Humility is a really annoying word! Let’s face it. Everyone wants to be humble, but you can just never arrive there unless you want to put your very humility at stake. It’s highly desirable, but never attainable. If you are asked to describe yourself in one word, it’s not like you can say ‘oh yeah man, I’m a really humble person’. Even if you meant well, it won’t come across as humble. As soon as you say you are humble, you’re clearly not.
This poses a problem because in order to be humble, you kind of have to be humble without knowing you are being humble. You have to deny absolutely anything slightly related to pride out of fear of not being humble. It’s almost like we are really focused on not not being humble that we can’t just be humble.
This ‘not not being humble’ business means that we refuse to admit or believe that we are good at stuff, or we can’t accept a compliment from somebody else – somebody else is always the one to thank, we aren’t worthy of your commendations, it was nothing. Too much thinking like this can even lead us to believe that we sincerely aren’t good at anything.
Then we are torn, because we know that God talks about the talents in the Bible, so a fear of being a ‘wretched and worthless servant’ kicked outside drives us to admit that yes, we are good at some stuff and we better get moving rather than hiding it in our socks in a hole in the ground. But we can’t fully believe that we are doing a good job at it.
Aren’t we just lying to ourselves here?
When I was in Uganda, a missionary friend defined humility this way and my mind all but literally starting spinning:
Humility is seeing yourself the way God sees you, no more and no less.
This gives us so much freedom to move!
Of course we are talented, beautiful, capable, and amazing – God made us this way! The Bible says so. Stop avoiding it and face it head on. Let it sink deep inside of you.
You are amazing.
You are beautiful.
You are a masterpiece.
You are talented.
You are free from condemnation and free to live right before God (Romans 6 + 8).
To think anything less is to see yourself less than how God sees you.
On the flip side, to think that you came up with all of this on your own is also more than how God sees you. Never forget where your talent comes from.
But admit it. Shine it. Accept the encouragement from others.
(bonus reading that I read probably before I went to Uganda and has stuck with me ever since then: stop acting like you’re not good at anything…)
Allow yourself to see you the way God sees you, no more and no less.
I honestly still have a lot of pride in my life. I still don’t get humility right. But CS Lewis said it well when he said, ‘true humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.’ (Mere Christianity)
I know that the more I believe this definition, the easier it is to love others and let their shortcomings roll off of me, because I’m not clinging to them to give me worth. Why loving people is the opposite of magic barbeque ribs explains this perfectly, so you should go check it out!
If you let yourself believe that you are a beautiful, amazing masterpiece created in God’s loving image, how does that change your life?
Peacin’ out. 😉