By Carey Nieuwhof
Do you struggle with pride? Many of us would quickly respond, “No! But I know someone who needs to read this …” Please hang with me for a moment.
Most people associate pride with narcissism. And yes, there’s definitely a correlation. With the ever-growing popularity of social media, we all probably experience some narcissistic moments.
But most of the leaders I know, myself included, don’t struggle with pride because of narcissism. They struggle with pride because of insecurity. “That leader is better than me.” “That person is a better speaker.” “I don’t want so-and-so in the meeting because they’re more innovative than I am.” The list goes on and on.
Now you’re probably thinking, Carey, how is this related to pride? I think it comes back to how we define pride. I would say that pride is an obsession with self. Yes, narcissists are obsessed with themselves. But so are insecure people. And these insecurities and inadequacies lead to a lot of isolation and exclusion in the life of a leader, resulting in pride.
So how do leaders overcome this insecurity? By practicing humility. Humility is a habit. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” God has gifted and empowered you. You must recognize these gifts in your life and use them.
But God has also gifted and empowered others around you. Push these people into the spotlight. Publicly celebrate them and their strengths. Focus on what God is doing through the body of Christ. Doing so will break down your own insecurity, envy, jealousy, and bitterness.
Throughout Scripture, we see that the proud will be humbled. And let’s face reality. We will all be humbled at some point and time. But involuntary humility is really just humiliation. Let’s not elevate ourselves above others. Let’s stay on the floor. We’re far less likely to fall and experience embarrassment if we stay at ground level and don’t elevate ourselves above others.
As Paul charges in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Celebrate what God has given others, and leverage what God has given you. The key to tackling pride in your life is by practicing humility.
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