A thirty-day exercise in pausing, reflecting, appreciating, and giving thanks for simple things.
Humility is a challenging concept to understand. I know that being awestruck is part of humility—to be humbled by nature. So I was thinking about times in my life when I was so completely surprised and blown away by something that I might have been humbled by it. The birth of each of my children did that for me. I was awestruck by the miracle of birth. I once won a prestigious award and was shocked that I was chosen. But those two events didn’t make me humbled; instead they lifted my up, they empowered me. I was filled with pride in those moments, and pride is actually an antonym of humility. So just what exactly does it mean to be humbled by something?
Some definitions teach that true humility occurs when you are broken, crushed, humiliated. Think of defining moments in your life, but at the lowest moments of your life. If you are humbled, then you are lower in dignity or importance. Religious texts tell us that we as sinners shall kneel before Christ, that we will be humbled.
To be humbled doesn’t mean one is weak or less than another. It means we are without pride or arrogance. The Bible shows us humility in a strong person who loves others, not someone who is weak or timid. A humble person can diffuse an argument without expressing anger. A humble person can react to unfairness without being vengeful. When a humble person is criticized, he learns from the moment instead of becoming defensive.
To be humble means you don’t have unrealistic expectations. Now that’s a concept I can wrap my mind around. In some areas of my life, I am very much a realist and I don’t have too high expectations. In other areas of my life, my dreams are so large that I cannot come close to being a realist.
I need to mull over this concept of humility before I am willing to commit to three gifts. But one thing is for certain, I have some work to do on this virtue.