Looking back over yesterday I find myself having tripped over my pride many times – when a stranger walked by as the baby was crying, when I snapped at my son for turning off the printer mid-printing, when I ducked into my room to change clothes because a friend stopped over. Yet, I was supposed to have spent the last week focusing on humility – teaching & being an example to my children.
Before I continue, I’d like to review the definition of humility as I see it. I feel like we’ve culturally lost clarity on the meaning being humble. Some take it to mean that you are “down on yourself.” Some confuse it with “honored”, as in “I’m so humbled to receive this award.”
I asked my kids if they knew what humility means.
My 7 year old said, “What’s that?”
My 11 year old said, “It’s being embarrassed.”
I was humbled.
Apparently I’d done a poor job getting it across.
I told them,
“Humility means believing that what God says about you is more important than what anyone else says about you, including what you think about yourself.”
My daughter asked, “What about what you say about me?”
I said, “Yes, God’s opinion is more important than what mama and daddy say about you.”
Then I asked them, “Why do you think its more important to believe what God says about you than anyone else?”
My 11 year old responded, “Because He’s the one who actually knows you and sees the good and bad.”
My 7 year old said, “He’s in control of the Universe.”
They were both right..
The all-knowing Creator of the Universe can make better judgments than you or anyone else can about who is more important.
Far from being a burden, humility is a blessing that lightens your load.
It takes takes the pressure off to look good in front of other people. Their opinions mean little to you in comparison to what God says.
It builds you up. God values and loves you more than anyone else is capable. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. In Christ, you are a new creation. And because of this, you can approach the throne of God with confidence.
If you are confident, you have no need to vie for position, no need to posture, or try to control. You can let go of any focus on yourself and your position.
As C.S. Lewis said,
“Humility not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
There are so many more benefits to embracing humility, but I’d like to just address one more, it’s beneficial effect on relationships. Being humble means being teachable. Learning and receiving allow us to be filled up and built up. An over-inflated sense of self importance on the other hand, can put in a state of always trying to live up to our perception of ourselves. It can turn us into workaholics and perfectionists who have no room or energy to grow in the areas where it matters most. On the other hand, when we allow others to work, to serve, and to care for us, we honor the value of what they have to offer. Being teachable means we listen to others have to say. Humility is essential to healthy balanced relationships.
So my baby crying – I would do better by the baby to think less of myself and think instead of what she needs.
The friend who stopped by is probably more interested in if I’m hospitable, than what I’m wearing.
And my son, if I paused and asked (which I did later). I would’ve understood that he thought the printer had gone off on accident and was trying to help out by turning it off. I would’ve seen his attempt at thoughtfulness, instead of snapping because he got in the way of my productivity.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not feeling down on myself, but I’m seeing there’s benefits to doing it differently next time – to pausing, thinking of myself less, and being teachable.
How are you cultivating a culture of humility in your home?
Edited to add Lauren Daigle’s song – so on point with this post.