Need advice for conquering vanity

I recently realized that a lot of my self image is wrapped around being a prime mover in my homeschool group. Around 11 years ago, I came to the realization that God has given me a gift for developing good ideas to help in different needs. So, I decided to put that gift to work and over the years, I’ve led book studies, started women’s groups, organized homeschool clubs, co-ops, parties, etc.

Looking at it now, the Holy Spirit has recently shown me that I’ve developed a lot of pride and vanity from applying the gift. Somewhere along the line, it all became more about my self image as a mover and shaker in my faith community and less about helping others and fulfilling needs that I perceived.

so, I want to conquer this sinful attitude. I think probably the best way is for me to drop leadership roles and be a support both practically and prayer wise. In fact, if I’m honest, I think I should probably withdraw from most of the groups I’m involved in because my own family could use my focus. I should refrain from giving my opinion about how to run events and groups, etc. I think this will help me to grow in humility.

I know that this will be a hit to my self-image. I want to build my image around being a daughter of God and not a leader in my homeschool and parish. But, I’m not sure how to do that. I think I will feel a little lost and worthless for awhile. I tend to become mildly depressed if I don’t have some kind of outside project. Probably a result of the vanity feeding.

Help!

Is my plan a good one. Should I do something in addition to this? How do you crush vanity without going into self pity?

  1. pray for the grace to overcome vanity.
  2. Have frequent recourse to the Sacraments.
  3. Pray the Litany of Humility.
  4. Realize that everything good that is in your life comes from God.
  5. Seek a spirtual director. I would reccommend getting a priest and talking to him about it. Start with your parish priest and if he cannot, ask him for his recommendations. Also look around at religious houses as well. Just make sure that the priest in in line with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. And when you do find a SD obey his counsel.

God bless.

What is a self image? Is that the same thing as an idol?

You are doing a good self.appraisal. The solution seems exaggerated. You have faults, you are a sinner, you are not perfect, you as a leader will never be perfect. Accept that and that is a good penance for lack of humility. Or is not it? If you are good at leadrship why dont you accept that? If you feel that you should change priorities, from the ones that please you to the ones that the others need most, why dont you do that?

But the CC needs leaders and on fleeing (unless it is for your family), maybe, perhaps you are not serving God.I am a Leader too and I know how Society needs good leaders.

When on the war with Germany,Churchill went to a dinner and someone pointed criticizing to a general who was making a bad figure falling completely drunk in the arms of others generals. Churchill replied that if would go on winning battles as he did, it was he,Churchill who would furnish the beer.

Correcct what you can, accepte what you cannot change.

As an aside, I know little about Churchill but thought this story about him was funny. Churchill was at an event where an offended woman accosted him with the remark, “sir, you are drunk!” He replied, “yes, madam, and you are ugly. But in the morning I shall be sober.” :rolleyes:

Seriously, though, to the OP, maybe God is pleased with your using your talents. If you are doing a good job at them you might focus on spiritual exercises like others have suggested rather than quitting. If you are neglecting your vocation at home, then I agree it may be time to cut back.

That said, if you have a vanity problem as you perceive, stepping down may not be the right solution anyway. Like you said it may bring on depression, which I have experienced by myself as part of a psychosis and don’t wish on anybody. Also, it is unlikely the vanity problem will go away; it may just change form and focus. For example, as I partly experienced when my doctor told me to quit my leadership positions in the parish, I went through a “martyr” type complex at times, whereby I felt I had given up my career, sanity, and financial stability of my family – all for the Church and, of course, for God. Over time I realized that was based on vanity and self-pity. Also you might resent “having to” quit (again if you quit for reasons of vanity, and not availability to your family vocation) and become bitter about it and then you have another problem to work through. You may even go into self-loathing, which can be kind of a twisted version of vanity – the belief that you should be able to control yourself and other things instead of relying on God’s promises and guidance.

These are just a couple of examples what could possibly happen. It may be that the increased family time opens your eyes to a world you can’t see now because you were too busy. :shrug:

My main point is that if you have a vanity problem, changing your external circumstances may not be a fix. It may just transfer from one problem to another. Or it may just affix itself to the new circumstances, undaunted. Psychological issues and sins of the heart are tricky; if you try to fight them by “brute force” they often can rise up and become more powerful, putting you in a worse situation than you were before.

In addition the the suggestions from the other posters, (especially taking your prayer life to the next level and seeking out a good SD) I think you might want to consider refocus on helping others become good leaders so you don’t feed the SuperPerson complex. If you think you are the only one who can do as good a job, ask others if they are interested in sharing responsibility and focus on their growth. Eventually you will not be there, so unless you help others take over you might leave a leadership void. So you’re not stepping down and depriving the world of your gifts, but sharing the gifts. When you teach and guide others and truly take interest in their growth, it helps you grow. A good teacher is as much a student as the students. It still may feed the ego, so I would teach others in addition to seeking personal spiritual advice (other than from the Internet) and not as a substitute.

Just one suggestion. But to engage in self-denial, especially if it takes away something valuable from your homeschool community and especially without spiritual guidance, can create new problems or worsen the existing ones, so I think your concerns are valid. It is such an individual and personal issue, take everything I’m saying with a pillar of salt; quitting or cutting back may turn out to be the best thing you ever did, and help you discover a whole new life. In that case, if others struggle to fill your positions, you can still make yourself available on the sidelines for them to consult you. :slight_smile:

Alan

so much wisdom here! I’ll have to really think about this. I do think I would benefit from a “fast” while I consider how to restructure my life. I’m definitely going to set aside some prayer time daily.

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