After spending twenty-one-ish years of my life reading everything I could get my hands on, I developed a perhaps-too-inflated sense of my own intelligence. In fact, “perhaps” is a cover. I have a pronounced tendency toward pride, especially in the way I think about my, well, thoughts, and the effort I expend in trying to get others to think I am clever.
The time I have spent developing my skills as a writer didn’t help with this either. I’ve eagerly studied the humanities since high school, learning how to adopt and imitate the voices of some of my favorite authors in my own writing, from P.G. Wodehouse, to Flannery O’Connor, to Alisdair MacIntyre and more, my prose was carefully modelled after the people I thought sounded smart and impressive, because that way maybe I could sound smart and impressive.
There are many obvious areas in which this could be an issue. There have been moments when professors (rightly) wanted me to spend a bit less time flourishing and a bit more time developing my arguments. I am, of course, struggling with it as I write this piece, and this is all disregarding the normal spiritual side-effects of pride!
The area of my life, though, where I have felt this issue come up most strongly is in my prayer.