Pride trips me up every time. Thinking I’ve got this when I clearly don’t. Saying “No thanks” when I really need help. This verse from Proverbs nails it: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
Notice how the Lord doesn’t say pride sometimes ends badly. No, it’s a guaranteed outcome. I remember one such time in particular. Oh, baby.
After speaking at a conference in Cape Town, South Africa, I had to fly to Johannesburg before boarding my eighteen-hour flight home. The discount airline — their motto was “More nice, less price” — permitted just one checked bag weighing no more than forty pounds. That meant my carry-on, jammed with books, weighed a ton.
When we landed and prepared to disembark, the crew didn’t wave those of us seated in the back of the plane to move forward toward the Jetway. No, no. Instead, they pointed to a long, flimsy set of stairs leading from the back of our big plane down to the tarmac ten feet below. It was more of an emergency exit. No railing, no sides, no kidding.
I took two steps down before the male flight attendant waiting at the bottom saw my dilemma and started up, his hand outstretched to take my overstuffed bag.
A smart woman would have stopped at that point and waited for help. An even smarter woman would have asked for assistance before starting down. But a foolish, prideful woman thinks, “I can handle this myself,” and takes one more step.
Over the side I went, heavy bag still in hand, plunging toward the ground headfirst. My thoughts at that moment were concise. This is it. This is how I die.
Seconds later I landed with a sickening thud. Then a wave of shock washed over me, followed by amazement. I had survived! Still lying on the tarmac, I did a quick head-to-toe check and was relieved to find I could move my head and neck, my shoulders and back, my thighs and knees.
But when I tried to sit up, a sharp pain shot through my right foot, still trapped beneath my bag. It took three people to help me stand and a wheelchair to roll me inside the terminal. The airport medic gave my foot a once-over, wrapped it in an Ace bandage, and sent me on my way, insisting that my foot wasn’t broken.
After a long, pain-racked flight home, I hobbled into my husband’s embrace, glad I’d decided not to call him from South Africa. What would I have said? “Hi, honey! I fell out of an airplane…”
Three days later the burning pain and swelling had grown worse. Three doctors later a diagnosis was made. My bones and muscles were fine, but the nerves in my foot were not.
“This could go one of two ways,” the doctor explained. “You will either have unremitting pain with crippling, irreversible changes, or you could experience spontaneous remission.” Surely spontaneous remission was the medical term for miracle.
When I looked up my symptoms on the Internet (not recommended), I learned that some patients with this condition end up in a wheelchair, and amputation might be necessary.
In the days that followed, I prayed like mad and did what I was told, attaching electrodes to my seemingly frozen foot and trying to wiggle my toes. God, in His infinite kindness, answered my prayers. By the end of the summer, I could stand without wincing, walk without crying, and approach a flight of stairs without having a meltdown.
If I’d just let go of that carry-on bag, I would have been injury-free except for some colorful bruises. But I didn’t let go. I hung on tightly, not only to my hand luggage but also to my pride, despite the Bible’s assurance that “a proud attitude brings ruin” (Proverbs 16:18).
My three crooked toes are a permanent reminder of that truth. So are these three lessons I learned about being humble instead of prideful:
Ask for assistance when it’s needed.
Accept help when it’s offered.
And thank God for small miracles.
Recommended Reads Giveaway:
Today we are excited to give away five copies of 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path by Liz Curtis Higgs. To be entered for a chance to win this beautiful book, please leave a comment sharing what lesson the Lord has taught you about the pitfalls of pride (or why you’d love to read this book)! The giveaway will be closed at midnight (CST) on Wednesday, November 1. Winners will be randomly selected and must live in the U.S.
Liz Curtis Higgs is a former Bad Girl, grateful for God’s grace. Bible teacher, grateful for God’s truth. Happy wife of Bill, one of the Good Guys. Proud mom of two grown-up kids with tender hearts. Lame housekeeper. Marginal cook. Pitiful gardener. Honored to speak, write, blog, and encourage others. Connect with Liz at her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
©2017 by Liz Curtis Higgs. Adapted from 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path. Published by WaterBrook. All rights reserved.Leave a Comment
I would love to win this book because I believe that we can all continue to learn and grow each and every day that we live. As we walk life’s pathway, if we apply the lessons that we have learned, we are enriched. Thank you for the opportunity to enter this giveaway!
