When Pride Sounds Off: How God Can Speak Through a Car Alarm
By Rebecca LeVake
Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Rebecca's Story
It was a lovely fall day. The sun shone warm and bright. The canopy was ablaze with color overhead and children frolicked in leaves underfoot. All was right with the world. All was peaceful. Until, that is, my ear-splitting pride rocked the neighborhood.
I’m still not sure how it happened, where it all went wrong. Somehow, in the process of loading the kids in the van, a curious little finger discovered a new button and did what all curious fingers would do in such a situation: it pushed it.
In that instant the peace of the morning was shattered by the blaring of an ear-splitting, panic-inducing, please-make-it-stop car alarm. As I frantically began to push every button in the van, my oldest, with hands over his ears, yelled at me to, “Call Dad.”
“No! I can do this,” I yelled back, thankful that the deafening noise was a good excuse for my “yelling.”
I began to push every button in the van again, this time in a different sequence, but the alarm merely scoffed at my attempts. It seemed to grow louder. Kids began to cry. My oldest reiterated, “You really should call Dad.”
I ignored him and started digging in the glove compartment. Why do we have so many manuals? Which one do I need? Where is the section on the security system? I pushed buttons. I flipped pages.
“No, I can do this.”
Push. Push. Flip. Flip.
Where is the heading in the manual with large neon letters that says, “HOW TO SHUT OFF THE ALARM”?
“You should really call Dad.”
“I am perfectly capable of shutting off the car alarm.”
Fifteen exhausting, ear-splitting minutes later I broke down and called my husband. He asked if I had pushed a certain button. No….I hadn’t. Why not?
I. Don’t. Know.
I have no explanation as to how that button did not get pushed during the button pushing frenzy of the previous 15 minutes, but it hadn’t.
After receiving my husband’s instructions, I pushed it, and…silence.
For a moment the van, the neighborhood, the entire world seemed to hang suspended in a sacred silence. Then the kids began to cheer. And I began to fume.
I was red hot mad, looking for someone to blame. But try as I might, I could not blame my kids, or my husband, or the manual writers (although the manual writers could have been more helpful). I could only, reluctantly and grudgingly, blame myself.
From the moment the alarm began to blare, I had everything I needed to solve the problem. Namely, I had a husband who knew what to do just a phone call away. Yet, I prolonged the situation a ridiculously long time and was left feeling the sharp sting of humiliation. Why did I do that? Why didn’t I call him right away?
Later, when I had calmed down, I turned to the book of Proverbs and there, spelled out for me in plain black and white, I discovered the source of my humiliation. The whole fiasco was, of course, due to my pride.
“Pride ends in humiliation while humility leads to honor,” (Proverbs 29:23, NLT).
Pride can show itself in many ways. On that day, I gave way to the pride that says, “Don’t look weak. Don’t ask for help.” The irony is, in trying to look capable, I ended up proving how incapable I was. In trying to elevate myself, I ended up looking and feeling pretty low.
Being a walking object lesson can be painful, but this was a lesson I needed to learn.
A few days later I received a phone call from a bank wanting to discuss the Traditional IRA I was in the process of converting to a Roth IRA. Understand that my husband is the more knowledgeable one not about just car alarms, but also all things financial. I was vaguely aware that he was in the process of converting some of our funds, but really did not know much about it.
I considered the conversation ahead and imagined myself dropping random financial terms like Dow Jones or mutual funds to make it seem like I regularly convert IRAs and have lunch with my broker.
As I imagined that scene playing out, an alarm began to blare in my head alerting me that pride had been detected, and that I was on a crash course for humiliation (and possibly complete financial ruin). Thankfully, I now knew which button would turn it off—the truth of Proverbs 29:23.
“Thanks for calling, but my husband handles our finances and it would be better to talk about this when he is around. Can we schedule a different time to go over this?”
Humbling? A little.
Humiliating? Not even close.
Through the words of Proverbs 29:23, now etched onto my heart, God continues to speak, loud and clear, warning me against my prideful ways and turning me towards a humbler approach.
I find this built-in alarm system to be much more user-friendly than the alarm system God first used to alert me to my pride. Mercifully, it is also much easier on the ears.
Photo credit: Unsplash, Abigail.
The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest writer series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.
Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE five-day devotional (45 beautiful pages!) called, “Closer: Five Days to Hearing God Louder.” Each day features teaching on one posture and a guided journaling section to help us practice taking steps toward hearing God louder in our every day.
Learn more about each of these five postures:
1 | Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?
2 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?
3 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?
4 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?
5 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?
New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!
Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens twice a year. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.
Rebecca LeVake is a Jesus-following, homeschooling mother of five who is determined to find the wonder in each season of the year and in life. Her favorite places to seek wonder include the Bible, the great outdoors, and the beauty found in good stories, theater, and all sorts of artsy stuff.
Rebecca shares the wonder of God’s word as a speaker and Bible teacher. She has written and directed children’s musicals, and writes regularly for storywarren.com. You can find her at Season of Wonder.