When I was 11, I had a crush on a boy that lived nearby. Let’s just call him, Greg.
Greg was three years older than me and when you’re an 11-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy seems like the coolest person on the planet. I thought he was a super cute but he had never even noticed me.
One summer evening, my Mom and I were coming home from my piano lesson. It was getting dark and had rained earlier that day. When we pulled into the driveway, I could not believe my eyes! Greg was standing in my backyard!
My Dad and Greg’s Dad were friends. That evening, Greg and his Dad had stopped by to talk to my Dad about some farm equipment.
An important part of this story comes from the fact that I grew up on a farm where I spent most of my days outside. I had a rectangle-shaped trampoline in my back yard that I jumped on a lot and I was pretty good at doing flips.
You need to remember that this was back in the ‘80s when there was no such thing as a NET around a trampoline nor was there padding around the metal frame.
No sir! That is not the way we did things back then. Safety was not really that important.
Us ’80’s kids just got on that rectangle springy device and jumped and flipped and laughed. Sometimes, we would fall off and smack ourselves right onto the ground. No worries, though. In our perseverance, we would get right back up and go at it again. It’s a wonder any of us survived the ‘80s!
Well, on this particular evening, when I saw Greg in my back yard, I quickly devised a plan.
As soon as my Mom parked the car, I told her that I needed to go talk to Daddy. I ran out to where they were standing, and in an effort to try to impress Greg, I said with confidence in my voice, “Hey—I can do flips on that trampoline over there. Want to see?”
He said, “ok”, so off we went. I got on the trampoline with complete self-assurance!
This was my chance!
As Greg stood on the ground in front of me, I started jumping. I put everything I had into that moment and jumped higher than ever. I wanted it to be the best flip I had ever done. When I felt the moment was right, I gave it all I had and I did my flip.
I flipped so fast and strong that I over-flipped. My toes hit the damp trampoline mat and I lost control. My body flung forward right towards Greg. I let out a loud scream as my face fell towards the edge of the trampoline. My mouth hit the large green metal post that held the springs in place as my body did another flip over that bar. I landed flat on my back right where Greg was standing.
This was not the magical moment I had envisioned.
There I was, lying flat on the ground with Greg looking down on me. “Are you ok?” he asked with nervousness in his voice.
I was shocked, embarrassed and mortified about what just happened. I tried to salvage my pride by jumping up to my feet. I knew by the pain I felt in my mouth that something bad had happened to my teeth.
It was dark, so I could not tell if I was bleeding or not, so I got real close to Greg’s face, opened my mouth and said, “Is it bleeding?”
He did not answer me, but instead, just looked at me in horror. In a panic, I asked again, only this time, louder, “I said is it bleeding?” He looked at me like I was some kind of monster and said, “you might want to go inside.” I ran inside and looked in the mirror. It was a bad sight.
My two permanent front teeth were hanging by their roots and blood was everywhere.
Needless to say, the hope I had for Greg to fall in love with me that evening went right down the drain as I headed with my Mom and Dad for an emergency dental visit. Thankfully, and miraculously, the dentist was able to save my teeth.
My whole point of running out to see Greg that evening was because I liked him and I wanted to prove to him that he should like me too. I wanted to impress him with my skills and I wanted him to notice me.
My actions were driven by my pride.
God teaches us in His Word that we are to be humble, not prideful. We are to position ourselves rightly before Him and others. It is not a prideful spirit that brings honor, but instead, it is a humble spirit that obtains it! (Proverbs 29:23).
Plain and simple. God hates pride.
To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. ~Proverbs 8:13
In almost every example of pride that we see in the Bible there is a link to failure, not success. God resists those who are prideful, but he gives favor to those who are humble. (Proverbs 3:34)
My friend, don’t let your pride prevent you from living the life God intends for you to live. Humble yourself before Him. Humble yourself before others. Consider their needs above your own. Forgive quickly. Love deeply and serve Jesus wholeheartedly. Do not be motivated by impressing people. Be motivated by the love and humility of Jesus.
That night back in 1985, I think I lived out Proverbs 16:18 which says: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” I learned a big lesson through that experience. Today, I am no longer doing flips on trampolines and I am keeping Micah 6:8 close to my heart. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Grateful for you!