You can just call me Mr. Arrogant. Or Captain Cocky. Ooh, or how about Pastor Proud!
Yep, there’s a lot of arrogance in me.
“But, wait, Markus. Didn’t you tell us in your last blog post that you struggled with feeling like you weren’t enough?”
I did. And here’s the crazy part. Arrogance is really just the flip-side of not feeling enough. And I gotta tell you, I was arrogant!
I Was Pretty Awesome!
When I started at my previous church, I thought I was pretty awesome! I thought I was the guy who was going to turn that church around. I thought I was the guy who could grow that small church into a big church–maybe even a megachurch!
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t act like I was better than everyone else. But I thought I was. I didn’t talk down to people. But I looked down on them. I acted like I was a really humble guy. And I was pretty sure that made me better than everyone else.
I sound like I was a real jerk and a complete hypocrite, don’t I? Well, that’s the funny part. I wasn’t a jerk. And the truth is, I really did care about people. I cared about their well-being. And I cared about our neighborhood. I really did want to bring God’s healing and wholeness into the world.
It Was All About Me
At the same time, it was all about me. It was all about how this program or that ministry would make me look. It was all about my own ambitions and desires.
And that brings me back to that deep down feeling of not being enough. Why did I feed myself the lie that I was so awesome? Because deep down I had believed the lie that I was broken and unacceptable.
Wearing My Mask
My arrogance, my false humility, my confidence in my awesomeness was a mask. Masks are what we put on when we feel like we’re not enough.
The mask I wore was a false self that I presented to the world. And that false self hid my true self–from others, from God, and even from myself.
Discovering My True Self
My true self, on the other hand, is the real me. The me God sees when God looks at me. The only me that God truly cares about because the false self that I present to the world doesn’t even really exist. My true self is the me that deep down knows that I am worthy of love and belonging and acceptance.
The more I learned to take my mask off (which, truth be told, happened because of a painful dark night of the soul, which you can hear about here, here, or here), the more I was able to embrace the truth that I was enough. And the more I was able to let go of my arrogance.
Learning to Surrender
Listen, I’ve still got a lot of ego in me. I still have moments when I feel like I’m pretty awesome. And when that happens I just gotta surrender. I don’t beat myself up for having those feelings of arrogance. They don’t make me a bad person. They don’t condemn me.
I just acknowledge that I had those thoughts or feelings and I turn them over to God. And I express gratitude. I thank God for his love and unconditional acceptance. And I thank God that even if I never achieve or accomplish anything else in my life… I am enough.