Pride and Confession - an article for Teen Ink

I've been going to this camp twice a year the past couple of years called World View Plus, and it's become my battery charger for the year. After the first year, I've been a small group leader and God has really challenged me in different ways. I've done some devotions in front, and I'm doing another one this year.

If I could, I'd take an hour and go through everything God has been teaching me lately. But, I only have about 5-10 minutes, so I've been asking what He would like to share in particular. The topic that kept reappearing was pride and arrogance. I know that I've always struggled with pride, in the most stupid ways sometimes. Even when I'm know I'm being a loser or vain or selfish, I'm still proud, and it really affects me in all areas of my life, and not in ways that help. One thing that I've recently learned though, is that no only do I have pride in the way I think, but arrogance too.

Even though I know I'm only seventeen and still learning, and I've tried to keep myself humble, I am very proud of my writing. I stink at essays, but I'm very proud of my creative writing. What doesn't help is that my mom and friends also think I'm very talented. Of course my human nature just loves the praise I get from them and I take every opportunity to flaunt my awesomeness. (Imagine me blushing here.) So I've developed a major pride issue.

That pride has also become arrogance. I assume that I'm going to be good. When I write something, I assume that it's going to sound amazing. What I keep finding out is that I'm really not so awesome and my pride gets hurt. Still, I'm arrogant enough to push it off and think myself good anyway. This has pushed me to think in the same way about other aspect of my life and it hurts others around me because of the way I speak and act. Arrogance isn't just something that rich people might have, it can occur in front of your nose and you won't see it. Pride is something Americans deal with every day, but without a proper check and balance, that pride becomes arrogance, which ends up disrupting your state of mind.

Another side effect of pride is masks. I've developed a tendency to hide myself to the point where even I'm not sure which character is the real me and which are the masks. I've got one for every hour of the day, every situation. This takes away from people knowing me, the person they can/could trust, and it betrays them. I'm betraying them.

Going back to how I'm going to talk about this in my devotion, there's something about confessing yourself to a group of people who support you that is amazing. It's liberating. Not only are you confessing yourself to God, but you are laying yourself out in front of people and willing them to stomp on you. I am so blessed to have amazingly supportive friends so that confessing to them gives me peace. I've gotten tired of all the hiding that I do. I want to be a real person with them, but I can't if I'm being arrogant and wearing masks. I want to tell them all about how awful I am!

It sounds crazy, but giving yourself up as a sinner is not nearly so painful as you might think. I've done it enough times that I just feel relieved to be rid of my secret burdens. God my Father already knows everything that I don't tell others, and willingly letting him know give me peace in my mind and my heart and my soul. Deceitfulness, willful or not, doesn't help your life at all. Living openly is the only way to life peacefully.

It's hard to stay humble, I know. And I suppose I don't sound so humble when I'm telling everyone else to be that way! But I'm just trying to pass along the blessing. My God is amazingly merciful. Even if he wouldn't love me again, I'd still want to confess to him, to pour out myself at his feet and ask for forgiveness. Being forgiven and loved by Jesus is a life that cannot be described with human words. I can only say to turn to the Bible, God's holy word, for more answers. I can only offer suggestions that pale and fade away in comparison to his everlasting wisdom.

I've been wanting to find more ways to show God that I'm really his, that I want to give him praise. I think I'll create a worship dance. There is nothing that would be too humbling or lowly for me to do for my creator. I know that now, and I'm sure I'll be relearning it next week. I'm a sinner and I need God to give me the air I breathe every day. Thank you God, for loving me.