Anastasia Corbin says
Pride. I wish I could say I don’t struggle with it but it’s there. I would love to read this book to glean wisdom from the Proverbs. There are several verses that are hard to understand so I look forward to understanding the book of Proverbs more.
Kathryn Mook says
Pride can make you feel you did it on your own, which may move you away from God. I love Liz Curtis Higgs and have heard her speak on numerous occasions. I would love to receive her book.
Kendra Martin says
Yes!!! I find myself being self-sufficient and enjoying the state. Until my loving God graciously shows me AGAIN that I really am not, and he humbles my pride. This book sounds like a perfect reminder to go to Him everyday in humility.
Pride on the face of an eagle, lion, or horse los regal, but on the face of mankind looks like whatever underlying heart condition of attitude we have. Jesus is the only doctor who can fix this
When going through a long, painful trials I am now, I often wonder what God is trying to reach me through it. Though the lessons are probably multi-layered, and maybe not even for me to understand completely on this side of Heaven, I don’t want to “waste” this trial by not being open to learn something of who God is and who I am in Him. Learning the pitfalls of pride certainly is something I see in my current trial. I would love to read this book!
Emily Oates says
I have been learning that pride doesn’t have a place in my relationships. I really have to lay down my pride to connect with others. I’d love to read the book!
I would love to read this book! Liz is a delightful author. I look forward to reading her insights on the book of Proverbs.
Eunice B says
Proverbs…not sure if it or Psalms is my favorite book…and Liz is such an inspiring author…what a perfect combo!
Kimberly Davis says
Thank you Liz for your honesty! Thank you for being willing to be so vulnerable. Your life story has blessed my heart. Praising the Lord! For he has healed you! This year has been a year of humbling for me. My story is different but the outcome is the same. Thankful that we have a loving and gracious God who forgives and relents. You are so beautiful. Much live, Kim Davis
Being an only child, watching my mom work outside of the home while my dad had a home-based business, this has been a pitfall for me too. I’ve hid behind “independence” instead of asking for assistance. You’re words have been such an encouragement. Thank you for sharing!
Marie Burton says
So prideful during relationship issues — Holding on to hurt feelings etc is simply a sinful pride getting in the way of a pure loving marriage in which the way God wants us to have. I would love to win this book to help in my devotionals. Thank you.
Sarah Geringer says
If this book is anything like 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart, I know I will love it! This was a wonderful devotion. Thanks for sharing so honestly, Liz!
I love to read this book to expand on proverbs.thanks for giving us a chance to win
Monica H says
I am getting a little better, but I still worry too much about what other people think when I need to just worry about what God wants me to do. I know that is a pride issue.
Jessica Heimsoth says
My lesson with pride includes thinking that I was a good, strong Christian…and then watching myself nearly wreck my marriage with sin I had judged harshly only years before. Constant renewal by the presence of the Holy Spirit is the only way I can truly be good. I know that now, and rejoice in HIS strength, not mine.
Crystal Storms says
“I can do it” has escaped my lips far too many times than I would like to admit. And every time I’m reminded of how pride and self-sufficiency lead to downfalls. Thank you, Liz, for the reminder to ask for and then receive help that’s offered. Your words always brighten my day!
Our church took a small group on a mission trip several years ago. Our mission was replacing a roof on a couple’s house. We had plenty of helpers, kids and adults, to climb on the roof and work, so I spent my time running errands and helping serve breakfast and lunch with our four year old son by my side. On the day the project was finished, our camera lady decided it would be awesome to get a group picture of everyone on the roof. So she summoned all of us on the ground to the ladder for the climb up. My husband and our two daughters were already on the roof and my husband assured me he would watch our son closely, so up he went. My turn came and now, I must explain, I am afraid of heights and I know this about myself, but we are talking about pride, so with the cheering of the onlookers above me urging me to make the climb, I wasn’t about to wimp out. I grabbed ahold of that ladder like I knew what I was doing and climbed right up on top of that roof. I even walked myself over to the group and sat down for the picture. All was well and I felt sure I had conquered a fear, that is, until we had to climb down off the roof. My husband guided me to the edge and instructed me to swing my leg over the ladder and climb down! What? This short leg isn’t swinging anywhere from up here, I thought as I looked down at the ground. My head started spinning and my hands started sweating. I decided right then and there I was going to defy the law of gravity. What goes up must come down right? Well not in this case. I sat myself down and announced I wasn’t going anywhere! I was content right where I was! My cheerful onlookers now looked at me with concern and fear. I heard someone mention calling the fire department to come and get me down. I didn’t care. Send a fire truck, a helicopter with a rope, but I’m planted here until someone has a better idea. It turned out that one gentleman stood back and listened and looked at my dilemma and then came to my rescue by moving the ladder around to the back of the house placing it on the deck instead of the ground, which shortened the height significantly. Once again, I grabbed ahold of that ladder like I knew what I was doing and climbed down. Unfortunately, my pride was already made known and busted all at the same time. My lesson: Don’t go where you know you shouldn’t. It’s one thing to conquer a fear to bring Glory to our Lord, but it’s another thing (pride), to pretend that fear doesn’t exist just so I could look good in a picture taken on a roof. That picture is still out there somewhere! Proof of my pride forever before me! God Bless.
