I recently had an up close and personal experience with humility. More on that shortly.
Humility is pretty unpopular as far as virtues go.
It sort of falls in the same category as patience. We’ve been warned not to pray for patience because the Lord may put you in a difficult situation in order to grow in it. Bleh!
With that logic, most of us aren’t chomping at the bit to acquire more humility.
I’m certainly not claiming to have a vast knowledge about the subject. However, I know one thing: God wants it from His people.
If you desire to walk closely with the Lord, humility is required.
Allow me to share my recent humbling experience. But first, let me say I was quite resistant because it doesn’t paint me in a good light. And with that realization, pride reared its ugly head.
Pride hates to be called out.
So, this is precisely why I’m going to share my story. God is going to get all the glory which absolutely annihilates pride!
Now, on with the story . . .
A few months ago, one of my books from the Beauties from Ashes series was nominated as a finalist for a prestigious award. The award ceremony was a few nights ago. I was unable to attend but watched the live video from home.
There were several categories such as Anthologies, Bible Studies, and Children’s Literature to name a few. I cheered for my peers as their names were called as finalists and celebrated with the winners as I waited for my category: YA Nonfiction/Fiction.
Finally, the YA category began. I leaned in, listening as each finalist’s names were called. But I never heard my name announced. The YA winners were proclaimed without a mention that I was even a finalist. I was apparently the only name forgotten.
To make matters worse, family and friends were also watching from their homes. The texts began to flood in. “What happened? Your name was never called? Is there another category for YA Fiction?”
Needless to say, I was confused and quite embarrassed.
This oversight (which is truly what it was), hit on some raw nerves of not feeling good enough or valued.
The human ego is fragile.
When I say ego, I am simply referring to our self-worth. To have self-worth, we must consider ourselves as valuable. This is where things get muddy when it comes to humility.
Humility is tricky.
How can one truly be humble and know it? If someone says they are humble, chances are they are not.
I used to think of humility as thinking less of myself. Later I thought of it as thinking of myself less. We might also think of humility as the opposite of pride. I believe there is some truth is this, however, I have discovered a broader meaning.
So, what is humility?
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:3-4 NLT
Have you noticed that we can’t even talk about humility without somehow referencing “self?” Here’s what God has been slowly teaching me.
Humility is not about self at all. Humility is all about others.
Humility is not putting yourself down. That’s called false humility.
Humility is about lifting others up.
Back to my humbling experience. Feeling pretty dejected, I went off to bed to brood and to pout. Before I knew it, I was the guest of honor at my own pity party. It was all about me!
By morning, I knew I needed to take some time with the Lord to help me navigate constructively on this obviously unintentional oversight that had robbed me of a good night’s sleep and the joy of the accomplishment of being a finalist.
Oh, the Lord is so gracious to us. I love how He uses our mistakes—including cruddy selfish attitudes— to teach us more about His grace and love! The Lord gently reminded me of how easily we can get off track.
The Lord assured me that although my name was not announced as a finalist for the award, my name is written in the Book of Life.
“Daughter,” the Lord whispered to my spirit. “Not only is your name recorded in the Book of Life for all eternity, but your name is also written on the palm of my hand (Isaiah 49:16). Before you were given the name Rebecca Noelle by your parents, I knew you and loved you and I always will (Psalm 139). You belong to me, child. This is where you find true self-worth.”
When achievements become more about self than about God, it threatens our relationship with God and others. And God is all about healthy relationships.
The Lord gives us our gifts and talents to shine for Him and to help others.
If I’m all about me, I’m selfish and not humble.
If I’m all about God and others, that is humility. And there’s no room for pride.
Yeah, I really do think it’s that simple.
Jesus is the true example of humility. “Though he was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up his divine privileges, he took the humble position of a slave and was born a human being.” Philippians 2:6
See, it was all about God the Father and others to Jesus. That’s humility.
What do you think? Have you ever had a humbling experience like mine? Need prayer? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.