I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about humility recently. I mean really what does it look like to be humble? I’m not sure if I’ll ever really grasp this concept fully. I’d like to be humble, but I’ll be honest, there are times when people might pay me a compliment or affirm something I’ve done and my natural reaction in my head is “Thanks for noticing”. Not in a bashful way, but in a what took you so long kind of way. Now I wouldn’t say that I go around expecting the whole world to tell me how awesome I am… I’m not really. It’s just hard to be humble. I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on what I think I deserve in life. I’ve often struggled with feeling anonymous. The funny thing I’ve read in You Lost Me and what David Kinnaman said live in his presentation, is that my generation strongly believes that we can be famous. Maybe it’s the social networking phenomenon that makes us all the reality star in our own lives, but my generation really thinks that fame is around the corner for us. I’m not sure I believe that I’m going to be famous. I would be lying if I said I didn’t dream about being a published author or other things that seem fanciful, but I’m not sure fame and fortune are in my future. But I think about it… Do you?
I was thinking about the passage in Scripture about Christ’s humility and wondering if I could ever attain such a mindset. The answer, of course, is no, because I’m not Jesus. But what would it look like to have more of this in my life:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very natureGod, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)
I also thought about all the times that Jesus said the last will be first and the first will be last (Matthew 20:16, Mark 10:31, Luke 13:30). I don’t want to be like the guest who sets himself at the head of the table only to be asked to move when a more important guest arrives. I don’t want to be like James and John who fought over who gets to set at the right hand of Jesus. They just didn’t get it. I confess I don’t really get it either. I want honor, but I’m not looking for it in the right places. The approval of man will never give me what I need inside.
As I was thinking about humility and as I was wrestling with my own bitterness and disappointment, I started to listen to worship music and sing along. It’s crazy how I could feel the bitterness melting off my heart. When I worship, my heart puts things into perspective. Jesus first. Are you noticing a theme lately? As I sang, my God became bigger than my problems and my hurt. It’s easier to be humble when I realize just how small I am compared to God. The other great thing about worship is that it can be honest and raw. It doesn’t sugar coat life. I think of the Psalms where David cries out to God because of the distress he is in. David knew how small he was in comparison to God. Worshiping and calling out to God in these moments is humbling. It’s acknowledging that that I can’t do it. I’m nothing special! Not without God fighting for me.
I’m learning a few lessons in this current season of life. I’m learning to keep my eyes on Jesus – that he is the center of it all. He is why I do what I do and why I keep going. I’m also learning that I need to live my life in a way that honors God, not man. I’m so worried about the opinion of others. I don’t want to seek my own fame. I want my life all to be for God’s glory, not mine. I’m also learning to be honest about pain and disappointment. I’m learning how to respond to those feelings with worship. I’m learning that my life problems seem insignificant when I compare them to how big my God is. I’m completely out of control and that is okay. I know that I can only control myself. I pray that my response to life will be one filled with humility and grace. I pray that the struggles would only draw me closer to Jesus. I pray that I would let go of my own desires and just live each moment to the best of my ability.
I’m not there yet, but I’m learning.