Most of us are familiar with the pride cycle that happens over and over again in the Book of Mormon.
Ultimately it comes down to the people being blessed and then slowly turning away from the teachings of Christ. They are then humbled in one way or another, be it famine or war etc., at which point they begin to cry out to God for deliverance. God blesses them and the cycle continues.
The pride cycle happens in real life too, obviously. I’m not here to judge where other people are in the cycle, but I can take a step back and try to take an honest review of where I am standing.
My pride cycles don’t usually end up including famine (unless you count spiritual famine) or war or destruction. But usually a gradual slipping of one thing or another that I should be doing- like reading the scriptures or prayer.
Currently, I feel like I’m in stage five of the cycle: Humility and Repentance.
Almost a year ago we were super unsatisfied with Carey’s job. After lots of prayer and some giant leaps of faith, Carey was offered his dream job in May. We were so grateful and honestly, I can’t think of a day since that we didn’t thank Heavenly Father for that job.
Fast forward to the first week of December 2016. The firm was merging with another and Carey was the last hire, so he was the first to go. He got laid off 3 weeks before Christmas. We were devastated and felt like we had been punched in the gut. We immediately turned to prayer and sought guidance and blessings. We’re still trying to figure things out, but one of the great blessings of this gospel is that we know deep down that things will work out.
Here’s the thing though- as I look at it from this perspective, I can see where the cycle started working it’s way through. Not in an overt manner, but very subtle. And it all starts with the temple.
9 months ago, we were attending the temple often as we were seeking guidance and the blessing of a new job. Then, after he got the job, life got really busy. Too busy for the temple.
All of a sudden months went by without us going. And it’s not like it would have been difficult- we live exactly 4.4 miles from our temple, and pass it daily.
When we got the news of the lay off, one of our first impulses was to go to the temple.
How easy it is to go to the temple when we need something- direction, comfort, answers, blessings. But when life is going smoothly, it just seems harder to get there.
So temple attendance started to slip, and I began to rely less on the Lord, relying on my own capabilities and the confidence in my husband’s career. I was not in open rebellion against God, I wasn’t putting myself above others or above God as we typically think of pride. President Benson taught that pride is also “faultfinding, gossiping…living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude…and being unforgiving and jealous.” That’s how it happens in real life. We can all see traces of those characteristics in our lives. And as we slowly draw away from the Lord and His influence, those traits have more room to grow within us.
Fortunately step number four in my current cycle, destruction and suffering, were equal to the pride that had taken over. God is just and merciful. He will give us a nudge when we need a nudge, and a punch in the gut when we need a punch in the gut. He wants to help us get back on track, not make us suffer.
So we started going back to the temple and remembered how much we love it. We remembered that when we go- inside or outside- we feel the spirit and we feel joy. We remembered how much our children love the temple. And we recommitted to attending the temple weekly.
Step five of the cycle is great, because as we begin to humble ourselves and repent- in this case turning our minds and hearts back to the Lord by focusing on the temple, we begin to have hope. And that is the best thing of all.