I was out skateboarding with my brother and a friend on a sunny Sabbath afternoon. We had just been to church, and we decided to take advantage of the weather to go outside. We loaded up our boards and went to a nature trail to skate. On our way back we decided to cut through a neighborhood to get home quicker.
Bad mistake. Some of Nebraska’s roads are terrible. Before I knew it, I had been bucked off my board by an unexpected jut in the pavement. I was lying in a stranger’s yard in a world of pain, my elbow broken.
I hate asking for help. I usually wait until the last second. I used to pride myself on this, but I’ve had to change my mind. I’ve broken my fair share of bones before, but this break was by far my most humbling.
I usually get casted up, wait a bit for recovery, all while going about my normal lifestyle. For a broken elbow, though, I couldn’t do anything. I had to ask my parents for help to do everything: no eating, no drinking, I couldn’t even brush my teeth. I was at the mercy of others to take care of me.
This taught me a great lesson.
Bad Pride, Good Pride
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18, NIV).* This verse describes my position before I was injured. I felt that I was in control of everything, and I was proud of the fact. I felt that I didn’t need anyone; that I could handle everything on my own.
My injury proved me 100 percent wrong. I went from being completely independent to needing help taking a shower or eating a meal.
I’ve been thinking about this verse during my recovery and how it accurately describes my thoughts and lifestyle before I broke my elbow. I was so proud of myself. I felt indestructible, as if nothing could stop me from living my life.
Initially, I was let down by my injury. I was even a bit sour toward God, thinking, How could He let me get this hurt? I was annoyed at my situation. But I saw how God used this to check my pride, pride that I hadn’t even noticed.
I suppose it’s common for people to fall into the same mindset. When we’re on top and feel in control, it can seem unnecessary to humble ourselves, and that can cloud our relationship with God. In fact, pride may be one of society’s norms.
We sometimes get ahead of ourselves and feel indestructible. It takes God humbling us to bring us down from that high. I wish it hadn’t been such a painful adjustment for me. But God does what it takes to teach us.
Even if that means wiping out on a skateboard.
Max Lassel studies at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.
* Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright ã 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.