Pride can be so deceiving.
I come from a very "strong willed" family, and sort of caught on at an early age that if I focused on others' weaknesses that could only make me stronger (at least I'm not like her, etc). I was confident and insecure at the same time for as long as I can remember.
When I got saved at the age of 23 I brought some of that "Egypt" with me into the Promised Land!
Now, let me assure you....I can hide it pretty well, but the Lord doesn't just go after our outward appearances. He has really put His finger on my critical attitude even though it has been awhile since I have felt like I am "better" than someone else. Oh, but I didn't call it that back then. No, that's where the deceiving part comes in.
It's funny when you think of it (well, not really) but I read Jer. 49.16 and all the other humility verses and thought I had it figured out. Humility was about working behind the scenes or criticizing myself or giving up the vacation to Disney World to go on a missions trip. But, giving up all those things or serving outside the spotlight does not necessarily make you humble. Especially, when you are doing it so that others will notice. Ouch.
Deceived, deceived, deceived.
What I did not realize at the time is that humility cannot be learned, it must be EXPERIENCED.
Me flesh no like that.
I'm really being painfully honest because I've experienced a breakthrough in the last year or so with this. I really hadn't been taking a very good look at this area in my life.
Yes, closing down a business that has been your dream since childhood can make you a little humble. But, God was already working on me before that. Humility comes when you study the Word of God and really, really try to grasp the enormity of what Christ did for us. I cannot simply learn that, I must experience it. How? I'm still figuring that out. For me personally, it seems to be a combination of God speaking to me through His Word and my circumstances. I know He's at work in my life because at some point through the years I've stopped trying to get all the credit for a job well done. I am still working on listening more and talking less, but I've stopped positioning myself to make sure my opinion gets recognized every chance I get. I've come to realize that humility and love rejoice when others succeed so I'm done competing for the "Christian Mom of the Year Award".
And, that's a good thing 'cause I don't iron and I can't figure out 5th grade math! Now if that isn't humbling, I don't know what is!