We women are probably not sporting a swagger in the office, bragging about the latest golf game or competing for the most impressive story of a death-defying mountain-climbing excursion. As women, we’re likely to be far more subtle in those attitudes that God’s Word simply calls, “pride.” In my life, it seems like there are as many variations on personal pride as there are shoes in my closet, each of them for a different purpose, each of them worn on different occasions. Since James 4:6 says that God is opposing the proud, but gives grace to the humble, I need to take inventory of my “Spiritual Shoe Closet.”

The High-Heeled Stiletto of Self-Reliance Because you’re an independent woman who knows how to make a statement!

That famous line, “I am woman, hear me roar!” captures the essence of personal pride. C.J. Mahaney’s Humility says, “Pride is when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon Him.” Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Nothing. My attitude of self-sufficiency and self-reliance is an offense to my God and the reality of His empowering grace in my life. 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 reminds us of where competence comes from: “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God. Have you been walking around in the powerfully impressive, but precariously unstable Stiletto of Self-Reliance?

The Gaudy Gladiators of Competitive RivalryThe more outlandish the better!

Galatians 6:3-5 warns against comparing ourselves to others to fuel our self-perception: “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.” For each will have to bear his own load. Miriam must have been lacing up the straps to her spiritual Gaudy Gladiators when she challenged her brother, Moses. “Has The Lord indeed spoken only through Moses?” (Numbers 12:2). In a spirit of rivalry, she believed she was just as deserving of power, despite what God had set up. Philippians 2:3 commands us to “do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

The Clunky Boots of Selfish AmbitionWhen you just need to kick people out of your way!

This is one shoe I find myself wearing with just about anything! Before you plow over another sister in Christ with the Clunky Boots of Selfish Ambition, consider Whose attitude we should emulate: “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:4-7)

The Elevated Platforms of Self-RighteousnessBecause it’s so much nicer outside when you’re above everyone else!

Instead of acknowledging that it’s God, “who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light,” (Colossians 1:1-11), the Elevated Platform of Self-Righteousness forgets that we have nothing good, righteous or pleasing to God apart from Christ. Self-righteousness tries to remove a speck from another’s eye with a plank stuck in theirs, while humility bears another’s burdens and restores in a spirit of gentleness (Matthew 7:1-5, Galatians 6:1-2)