For bone-weary Burbmoms who need to recollect themselves and reconnect with the Divine.
This week’s encouragement is to practice the spiritual discipline of humility. I am about to tell you one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. My tale begins, as all the great stories do, with a protagonist marked by blind ambition and total ignorance of what lay before her…
There I was–in the Dallas Convention Center rubbing elbows with some of today’s best Christian authors and speakers. I was a guest of a friend who is a prolific author of books on prayer. She invited me to her book signing so she could provide feedback on a book proposal I’d mailed to her. As we walked around the convention center, other authors and friends of hers would stop and chat, and she would introduce me. Some authors, I recognized immediately; some only conjured recognition upon hearing their name.
Imagine it with me now…you’re standing beside your famous friend as another famous person approaches with someone holding onto her arm. You realize the woman is gripping her arm as if she’s disabled in some way and needs to hang on for stability or support. As you’re introduced, you extend your hand but the woman’s gaze never shifts and she doesn’t extend her hand in return. Suddenly it dawns on you that she is blind! You then recognize her name as another famous author…and you’re standing there holding your hand out too a blind woman in the middle of a circle of people you aspire to be like. This is the stuff sitcoms and my life are made of.
Yes, my friends, this is but one memory the Spirit brings to mind whenever I need a good ole dose of humility. (Sometimes the Spirit brings it to my husband’s mind and he’ll administer the dose by saying something like, “Well that’s about as foolish as trying to shake hands with a blind person!”) I think it is good to laugh at yourself.
Richard Rohr said, “Humility and honesty are really the same thing. A humble person is simply a brutally honest person about the whole truth…The only honest response to life is a humble one.”
Now, I could tell only part of the story about my day at the convention center and it could paint a different picture, one where I come out looking better. That’s image management. Do you ever catch yourself doing that? What if I name-dropped the authors’ names in the depiction above. Would that have made the point about humility when really I was also telling you who I know? Refraining from name-dropping and refraining from image management are two ways to practice humility.
Other practices of humility from The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook include: deliberately keeping silent about accomplishments and talents, drawing others out instead of becoming the center of attention, avoiding favoritism, and choosing downward mobility so others have more.
You might ask yourself, “Why in the world would I want to do that?” Consider this: humble people are free. Their identity doesn’t rest on public opinion. Instead of chasing after approval, their sense of well-being comes from the proper ordering of their affections. They see themselves honestly as they stand in the light of God. In short, they have perspective. It’s about freedom and liberation from the death grip of ego. Humility is revolutionary. A situation that once might have jeopardized my “false self”, the self of my own accomplishment, was instead a situation that endeared those women to me…for they all very lovingly reached out there own hands to touch the woman (and made it look like that’s what I had intended to do) as I sheepishly grinned at them in appreciation.
Practicing humility is a good reminder for me at this time of year when report cards are sent, sports teams are wrapping up, and awards are given out. And it is good news for the many who don’t get A’s, whose team doesn’t win, and for those who don’t receive an award: blessed are the poor in spirit. God still dwells with those who are “contrite and lowly in spirit.”
Sometimes it is in keeping our eyes low that we catch the gaze of “him who made himself of no reputation.” This week may you find yourself in low places and discover a Divine Connection.