Pride

 

He was telling me

Get your ego out of the way

Music, art and book

Are for you to heal yourself

Heal yourself so you can be a better teacher

Teach from the center of who you are

 

~ He Was Telling Me by Juliet A. Wright

copyright 2013, all rights reserved

 

 

I sometimes struggle with pride. I want people to respect me. I want to get what I think I deserve.

 

To me, pride means that I want to be noticed by others and important to myself and other people. I want to matter.

 

My pride often rears its ugly head when I’m at work. When this happens, I want to be heard, recognized, respected, obeyed, honored, noticed, and loved. I want my students to follow directions and do it my way. My pride leads me to want control over my situation and others.

 

Sometimes I feel like the universe is telling me to swallow my pride, humble myself, submit, be obedient, stick my head in the sand, and just deal with it. My inner child doesn’t like that. She did that her whole life. She feels like she works hard and wants to be recognized. She wants to be right, loved, justified, and perfect.

 

Usually I start feeling like this when I’m working too hard and not taking care of myself. I start losing track of where I end and my job begins. My job and I become intertwined and pretty soon I think I’m my job. This happened to me last fall, when school was at its busiest. What follows is an account of one of those terribly hectic weeks and how I came to resolve this pride issue inside of myself.

 

 

I’m Not My Job 

 

I’m not my job. I do the best I can but I’m a separate person from my job. I must remember that. I am a beloved child of God just because I exist. I’m not my actions; I’m me, I’m soul. I’m not just emotions and human ego. There is that of God in me somewhere. On my better days, it shines through.

I’m not my job. It doesn’t define who I am. It’s something I do. I put food on my table, a roof over my head, and pay my exorbitant property taxes. I do the best I can. Thank you, God.

 

I am distressed because I have had a really rough week at work and my ego is feeling bruised. First of all, I got an email from a teacher at a local music school that upset me. In this email, the teacher asked questions about how I teach notation. She said she was trying to figure out how to help my students. She wondered at what point they learn letter names and finger numbers from me. I emailed her back and told her that I teach in solfeggio. When one teaches in solfeggio (solfege for short,) syllables are used to stand for notes of the scale. These syllables allow music students to sing their parts. This is a very effective way to teach young children because if they can sing it, they can play it. This also helps them learn to read it.

 

The parent emailed me too and asked me to teach her child in a certain way. She said that if I needed help she knew someone who could teach me how to teach notation. Give me a break. That was definitely an ego bruiser.

 

I felt very threatened by this email. I felt less than, like a failure and a bad teacher. I felt like I had no worth because I was bad at my job. I felt like I should quit.

 

The second blow to my pride came later that same week when I received an upsetting email from a parent. This parent failed to read all of the paperwork I had sent, and thus misread and misunderstood the class schedule. The email the parent sent me was abrupt, and it scolded me for misrepresenting the who, what, when, and where of the fall strings schedule. Somewhere in-between email responses and replies, this parent must have been set straight by someone or something, because she did apologize later. My email reply to her was a simple “thank you,” because I didn’t know what else to say.

 

Still, I felt very beaten up and was crying on my way home from work that day. Anytime someone points the proverbial finger in my face and says “you said,” I feel blamed. That hurts.

 

When school is first getting started, parents can be very demanding. They want information from me at all hours of the day and night. They want things to be right for their child and they want to know where they need to be when. I get that. But I’m busting my tail to get the information out there to them and then they get upset about it. Would they rather I not say anything? Maybe I should just stop communicating.

 

Why do I work so hard? Why do I do it? It’s because of the kids. I do it for the kids. My students are wonderful, cool, fun people and I like them a lot. I owe it to them to go to work every day and do my best. I owe it to them to teach them, develop their playing, and to bring out the good in them. The kids are the best part of this whole business. They are why I get up and go to work every day. I must remember that.

 

When I get overtired, depressed, and discouraged, I tend to look at things all wrong. I look through the eyes of my tired, less-than self and try to find something I did right so I can feel good about myself. This is me getting my worth from my job and what I do. This is Satan tempting me to be prideful. My pride wants me to look good and be glorified to feed my sagging ego.

 

But this isn’t about me. It’s about me being a vehicle for God’s will and doing the job he has asked me to do. The only thing that matters is that He be glorified. If God is glorified by what I do, then I’ve done my job.

 

I need to humble myself before God and what He wants me to do in this life.

 

I prayed about this on the way home that day. During that time, God told me some things, including:

  • “Your book and your music are the thing, Juliet, don’t forget that.”
  • “Dream God’s dream.”

During this time, I recited a favorite bible verse:

 

“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

~ Psalm 61: 2 (NIV)

 

 

And look at how I got permissions from CoDA to use their steps, traditions, and promises in my book. That is God talking to me. That is God reaffirming that it’s what he wants me to do.

 

I am a beloved child of God just because of me. I don’t get my self-worth from my job. My job is something I do. I have worth because He made me. He has a job for me to do. I will take off the coat of pride, put on the sweater of humility, and will do what God wants me to do to the best of my ability.

 

Additional practices I engage in when I’m struggling with my pride: 

  • Worship: Talking to God through consistent morning prayers and meditation is necessary for me to remember that it’s not about me and what I want, it’s about God and what He wants. I need to be alone with God every morning to listen for His voice and serve Him better.
  • Journaling: I journal every morning to get the pride, ego, and control issues out of me and into the open so they can be dealt with.
  • Exercise: Working out on my punching bag, swimming, walking on my treadmill or in Hopkins Forest, and lifting weights all help me to get anger, resentment, and selfish human pride out of the way so I can be God’s servant.
  • Time with my inner child: Often when I’m feeling unimportant, less than, worthless, or unappreciated, it’s because I’m ignoring my inner child and not meeting her needs. To remedy this, I spend time visioning with my inner child. During this time, I watch her in my vision and listen for what she needs and wants. Then I try to give her what she wants and needs. This helps me immensely.
  • Scripture: Reading the bible every morning helps me to remember that God is in charge of my life. He must come first and is giving me guidance on what to do.
  • Constant God connection: I pray as much as I can throughout the day. This includes morning and evening prayers on my knees, silent prayers, and listening for His direction throughout my day.
  • Read the daily list: I read my list of defects of character to God every morning and humbly ask him to remove them if and when He is ready. Pride is on that list.
  • Submission: When God gives me a message, instructions, or assignments, I try to do them, whether I want to do them or not. I trust that He knows what’s best for me more than I do. I do my best.
  • Slogans: I repeat my favorite slogans, such as “There is a God, it is not me,” “I can’t, God can, I think I’ll let Him,” “Willingness is key,” “This too shall pass,” and “Just for today.” Repeating the slogans really helps me relax.

 

 

 

 

 

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