Once a friend always a friend for me…love my close & long distance friends…friends for years or just met yesterday…I’d welcome the encouragement to be the best I can be for each of them.
C. Pitts says
You know , I love this story, I was being prideful about what I felt I was right about and my mother noticed this and reminded why I did not need to be and how if the person had not assisted me in the first place my car would still be broken and I would not be able to get to work.
I am learning that I have a lot of pride. Yuck. Not something to be proud of. My Bible study in Romans has made me aware of this fact and I really want to shrink away from it. I would love to read this book. I’ve heard such good things about the author but have yet to read one of her books. Thanks for the opportunity.
Diane Johnson says
How often we let pride get in the way when help is offered still amazes me. It’s not easy letting go. We like the feeling of being in control. I’ve done it before. I can manage. What’s mine is mine. Oh, the list goes on. We don’t generally see it as pride looking forward. But boy it jumps up to meet us in the rear view mirror.
Elizabeth Curtis Higgs is an exceptional author and I would love this new book of hers to read. Love her wisdom and humor.
Ouch! I can only imagine how horrible that summer must have been. I am guilty of letting pride lead me down paths that were not those God intended and each one came with a big fall… two years ago my sweet husband and I had agreed that I would stay home when our youngest was born. After a year at home I saw an ad for a part-time job in my field, I instantly thought I can do this… I did for a few months and I was so pleased with myself for being great at my job. However, it became an increasingly uncomfortable situation to be working in and the red flags were waving all over the place. I gave my notice and my boss ceased all communication with me instantly… until six months later when I was served with court documents stating that he was suing me and the employment agency I had been working through! It is now almost two years later and God worked everything out for good in the end… but boy, oh boy, how I wish I hadn’t thought I could do it all!
Malia Russell says
I’d love to use this with my family for our devotional!
Could use a pick-me-up….it’s been a challenging school year this far.
Beth Williams says
My pride sometimes says if you can do it…then so can I. Without realizing that it may not be God’s plan for me or in my best interest. Pride also hit me a little on my new part-time job I started a year ago. Finding & helping solve problems of one co-worker. I felt like I was pretty good. The busy season started & wham! Things got so busy with not much time to think through things. I rushed to much. Mistakes started happening. Now I realize that I’m not a superstar worker, just regular Joe like my co-worker. Put my mind to it & I can do well.
Love to read this book so my path can be lighted. I want to find more joy in my life & do a devotional.
I, too, suffer because I can’t let anyone else carry my burdens. (Gal 6:2) I do try to keep in mind that their willingness to help me fulfills them living this verse. Who am I to stand in the way?
Sandra Woolfolk says
I would love to win this book. Each one in my family could use this great reminder 🙂
I would love to read this book because I am always going to make mistakes. I will never be perfect, but I need God to keep on trying my best.
Pride before the fall. Being wrong and strong. Thinking back I remember times when taking on many tasks and trudging on while in “survival” mode was my daily existence. Those days left me tired and broken because there were few that I felt I could trust. In the process although I thought I was trusting God. It was only a little….hmmm…same as not really. Did I mention I was tired. Lol. Mentally. Spiritually. Physically. All the while God continued to stand before me. Reaching for my hand until I began to see Him more and more. Then to begin to see me through His eyes. It could have been am ouch moment but instead it was a flood of relief. Of His love Of His kindness.
