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Lord, it's hard to be humble

No, I'm not breaking into Mac Davis' 1974 hit song by that name. I'm just recognizing my ongoing struggle with the vice of pride.

Humility really is a good thing. I should know because God gives me so many chances to practice the virtue. He wants me to practice restraining myself from wanting to win everything, be the best at everything, and outdo everyone else.

Oh, how God must laugh at my folly.

Of late, I would consider myself a fairly fit and healthy individual. While I do not excel at sports, I make somewhat of an effort to exercise and eat decently. With pride leading the way, I thought I was ready for hiking the El Camino Real with a group.

As I prepared last summer, I told myself I would just stay in the middle of the group, not leading but not bringing up the rear. I calculated how long it would take to get from start to finish each day and how, if I hurried a bit, I would have more time to tour the mission sites.

Oh, how God must laugh at me often on any given day.

Little did I know, He was going to slap me upside the head with a cream pie full of humility during the ensuing week. I imagined Him giggling as He says "Let's see how 12 miles each day suits you. Oh, and enjoy the pace set by the 80-year-old. Did I mention he's been walking pilgrimages for 30 years? You think you are so strong, you don't need any help from anyone, not even Me. Enjoy the elevation changes, the vehicle traffic, the last-minute adjustments because of wildfires." (If you imagine Morgan Freeman or James Earl Jones' voice it's much more dramatic. It's how I imagine His voice in my head.)

Oh, how God must love me! How does he put up with all my prideful thoughts and actions?

Two days into the pilgrimage and I was continuously begging for His grace to make it to the end. I begged for His mercy and forgiveness for my pride-filled vanity.

Lord, I am but a piece of clay in your hands. Use the coming days to mold me into the person you created me to be. You are the wonder worker and I humbly submit to your will. Amen.

Me, day 1, mile 10, and wondering if I can make it the last 2 miles, much less the rest of the week. I'm smiling on the outside but my insides and feet are screaming! God laughed and loved me through the entire pilgrimage. I know because I survived and am going back for more.

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