The Heart of Humility

Humility. It’s an honored virtue in the Bible, in our churches and in our society, as it well should be. But for most of my life, I’ve bullied myself with false humility. I’ve transformed humility to hubris, which is not what God intended.

All my life, I’ve never really felt “enough.” I think that’s pretty common in our world of social media comparison, impossible media standards and selfie culture. But in a way, I think I’ve always felt like that’s what you’re supposed to feel.

I always thought that if you felt like you were enough, you were somehow sinning. It sounds crazy when I admit it, but I always thought embracing your gifts was a prideful thing to do.

Listen to me, friends. That’s not humility. The other day, a speaker at my mentor group discussed our strength finders. And she said something that freed my heart from years of shame. She talked about how embracing our strengths doesn’t mean we aren’t humble, it’s the way God created us.

Humility doesn’t mean hating yourself. It’s not that gut-punching feeling of “not-enough-ness” that crawls in your heart and whispers lies in your head. It’s not doubting your worth, and it’s certainly not denying your gifts.

The Bible talks all the time about how God gave us each different gifts and abilities for a specific purpose. It talks about how we are made in God’s image and how we are so fearfully and wonderfully made.

If all of that’s true, which I wholeheartedly believe, then how can I also doubt and deny my worth, my purpose, my identity?

Arrogance is pretty easy to spot. We see it in people who only care about themselves, who boast about their abilities and who serve themselves above others.

But I think there’s another type of arrogance that’s harder to admit and certainly harder to spot.

It’s the essence of false humility that has captivated my life for so long. It’s those “you’re not good enough” thoughts that become so pervasive in our minds. It’s those lies of self-doubt that crowd our brains with trash instead of truth.

And false humility is such a sad concept to me. False humility keeps us captive in our own minds, a prisoner of self-inflicted shame. False humility gives us a spirit of fear, which is such a loss to the world.

False humility makes us fearful to do what we’re good at. It makes us not want to sing or dance or write or do whatever it is that God has called you to do. False humility leads to a tendency to hide our talents and avoid them so we aren’t considered prideful.

But I think false humility basically is pride, sneakily wrapped in another destructive package.

When I boast about myself, I’m focusing on me. I’m focusing on my efforts.

When I doubt myself, I’m focusing on me. I’m focusing on my shortcomings.

Do you see the similarity?

I’m focusing on myself instead of on God. I’m basing my worth on my own successes or failures, not in God’s words and in God’s presence.

When I’m truly content and confident in my identity in Christ, I don’t have to doubt my own worth because I know it already.

I think there’s a balance, friends. Being humble is not hiding. It’s OK to embrace your gifts. God didn’t give you talents so you could put them away and keep them to yourself.

When you embrace your calling and your purpose, it doesn’t make you prideful. It makes you YOU. It makes you useful. It makes you the best version of you.

I think that’s what humility is about. I think it’s realizing that we are all sinful, broken people who mess up every day and desperately need God. I think it’s about realizing that God designed us with special gifts for a special purpose that only we can do. I think it’s completely accepting that on our own, we’re a hot mess. But with God, He makes our messes His masterpiece, and he lets us be a part of this crazy, beautiful adventure called life.

Humility is found when we surrender to Christ. It’s submitting ourselves daily to the one who made us so that we can accomplish His plans for His glory.

You are so beautifully unique and special, friends. Embrace it. It’s OK to accept that God gave you special abilities.

So let me ask you, friend. What are you good at? What are you passionate about?

I think if all of us can accept that, God can do BIG things through it.

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