The Up-Side of Humility
Updated: Feb 19
I think that in the past two years, I have been learning valuable lessons in humility…but it hasn’t felt very good. I guess that for most of my life, whatever might have been going wrong around me, I always had this sort of confidence in who I was; that I was largely capable, smart, intuitive, etc. Even when I knew I had failed, I would somehow morph that failure into a lesson learned, thereby making me smarter instead of it making me doubt myself more in the future.
You may, on the surface, believe this is a good quality. I don’t see it as such, having lived in it. I see that even while I acknowledged God’s hand in many things, I also always got a certain self-satisfaction from being able to handle things, being the one who had it under control, etc. So, in short, when this self-confidence began to crumble due to various circumstances and relationships, I felt that I had nothing of worth to offer. If I couldn’t handle things myself, why would I want anyone to listen to my thoughts or expect them to glean anything from my ramblings?
I really do feel that all of my acknowledgments of weakness or failure prior to this period in my life were mere intellectual nods…my heart did not really feel its own frailty or understand how helplessly it needed God’s Holy Spirit, at least not on a regular basis. Maybe in flashes, I felt a sense of failure or doubted my own sensibility, but I would always pull myself back to feeling OK about myself.
As with all things, learning humility has a very fine line…cross it too far, and you end up spending a little too much time going over your mistakes, letting self-pity move in and render you inert for fear of what other thing you may mess up. I guess I lived there for a while. It has been a hard adjustment going from self-assured me to solely God-assured me. I don’t guess I will ever have it exactly right, but I am always growing a little, even when I feel like I am going backwards.
Thankfully, I have a wonderful Saviour who never ceases to chase me when I am floundering, and loving people around me who remind me of His mercy and forgiveness…the renewal that He offers.
So I feel like I am definitely on the other side of a big mess, coming out on the upside of humility – a place where I know I will fail, and use that only as a reminder to lean wholly on Christ; a place where when I fail, I can trust His words, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’.”
Here are a few more verses that are helping me stay there:
Lamentations 3:22-23 – The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Psalm 51:1-17 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict, and justified when you judge. Surely, I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, You who are God, my Saviour, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, you, God, will not despise.
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