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Some things I’ve been thinking about

Off-topic post ahead, that has basically nothing to do with frugality! Also: it’s gonna be a little rambly because I am figuring this out as I type.

You’ve been warned. 😉

clover flower.

You know how on Friday, I mentioned something in passing about my grades, and about how I was wondering if I’m being prideful about them?

I read all of your sweet comments on the topic, and I’ve been mulling over that whole topic, trying to figure out what is the way that I want to think about this.

raindrops on a leaf.

I felt happy on Thursday when grades came out, and then on Friday morning when I woke up, I felt really down. Not about the semester ending; I was crying because I had this nagging feeling that I should not be proud of myself.

That I should give the credit to someone else.

That I should downplay my efforts.

That I should be smaller, more muted, more self-effacing.

And the tears were there because a part of me knew that someone else in my shoes might feel unmitigated joy. But that was out of reach for me.

ladybug on a leaf.

The voices in my head are relentless; they’re busy deflating me by telling me variations of, “Don’t be proud of yourself.”

Someone says, “But you have worked so hard!” and The Voices say, “You should just be grateful that someone else taught you how to work hard.” or, “You can be grateful God gave you a good work ethic.”

I want to share my joy over my success, and The Voices say, “Don’t talk about it, because it might make other people feel bad.”

Someone says, “You are so smart!” and The Voices say, “You can be grateful that God gave you a good brain.”

white flowers.


The other day, I was telling a friend that you can see this if you read what I wrote about the whole, “I kept us here with words” idea.

In that post, I let myself feel a little bit of defiant pride and then I circled right back around and corrected that to a humbly grateful attitude.

The rule: Only I need to be small

The weird thing is, I would never expect anyone else to think this way about themselves.

I had a friend who needed a pretty high grade on the final in order to pass med surg, and she worked so so so hard prepping for finals. When she texted me to tell me about her grade, I nearly screamed with happiness. And tears came to my eyes.

I immediately told her, “I’m so proud of you! And I think you should be so proud of yourself too. You worked super hard for this.”

white daisy.

And as “I passed!” messages rolled in from my friends that afternoon, I cheered all of them on.

When Zoe finished her last final, I told her something very similar to what I told my friends, and then I took her out to dinner to celebrate.

I can give this encouragement to others, but I am struggling to give it to myself.

Some of the roots of these thoughts trace back to particular people and things they’ve said (“You are just going to nursing school for the attention you will get.”, for example), but also to theology that emphasizes my nothingness, my unworthiness, and my total depravity.

Trying to talk myself out of this logically does not work.

It’s like I have a big, spiritual block in my brain that says, “Nope, it is never ok to take credit. You are nothing. Everything you do needs to be credited to God/someone else.”

Bridge thoughts

Natalie Hoffman* often suggests that our brains do better with a bridge thought than with a big leap.


*Natalie was excommunicated by John Piper’s church, Bethlehem Baptist, for leaving her emotionally and spiritually abusive marriage, and now she helps other women who are in the same boat with their marriages.


Trying to make a huge thought correction is just too much for our brains to handle; they resist that.

So, I’ve been pondering….what is a bridge thought? What’s a baby step toward a more balanced and happy view of myself and my accomplishments?

A bridge in the woods.

Here are a few I’ve come up with to try on for size.


First, I landed on this: a prideful person would probably want to be better than everyone else, and that is not what I want.

I wanted my whole class to pass. I helped friends study so that they could have a better chance of passing. I felt unmitigated joy at their successes.

And I also feel super happy for my classmates who routinely get grades as high as mine; I think there is room for all of us to do great in nursing school.

honeysuckle flower.


Another option: maybe there is room for some less black-and-white thinking here. Maybe I can recognize the privileges I have had and also give myself a pinch of credit for maximizing those advantages.

A related thought: I could also make a little space for acknowledging that I have experienced some difficulties along the way.

My path has not been the hardest one in the world, but it has also not been 100% easy.

wild rose.


Maybe there is a difference between a) being satisfied with an outcome and b) being prideful and self-centered.


Maybe it is completely morally neutral to share a joy/success with someone. Maybe that is not the same as bragging. Maybe that’s not the same as just doing something for attention.

I want others to share their joys with me so that I can celebrate with them, so honestly, it should be fine for me to do the same. It’s part of what makes relationships rich and wonderful.

pink roses with a ladybug.

We’ll see if these ideas can manage to take root in my brain and offer some pushback to The Voices. 🙂


If you made it this far, ummmmm…thank you for listening!

I hope this was helpful or at least interesting. And I hope that if you have had similar struggles, you feel a bit less alone.

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Becky Stewart

Tuesday 4th of June 2024

Thank you for sharing this, Kristen!


Monday 3rd of June 2024

“Maybe it is completely morally neutral to share a joy/success with someone.”

Beyond being morally neutral to share your joy, the word says to “rejoice with those who rejoice.” If we hide our fruit (joy), no one can celebrate with us.

We see lots of biblical examples of rejoicing. And we even see God honoring David’s actions.

Doing your best and giving credit where it’s due (God for creating your brain, and you for using it well) are honorable.

Congrats on your amazing grades!


Tuesday 4th of June 2024

Thank you. <3

Wendy G

Saturday 25th of May 2024

There is a difference in being prideful and being proud.

prideful (adjective) having an excessively high opinion of oneself:

proud (adjective) · prouder (comparative adjective) · proudest (superlative adjective) feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one's own achievements, qualities, or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated:

Don't confuse the two. You are not prideful, you are proud of YOUR achievements and the achievements of others. You should be proud.

Tracy T

Friday 24th of May 2024

You are not prideful or boastful or undeserving! You have accomplished all of these great grades because of hard work and dedication to do so. Do not let the devil put wrong thoughts in your head - just say "not today Satan" and choose joy. I am so proud of you and I can't wait to see what you do next! Keep up the great work.


Thursday 23rd of May 2024

Whose voice is it that you’ve internalized ? Is it a reliable source of information?

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