Thursday, March 31, 2011

That Nasty Five-Letter Word—Pride

Thursdays – Dawn’s Devotions for Writers

“A man's pride brings him low, but a man of
lowly spirit gains honor.”
(Proverbs 29:23 NIV)

Pride. It’s a nasty five-letter word.

I’m not referring to healthy pride—the kind that motivates a person to do a good job while performing a task. I’m talking about the kind that causes people’s unwillingness to admit to being wrong—the kind that builds walls between people, and between people and God. It’s destructive.

I think most of us like to be right. And we rather be praised than told to do something better—or even over. After all, we’re human. Our pride can make us feel defensive. It can even make us feel bad about ourselves. “I should have done better.”

I was raised to be a perfectionist. Nothing less than my best has ever been acceptable. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve strived to not be so hard on myself, but it’s not always easy to put pride in its proper place.

Recently, I was tested on my willingness to set aside my pride. I had to make the choice of admitting to a client that I had made several errors while editing his work, or keeping quiet. The errors were small—nothing he’d catch—but in good conscious, I couldn’t let it go. I contacted him, explained, and apologized.

Since then, he’s come to me for additional advice pertaining to his work and publishing, and again I’ve had to swallow my pride in several areas. But my honesty has resulted in blessings. He no longer thinks of me as a service provider, but as a friend and sister in the Lord. I cannot tell you how much that means to me. I’m overwhelmed by his trust.

Does pride ever get in your way?

There are writers who leave critique groups because they aren’t willing to receive constructive feedback. They only want to hear praise about their story and writing. The cost? They stop growing in knowledge and skills in the craft.

There are writers who refuse to listen to the advice of respected editors and agents. Their manuscripts don’t sell because they won’t make necessary changes. Pride gets in the way because they believe they know best.

There will always be authors who write better, write more, and have a larger fan base. If a friend or critique buddy progresses further or faster in a writing career than you, will you let pride stand in the way of your relationship? Will you become resentful of that writer’s success?

“He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble” (Luke 1:52 NIV). Lay down destructive pride, and let our Lord lift up and bless you.

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