The Burden of Pride

Have you ever seen “Pulp Fiction”? Do you know that scene where Marsellus is talking to Butch and making arrangements for him to take a dive in the fifth round of a fight? Well one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard about pride comes from that scene. Marsellus says, “The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride f***ing with you. F**k pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.”

I’ve tried my whole life to be humble and not ever put myself up above anyone else. Sometimes, though, I forget myself but life is real quick to knock me back down to size. To say the last two years have been difficult  would be a massive understatement and I recognize my own pride has a lot to do with my current demise. I was raised that you don’t expect or take anything from anyone; if you want or need something, you work your ass off to get it. My parents both have worked extremely hard to make sure we were well provided for and I have carried that example my whole life and hope to be showing my own children the same example. I have, at times, taken that life lesson too far.

Don’t misunderstand me. I think having a certain amount of pride is a necessary and good thing. You want to take pride in the work you’re doing in order to do a good job. My children, as with most of us who are parents, are a great source of pride for me. I am proud of my family and all that we’ve accomplished by sheer grit and determination. There are healthy amounts of pride but too much can lead to a fall and as someone who’s fallen off the pride pedestal, I can tell you – the fall hurts.

Pride has kept me from reaching out when I really, truly need it. Pride has led me to do things and buy things that I didn’t need in order to keep up appearances or satisfy my own selfishness. Pride is a bully that robs us of the blessing of needing others. We are communal creatures by nature but I have managed to create a solitary existence for myself over the past two years. I’ve isolated myself from friends and even family because I don’t want anyone to see the pain that I’m going through or the needs that aren’t being met. I’m working on breaking out of that pattern but it is a scary, painful process because opening yourself up means being vulnerable and I hate being vulnerable.

Recently, my job messed up my pay and it is going to hit me where it hurts; my pocketbook. I’ve had friends and family reach out to try and help me but I can’t bring myself to accept their offers of aid. Why, you ask? Why would a single mom, a truly single mom with no outside assistance, not let someone help her? Pride. I don’t want to be beholden to anyone and I feel like accepting help often brings with it a certain responsibility and I’m just not up to accepting that responsibility right now. It is infuriating to me when I see someone asking for help, receive help, then turn around and blow through money on crap we all know isn’t necessity. Then 9 times out of 10 they repeat the same pattern month after month, year after year.

My little brother called me last night to try and get me to accept some help for him. In classic Lacie style, I refused. I tried to explain it to him but I don’t know that I succeeded. I know I’m doing things now that aren’t financially responsible like going to an event in DFW this weekend and a concert planned for next month. How can I accept money from someone when I know I’m not cutting out things that aren’t the necessities? I think that would be pretty selfish of me but maybe I’m letting pride get in the way. I don’t know.

I have learned to lean on others for support to a degree. I am very fortunate to live next door to my parents because they help me care for my kids so I can hold down a job and provide for my family. It has been hard to even accept that and I feel like I am a burden to them all the time. Even going out with friends on a Saturday night is hard for me to do because I know they already do so much for me and I hate asking for one more favor. Recently my granddad offered to help pay for my son’s preschool tuition and accepting that was like chewing glass but I know it is for my son so I will swallow my pride and do whatever I have to do to make sure he is given every opportunity.

Part of the reason I don’t like taking help is because when I was in college I did accept help, against my better judgment, and found out very quickly help frequently comes with strings attached. I don’t like strings. I am fiercely independent to the point of flat out rebellious and if you tell me I’m going to do XXX, I can pretty much guarantee you I’m going to do YYY. Pride does that to a person. It makes you feel like you probably know better than they do. It has hindered my relationship and growth in my walk with Christ. It has caused me to do things to hurt the people closest to me. I’m going through a rebellious phase right now. I know in my head that is ridiculous and that the Lord’s way is always better than my way, and yet I keep forging my own path even though I know it’s destructive.

Pride. Ugh. I know it led to the fall of Lucifer and yet I still keep holding on to that shred of pride that keeps me from allowing others to intervene. It is a dangerous thing; fire that we all play with even though we know we’re going to get burned. I’m praying the Lord will help me to rein in my pride but that is a scary prayer to pray because I’m afraid of the fall. So what do you do? You pray, you get in the Word, you take your own damn advice and quit forging your own path because you know God’s way, however painful and uncomfortable it might be, is the right way. You show your children that sometimes, to be weak is to be strong and to accept help, well, that’s okay too.

Stay salty, friends,

Lacie

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