I married a humble, godly, romantic man at twenty years old. Did I mention he just happens to have a phenomenal voice and is a gifted songwriter? He writes me songs, loves Jesus like crazy, and because of his music career, we’ve traveled the world together. Every girls’ dream, right? Yet, exactly two weeks into marriage, I wrote this in my journal:
“Why am I so unhappy? So scared and confused?”
Surprised? I was too. Let me explain.
You see, God saved me early in life. I couldn’t get enough of the Word and longed to know as much of God as possible. Yet along with a genuine love for God, an unseen and deep-rooted pride developed in my heart. Maybe it was the subconscious joy I found in the acclaim of people for being such a “good Christian.” Maybe I couldn’t help but notice how little outward sin I struggled with. No matter how it started, this pride grew unnoticed in my heart, watered with the praise of others and my own comparison to my peers.
Like the Pharisees, I was utterly blind to my religious pride. My self-deceit was a textbook example of what Jeremiah and Paul described: “The arrogance of your heart has deceived you. For if you think you are something when you are nothing, you have deceived yourself” (Jer 49:16, Gal 6:3). Had you asked me if I struggled with pride, I would have said, “Oh no! I know that apart from Christ I can do nothing.” It was going to take a miracle for God to open my eyes to see this sickness in my soul.
My miracle came in the form of a husband. Though I knew marrying Jimmy was a gift from God, I had no idea just how good or how painful a gift this would be. Right after our honeymoon, we travelled to Nashville for Jimmy to promote his new record. Surrounded by people who were enthralled with my new husband, I became the recipient of a new kind of accolade.
“How lucky you are to be married to such a wonderful man!”
“Isn’t he talented?”
“God has greatly gifted your husband!”
But these compliments were praising Jimmy, not me! In an instant, I grew angry, resentful, and insecure.
What about me?!
I’m pretty awesome, too!
Have you seen how great of a Christian I am?
How gifted I am?
He’s the lucky one, not me!
Accustomed to receiving attention, I watched others line up to commend my husband, get his autograph, and take his picture. This monstrous pride that had been lying dormant suddenly reared its ugly head. And boy was it nasty.