I stumbled badly over my pride yesterday, as I have done so many times in the past, and had a good laugh. I saw the ironic humor in my own foolishness and frequent inclination to do things my way instead of God’s way. Will I ever learn?
About a month ago, I had the brilliant idea of writing a book filled with Catholic-focused short stories which would help the reader deepen their faith. My first three books have been well-received and I figured I would experiment and push myself as a writer. I have written a few fictional pieces for ICL, but for some reason I felt this qualified me to tackle an entire book of fiction! Maybe, just maybe, I could be the next Michael O’Brien (my favorite Catholic fiction author)? Wrong.
As I labored for hours over the book proposal for the publisher and wracked my brain about how I would write the book, it became painfully obvious that it was not meant to be. This was confirmed when I sought the counsel of two very candid writer friends who gave me the kind of straight talk which only comes from your true friends who desire what is best for you. I now realize I am simply not a fiction writer (yet). The audience who reads my writing would not necessarily be receptive to a Catholic fiction book from me. My books and articles are a form of ministry and I write to help others and serve Christ, not gratify my ego.
It is clear now that I fell into the trap of stubbornly doing what I wanted and allowing my pride to run amok rather than humbly praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Instead of seeking God’s will in prayer, I was asking Him to validate a decision I already made. I know better.
Having been in this spot before and reflecting on all the learning opportunities I have experienced over the years, you would think I’d have this figured out. But, pride is a constant companion and a dangerous one who seeks to assert itself at every opportunity. I recall the decades I spent in the “spiritual wilderness” before coming into the Church. On a September Sunday at my first Mass in 2005, I experienced a “Saul on the road to Damascus” moment which was life-changing for me. I was finally able to surrender to Christ and let go of 20+ years of pride and ego. I gave up control to Him and received back immediately a source of strength which I can only describe as an unquenchable fire inside my heart.
Surrendering control and praying for humility is not easy and there will be countless challenges and slip ups, but we must try every day. Despite my lapse yesterday with the flawed book idea, I am grateful that I am able to slow down, reflect and recognize my failure and sin. I am grateful and hopeful that I will learn from the experience. Maybe this is a sign of spiritual growth? I pray it is.
So what does this most recent brush with my prideful side tell me? It reminds me that praying for humility every day is necessary. It reminds me that surrender and conversion is ongoing, and not a one-time event. It makes me appreciate even more those candid friends who are unafraid to speak the truth. It makes me grateful for the Sacrament of Reconciliation where I can confess my sins and be made whole. I am most grateful for a forgiving God who loves me.
How will you deal with your prideful moments when you encounter them today?
Looking for a Catholic Speaker? Check out Randy’s speaker’s page and the rest of the ICL Speaker’s Bureau.
Randy Hain, Senior Editor and co-founder of The Integrated Catholic Life™, is the author of The Catholic Briefcase: Tools for Integrating Faith and Work which was released by Liguori Publications. The Catholic Briefcase was voted the Best Catholic Book of 2011 in the About.com Catholicism Reader’s Choice Awards.
Randy Hain’s exciting new book, Along the Way: Lessons for an Authentic Journey of Faith was released by Liguori Publications in November, 2012. Along the Way was recently named Runner-Up in the About.com Catholicism Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Catholic Book of 2012. Learn more here. His third book, Something More: A Professional’s Pursuit of a Meaningful Life, was released in February, 2013. All of Randy Hain’s books can also be purchased at your local Catholic bookstore, Amazon or www.liguori.org.
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Thank you! – The Editors