ability.
I have this expectation of what and who I should be and if I don't meet this expectation immediately, I shame myself for being less than, instead of realizing I am exactly who He created me to be. I am who I am for a reason. I am not perfect. I am a sinner, but I am a sinner on a journey to be more like Him. And if I was perfect, I would have no need for a Savior who extends His grace.
...when I kept falling. I literally experienced Proverbs 16:18, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." There were MANY falls and even a bruised bone or two. I decided to will myself to stay upright, but in actuality, it made staying upright even harder. I was focusing on my shortcomings, even though I was a newbie, and by focusing on these shortcomings - on my falls - I truly wasn't experiencing the fun of snowboarding.
In fact, my attitude was the exact opposite of the essence of a snowboarder. A snowboarder is unconcerned, is "chill" and focuses on the joy of riding and being in nature. My attitude was the exact opposite of the essence of Christianity. A Christian should yield to teaching, willing to learn and focus on others, instead of self.
...and was not enjoyable to be around. Whatever humbleness I possessed wasn't making itself known on the mountain. Despite being a newbie, I decided I knew everything and needed no help from the teachers or other boarders, including KJ.
After two-and-a-half days, a major wipeout and a short crying session on the mountain, I decided to shed my pride. I've never had as much fun in my life than on the mountain! And despite my Texas roots, the colorful Colorado has stolen my heart. See, once I decided to stop focusing on myself, I was able to enjoy the process: the newness and excitement of freshly groomed runs and making it down the mountain with only three major wipeouts. To laugh every time I fell while getting off the lift. To see the joy in KJ's eyes while he does something he loves. And to experience God's beautiful creation in the form of a winter wonderland.
I realized that I love snowboarding, despite the bruised bones and the falling. In fact, I love it so much that I've got my eye on my own board, boots and bindings, and KJ and I have started making a bucket list of the places we want to board together (it includes Whistler Blackcomb, Canada; Hokkaido, Japan; Lake Tahoe, California; and Wanaka, New Zealand). I realized pride was holding me back from truly experiencing this life God has blessed me with.