I’ve had to ponder an awkward moment recently. A lady I know from the Youth Horseman Club my family belongs to asked me if I had finished my book yet. I told her I had and she asked if I had copy she could look at. I gave her a copy and a few hours later, she came up to me and excitedly said, “You must be so proud of yourself.” It was an awkward moment because I didn’t respond. I began thinking about that. Unless I’m really anxious, I’m not one to just blurt out an impulsive response. The moment passed and probably due to the awkward nature of my silence, she went on to something else. Because I don’t know her so well, it bothered me as I processed the day later. “What did she think? It was so unnatural.” I pondered it of course…and I’m stunned that I don’t feel proud. I SHOULD BE so proud of myself. I SHOULD be walking around “with the Big-Head” for awhile. But, I didn’t feel PROUD…and I still don’t!
Rather than feeling proud, I feel like I have accomplished something. I worked my butt off, I labored….I put in THOUSANDS of hours. I worked hard, so I accomplished something. For some reason, that doesn’t equate to feeling proud of myself. I earned it, it didn’t come easy…I accomplished something. I put in the hours, I got something done. I feel “even”…not proud.
I also feel like it was in the realm of something I could do, that I had skills for…so it was an expected outcome…
The other thing I thought about is that I strongly dislike people who are “so proud of themselves.” Their pride is usually ugly…it often involves devaluing others. They feel superior to others…I don’t feel superior to others…I feel like I worked my tail off and I got something done. If everyone worked their tail off, they’d get something done. It’s not a matter of being superior to others…it’s a matter of being focused and dogged determined to get something done.
I also think about this project as being God-driven…and many times, I experienced it to be a “not me” experience…a “where did that come from” experience. Sometimes, I’d finish writing a section and fall back in my chair…and I’d say, “God, that was good.” Then, recognizing what had just happened, my next thought was usually, “God…that was good! That was awesome! That was really great! Thank you, God.” I had the moment of realization that what just went through my head and onto the computer screen…DID NOT originate in MY head! I recognized who authored the passage! In case I lost you here, I recognized that God wrote the really great parts of the book, not me. So, I don’t feel proud…I just feel like I put in the labor…that I worked hard!
The other thing I think about…is that God wants me humble. He wants me to love and respect his people…not to put myself on a pedestal…and to consider other people less than me. I think God gave me these types of skills, and these types of experiences, to equip me to do this…and when I accomplish this…that means I have accomplished something that was set out for me to do. It was expected. I don’t feel proud… I feel like I accomplished something I was supposed to do.
Now that I’m finished with the task…God is giving me some rest! I don’t feel driven, I don’t feel pressured, I feel relieved.
People ask me if I’m going to write another one. Though I can’t imagine ever being driven enough or crazy enough to do something like this again…I know it’s down the road for me. “When?” they ask…”When God lays the pressure on me again…and the only peace I get…is by working my tail off.” I’ve told people before that I feel like I was born to work…but at least I get some periods of rest now and then!
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