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True Humility

True Humility

Recently I have been striving to have more humility. It’s a characteristic I want, and I know it does not come naturally to me. My quest for humility started a few years back when I watched a YouTube video of a little girl named Jenna sitting on the stairs giving her mother advice about how to relate to her ex-husband. She shares a lot of wisdom, coaching her mom on how to be “friends” with her ex. She tells her mother she wants her to be “low” and not so “high up”. She never uses the word humble, but I think that’s exactly the word she was searching for. She desired for her mother to demonstrate humility rather than pride and self-centeredness. Her mother’s heart was melted in repentance.

I shared the video with my husband, and in our morning prayers he began to pray for me to “be low”, meaning that I would be able to be humble. He knows my struggle with pride and that I want to grow in humility. I am grateful for this reminder and need it often.

I think many people in our culture would find the word humility to be one that describes a negative trait. It does not sound like strength, which we value greatly as Americans. Humility is defined as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness. Freedom from pride or arrogance.” I need to consciously choose to turn away from my natural tendency to be prideful. I don’t know if I’ll ever be completely free of pride, but I definitely want to be quick to acknowledge it and to repent of it in my heart, choosing instead to be like Christ who was the perfect example of humility.

A few people I have known have had humility as their primary characteristic; one was my grandmother. In being humble, it enabled her to serve others well and to love with great kindness and compassion. Her humility grew out of her faith in God and her daily time spent with Him. Another woman who readily demonstrated humility was a nurse I worked with in recent years at HeartReach Center. I began to observe her because her humble spirit was so beautiful. I watched her faith lived out with great humility as she served our clients. Everyone felt so well-cared for while undergoing an early ultrasound in pregnancy. Many had just recently found out they were pregnant, and some were scared or unhappy about the pregnancy at that point. Being with someone like our nurse helped to put many at ease and to gently wrap them in God’s loving care as they moved from crisis mode to a place of acceptance and many times even excitement. Seeing humility lived out so clearly in the lives of people I admire inspires me to move in that same direction.

In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, humility is essential for establishing a right relationship with God and others, as well as keeping an accurate assessment of ourselves. When I was a camp counselor I remember standing out by the flagpole with my campers early each morning and quoting the following verse together: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 Amplified version). I like this translation of the verse because it highlights that one needs to humble themselves before walking humbly with God. It’s an intentional choice, not just something we naturally have within us.

Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom”. Somehow having an accurate view of ourselves and our importance moves us toward gaining wisdom. We need to examine our hearts regularly and clear out anything that hints of non-humility. One benefit that comes with aging is learning to shift one’s reliance on strength, beauty, and accomplishment, to inner wisdom and a greater faith that is built on true humility. True humility is an accurate view of ourselves, others, and God. Getting there can be a lifelong journey. The best way to pursue humility is to do so daily. By starting each day with a quiet spirit and a head bowed toward God, we can study His word and open our hearts to what He has to say to us personally. This is the surest way I know to have an accurate view of who I’ve been, who I am, and who I’m called to be.

I plan to “be low” today and to hopefully be one step closer to my goal of living out true humility.

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