Sherry Rafn says
As I read your account with the stairs I shuttered. I am thankful it wasn’t much worse for you. This year hasn’t been an easy one.Two surgeries and 5 hospital stays. Each time I would come home ladies at the church would offer meals. Each time I refused saying I could take care of myself but thank you. Pride was written all over it. I didn’t want anyone to see no make up, greasy hair, dusty furniture. My prideful nature robbed those wonderful ladies wanting to serve me for a change. It robbed me of the blessings as well. I would love to win your book. I can sure use its teaching.
sue nelson says
I HAVE BEEN STRUGGLING WITH ADJUSTING TO A NEW JOB. TWICE TODAY THE SUBJECT OF PRIDE AND SELF RELIANCE CAME UP YOUR DEVOTIONAL REALLY HIT HOME IT WAS LIKE GOD WSSPEAKING TO ME SAYING HERE IS THE ANSWER TO YOUR PROBLEM
BUT EVEN MORE TO ALL OF LIFE
Julie Geiger says
Pride is an issue that I try to tell myself I don’t have issues with but I know that I do. I would love to read this book to learn more about dealing with pride and because I have read a few of Liz’s other books and love her writing.
Jean Bliss says
When we refuse offered help we rob that person of the chance to practice the servant’s heart. Asking for help gives us the opportunity to contribute to the development of a spirit of service. (And maybe saves us a few bumps and bruises!)
Proverbs is such a great book. Over the years I have read a chapter in Proverbs everyday for a month in addition to my regular devotional. Even if I do two months in a row, I never fail to get new insight into something.
Heida Hill says
Wow! This really hits home. Many times when I think of pride I have a hard time understanding it, but this story hits home. So I often I think I have it all together and don’t need help, yet that’s when I tend to fall! Thanks for sharing this great reminder!
Amanda Shattles says
I had an argument a few months ago with my sister whom I work for. I took a leave off the job about a month fully convinced I was in the right and she was wrong…..But God opened my eyes how pride had clouded my vision. I humbled myself before God and asked for forgiveness and then to my sister. All I could tell her was “It was everything that was going on inside of me”. That pride disguises itself as the right but God showed me how wrong I was. Praise God our relationship has been mended. I would really love this book.
I can clearly relate to this. We as women have learned to multi-task and to be independent as much as possible. So there we go being Miss Independent, not relying on anyone else, even at times, not even God. “We got this” or so we say to remind ourselves. It is during these times that I learned that I need the help of others and need to accept help from others. This is not to show others I am weak but as we walk this life out, isn’t it better to have others to extend out a hand and walk with us, to support us, to encourage us and most of all to love on us. Thank you for this message. Truly needed…
Pride was me when we saved a LONG time to buy our couch with cash. Then the mice ate out the insides!
I would so love to read this book! Ooh dear the pitfalls of pride! I feel like my lessons are ongoing when dealing with pride. I think being sick – needing treatment and admitting I needed help around my home was a big one for me. For two years, I endured treatments and I just hated the thought of someone coming into my home and seeing my messy house but I NEEDED the help. I just couldn’t do it on my own and my husband was working extra hours and being my care-taker. I had to learn to be okay with having someone help me. I’ve always been the one to help others – so putting the shoe on the other foot was hard, harder than I imagined. Thankful for grace-filled friends.
Martha T. says
What a clear picture of why pride is such a big deal!
Charlene McGill says
Proverbs 16:18 – Pride before…a fall. I have suffered this many times in my 63 years on this earth. Most recently because of refusing to use a walker. Severe arthritis has created the need for a knee replacement, the knee just gives out sometimes and down I’ll go. Until surgery is scheduled I’ve learned the hard way use available assistance. Please pray for me
I would love to win this book. God has been asking me to learn to be humble and I know the biggest stumbling block is pride.
Christina Hall says
Pride pitfalls – if you are too pride filled your healing after surgery does not go well. I’m so thankful God has taught me to accept help & assistance when it is needed! I’m a fairly private person and to ask for help goes against this! I’ve learned and continue to learn. I don’t need the book because I’m currently reading it. If I did randomly win it I would give it to a sister in my Bible study group. Love & thank you Liz for this precious time of study in the Proverbs.
Would love to read ths, by one of my favourite authors, who tells it like it is and has such a refreshing and humorous storytelling style:))
Thanks for the chance to win!
Too bad I don’t live in the U.S.A. but great to see that you’re giving away this book. Hope the winner enjoys reading it!
Pride causes things to never end well. At least that is what a friend told me! 😉
Pam Dow says
Loved this story, thanks, Liz for your honesty! I would LOVE to read this book because I just spent the past month blogging my way through Proverbs for #write31days ! I would love to read her insights.