The concept of humility has long been a struggle for me. Not because I’m particularly braggadocious – just the opposite in fact. So much so, that I’ve found myself eschewing confidence because I was afraid it will tip-toe over into hubris. This is silly for many reasons. So. Many. Reasons. But I suspect that I’m not the only one who has dealt with this.
This type of thinking, however, creates false humility. Telling ourselves or others you are not good at something we clearly have a gifting in really doesn’t make any sense. All it does is hold us back from our best life and our purpose. The lack of humility does the same.
In light of this I have been on a journey to define humility – to grab onto some things to keep in mind when I’m out there in the world trying to be awesome at life but scared to be too awesome for fear that I will think I’m too awesome. Yep, it’s as weird as it sounds.
I’ve discovered 5 things that have brought resolve to this issue:
Humility is not the absence of confidence, it is the presence of acceptance:
1.Acceptance of Your Gifts and Talents
1 Peter 4:10 (AMP)
10 Just as each one of you has received a special gift [a spiritual talent, an ability graciously given by God], employ it in serving one another as [is appropriate for] good stewards of God’s multi-faceted grace [faithfully using the diverse, varied gifts and abilities granted to Christians by God’s unmerited favor].
You have something(s) God has gifted you to do at which you are (or have the potential to be) awesome. You are supposed to use these things to the best of your ability and to not be ashamed of them. Your playing small does not serve the world, after all. Acknowledging your gifts and adding intentional development to natural talent so you can serve others is basically your job as a Jesus lovin’ human here on Earth.
2. Acceptance of Your Own Shortcomings & Accomplishments
Galatians 6:4-5 (AMP)
4 But each one must carefully scrutinize his own work [examining his actions, attitudes, and behavior], and then he can have the personal satisfaction and inner joy of doing something commendable [a]without comparing himself to another. 5 For every person will have to bear [with patience] his own burden [of faults and shortcomings for which he alone is responsible].
This verse really helped me put things into perspective. It is perfectly ok to be proud of the work you’ve done. It is just as necessary as being honest about where you fall short. The key is pretty much the same as it what all your teachers told you on test day in jr. high: keep your eyes on your own work. Comparison is a horrible waste of time and usually only breeds jealousy or doubt. You are responsible for your own awesomeness as well as the spaces that could use a little more development. Both need to be recognized. The next point is essential to keep in mind when thinking about the places that need work.
3.Acceptance of God’s Grace
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (AMP)
8 Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me; 9 but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for[My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.
I am one to focus on my weaknesses and slightly obsess. When I miss a note in worship or a step in dance. Also when I’m way more awkward in an interaction than I wanted to be (which happens approximately 91.7% of the time. This is an improvement). I’m learning to rest in the fact that wherever I fell short, God’s grace is sufficient to cover it and me. His power is not limited by my ability. My weaknesses are merely opportunities to show that off. When I think of it from that perspective, it takes my focus off of me and things don’t feel quite so crusty after that.
4.Acceptance of God’s Omnipotence
Romans 11:36 (AMP)
36 For from Him [all things originate] and through Him [all things live and exist] and to Him are all things [directed]. To Him be glory and honor forever! Amen.
Also a game changer. Every good and perfect gift in us comes from God. It goes right back to glorifying Him and all success belongs to Him. This is an important part of humility – recognizing we are the conduit, but not the focus. In the past, I’ve been scared to promote things I do or speak up to seize an opportunity because I didn’t want to put myself on some kind of pedestal. What’s important here is the heart. Sometimes it’s necessary to put ourselves out there – but as long as we keep this focus correct, we won’t vear off into self-importance or self-deprecation. If the point of the ability is to be used for God, it should be excellent – we should be excellent. Thinking lowly of ourselves does not promote excellence – therefore it does not serve us.
5.Acceptance of Coaching
Proverbs 19:20 (AMP)
20 Listen to counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, That you may be wise in the time to come.
This is so important! If you find yourself in a space where you feel like you know everything and no mentors can speak into your life, you have fallen off fam. Same goes for if you are afraid to receive feedback because it’s challenging or uncomfortable. Go back and make sure the other 4 components are working. If not, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate why you are doing what you are doing. Has it become all about you (your ability or your insecurities)? Maybe. God puts people in our lives to encourage us, to check us, to make us better. Not accepting this is a dangerous place to be. Humility & wisdom are a winning combination. But we must accept that we don’t have all the pieces to the puzzle. That’s why we need a community of believers, mentors, coaches, pastors & the like. They make us stronger by helping us see the things we cannot on our own.
In your time with God this week, ask Him to show you if any of these elements are not present and also to strengthen them all.
Is there anything you would add?