[[[Editor´s note. Since writing this post, I´ve been getting heavy doses of humility from God. So I would venture to say, prayer answered. April 12, 2011]]]]]
This is a post I´ve been wanting to write for awhile now, maybe since last year, but every time I got to it, I´ve always been like....naaah. It´s because it´s not easy. It´s about stuff maybe I don´t want to share with the whole world. It´s about my weaknesses.
Pride is a strange thing. I read in a Lonely Planet book about the Philippines that Filipinos are very prideful. In fact, more Filipino journalists have ´´disappeared´´ in the Philippines than any other country for exposing a bad side or reputation of a politian or famous person. This need and desire to always feel like I got it going on runs down to my roots, too. Damn.
And that´s the thing. I´ve noticed 99% of the time when I write a post on here or an e-mail or telling a story to a friend or really, just generally being me, I always want to appear like I have my life together, that I know what I´m doing, that I´m always happy. But the thought of that kind of sickens me. Ever met a person who just seemed too perfect? I have. No matter who great they seemed, you couldn´t buy their image, there was no balance, they just didn´t seem real.
It comes down to a sin that Fr. Bob (wherever you are, you ol´ fart) always tried to get me to examine but never gone around to: vanity. I am straight up vain.
While some may have a lack of self-esteem, I have the other end of the problem of thinking too much of myself. It´s...kind of disgusting. Every day I look in the mirror and think, ´´Damn, you look good, Matt.´´ Being single, sometimes I get in a smug mood and think, ´´Well, if I were to date, anyone would be lucky to have me...´´ and I think of all the obnoxiously fine things that I am or can do, like knowing how to cook or being able to dance is going to do me any good one day when my wife is mad at me or when I´m holding a crying baby.
I always want to be spotlight. I always want to do things differently and my way, and then show people how to do things differently and my way, as if it was the best way (because it is the best way.....oy, there I go again.) I noticed as a guitar player, I´m better just being listened to because you can´t sing along with me as I sing many songs differently, catering it to my voice and my guitar playing.
I crave praise and approval. I always want that ´´Oh look at Matt, isn´t he so funny, so thoughtful, and so reflective.´´ In fact, even as I write this I´m hoping someone is going to note that despite me writing about my flaws one will think ´´oh but he did it in such an insightful and inspiring way.´´
I judge. And I judge hard, especially those closest to me. I´ve begun to notice though that the depths of my harshest judgements come from my harshest brokeness. For example, back in college I used to judge hard time any guy who seemed to revolve their life around girls or their girlfriends, jumping from girl to girl even. I used to think, ´´ít´s too much, they don´t get it, life is more than just girls, and they´re too insecure to be with just themselves.´´ Those harshest judements come my harshest brokeness. I WAS that guy who was too insecure to be by himself and revolved his happiness around girls and jumped from girl to girl. I noticed that when I put a lot of work into changing myself or into something I value, and then see someone who hasn´t quite figured that out yet, it surfaces a brokeness I have/had and I judge. And judging makes me appear like I´m higher than thou, that I´m playing God. And as we know, none of this is ever a good thing.
I´m not delighted to share any of this with you. I´m actually quite ashamed. I´m not saying that I´ve been faking my happiness and confidence this whole time. I am generally a pretty happy and confident guy, and I wouldn´t consider this a bad thing. What I do consider bad is the desire to flaunt it, strut it around, and always appear that I am, even in my thoughts. I think part of the reason why I do this is because I fear the alternative. In my head I rather be big-headed than have no head. Too much self-esteem than none. Fake it until I make it.
When I was a child, my mom used to tell me all the time that when I ever have it big one day, that I should always be humble. ´´No matter how at top you are, don´t ever think you´re higher than anyone. Stay humble,¨ she would tell me. ´´Oooook, moooom! I geeeet it. It´s never going to happen anyway.´´ Ha, how did she know that staying humble would be so hard for me? How do moms just know?
Lord, I pray for patience and humility. I pray that I may seek to understand, than to be understood. That I may love, than to be loved. That I may praise, than to be praised. May I believe it and may I live this St. Francis prayer. May you humble me and remind me that everything I do is for You. Humble me and remind me that everything I can do or that I am is because of You. And may you humble me and remind me that I have to do all of this through You.