Trust is hard – that much is given. And given that I trust in God only slightly more than I trust people, how can I ever trust anyone or anything totally?
One of the points in Manning’s Ruthless Trust that spoke to this was his discussion of self-pity and self-absorption as barriers to trust. Like most semi-recovering Fundies, I was brought up on a diet of “put others before yourself”, “pray in your closet”, “do good for the glory of God and don’t take credit” humility. I think I remember hearing from time to time that pride was the original sin that led to all other sins. Unfortunately this turn away from the self became a sort of self-abasement and even self-punishment. Seeking recognition for anything that I did was prideful, and if someone did actually recognize and praise me I tried to get it over with as soon as possible.
I remember once going out to a Christian Counseling conference in Seattle to present a paper which ended up winning an award for the best student paper. I sat at dinner with a couple other people and never mentioned the award until I had to go up to receive it. When announced I ran up and barely shook the man’s hand before running back off the stage and taking my seat. Part of this was due to sheer nerves – I wasn’t comfortable being up in front of large groups of people and felt that I had barely made it through the paper anyway. However, my own thinking was that my paper was judged “best” because there simply weren’t any others. I wouldn’t allow myself to take credit for it for fear of coming off as prideful.
Deep inside though, I rage whenever I don’t get credit for the things that I do and do well. I stomp around when it’s not noticed that I washed all the dishes after making dinner, or when I fold the laundry, or got matching shoes on the kids. I pout and self-pity, wishing others would tell me how wonderful I am so I could say “aw, ’twerent nothin'”.
Manning sees this for what it pretends not to be, which is self-absorption. Funny how humility can turn in to that isn’t it?
Anyhow, long story short, CPE has shown me a lot about myself and I’ve even practiced giving myself credit for what I do and accepting good turns from others as well. For example, when asked what grade I deserved at the end of the term I gave myself an A.
No big deal, unless you consider that I gave myself a B- at midterm.