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Pride.

Pride.

Do you know a know-it-all? The type where they are so sure of their opinions that they actually believe their opinion as fact? Yeah. So do I.

This particular know-it-all and I conflict, hard. We just don’t get along. Her presence alone sends tension up my spine and puts a stern look on my face. I dread when she opens her mouth and cringe when she speaks. But it wasn’t always this way. There was an incident or two … or three, where we disagreed. The more we disagreed on things, the more dislike developed between us.

The thing is, I think this particular person and I are more alike than I really want to admit. We both feel passionately that we will fight hard for the things we believe. This is an admirable trait, except when you get two people with different beliefs where there can only be one solution. Either one must be defeated or you compromise.

That need to be the expert, the right one, the most knowledgable – it pulls us down into a pit of pride we probably would never label as such.

But there’s one really big difference between the two of us. I can look at the situation objectively. I can step outside my need to be right, take a look at the bigger picture, and put my pride aside for the greater good. She cannot. The more she fights her side, the more she believes she is right.

“The less we feel we need to address pride in our lives, the more it has already blinded us.”

Earlier in the book, Uninvited, TerKeurst talks about her experience with a lion. She basically says a lion doesn’t give a shit who you are or what you do, if the lion is hungry, it will eat you. (Except she says it much more eloquently.) I think of the irony that a pack of lions is called a pride, because the behavior is similar.

A person so full of pride doesn’t care who you are or what you do, he or she will “fight you to the death” to prove they are right. TerKeurst says, “The injured lion is the most vicious of all.” And how true is that? Once that prideful person feels they are losing the battle, that’s when the claws really come out.

Pride can be dangerous. (The lion type too.) Typically, we feel the need to boast about ourselves when we feel less than or rejected in some way. Think about that in the sense of the know-it-all who is so prideful that they believe their opinion as fact. They must feel so unfilled in whatever capacity that they are desperately seeking validation and acceptance from others.

Now, I don’t know that these are the reasons why this particular know-it-all is the way that she is. But it makes a lot of sense, and it’s helped me cope with her attitude. Every time she puts up a battle, I think about her need to win the argument. Because really, it’s not about the argument at all.

In the grand scheme of things, if she’s willing to tear others down (or whatever desperate move she makes) to get what she wants, that says a lot more about her than it does about anything else.

Acceptance.

Acceptance.

I love how when you’re paying attention to the little things, you recognize that sometimes those things occur right when you need them to.  

About 6 months ago, I was browsing through the on-sale best sellers at Target.  I was looking for a good book to take with me while I traveled. On a whim, I purchased Uninvited by Lisa TerKeurst, but I didn’t get around to start reading it until the beginning of the year.

I picked up this book to read at a time where the message is one I needed to hear. 

While I have made strides personally and professionally, and am so proud of where I am considering I took the long road to get here, part of me has struggled because my path has been so different from that of my peers.  I’m not married.  I don’t have children.  Many of my friendships have fizzled, because they built families while I returned to school and built a career.  I don’t really know anyone who is in a similar stage of life, and it feels a bit lonely at times. 

“There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a girl chooses to realize that being set aside is actually God’s call for her to be set apart.”

While struggling with depression throughout my youth and adolescence, I remember thinking that there had to be more out of life.  I knew, deep down, that I was going through it for a reason.  There was a purpose for the pain.

TerKeurst says that there are three “little-known gifts of rejection that can work good in your life if you so choose.”

  1. The gift of being made less
  2. The gift of being lonely
  3. The gift of silence

During much of my life, I have succumbed to these three little-known gifts of rejection. It wasn’t until I began my leadership journey that I unknowingly began to embrace these rejections as gifts. And it wasn’t until I read this book that I really understood how all the circumstances in my life have led me to where I am.

When we decrease, God has room to make big things happen.

I’ve spent much of my life feeling less. Humility gives you wisdom, and wisdom prepares you for new challenges.

This will develop in you a deeper sense of compassion for your fellow travelers.

TerKeurst points out that Jesus seems to speak most intimately to those who are lonely. Let me tell you, I’ve had a lot of conversations with Jesus, and I’ve spent a lot of time in silence: thinking, questioning, and listening. Depression embodies those three little-known gifts of rejection.

While reading this book, I learned that my experience with depression has prepared me to become a leader; a leader who is humble and empathic. While deep down I knew there was a purpose, it’s taken me 10 years to learn what it was. After so many years of feeling resentful that all those years of suffering seemed wasted, I’ve actually come to a point of relief.

This final stage of acceptance of the experience has given me a sense of freedom. Freedom of the burden that made me feel depression robbed me the formative years of my life. But it actually did the exact opposite. It shaped me into the person I am, and for that I am so thankful. So although I have not actually suffered from depression in many years, I never felt healed. Until now. Understanding that purpose has made all the difference, and I cannot tell you how truly freeing that is.