adjective: having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance.
Am I humble? Are you humble? Is being humble, according to the above definition, even a good thing?
I have often asked myself, “Is it possible to have huge goals and maintain a humble nature?” Some big goals just can’t be achieved without extreme confidence in our own abilities. That confidence can sometimes be interpreted as boasting. We first must believe we can do something before we can really succeed, or we’re doomed to fail, right? Isn’t that what we’ve always been told? “Believe in yourself!”
But also, “Stay humble!”
Can we be humble in our confidence? Can we set out to inspire, educate, and strengthen others if we are meek?
I’ve never been accused of being meek. I’m loud, opinionated, and have often intimidated people with my weirdness. I say what is on my mind and on my heart. I set big goals and enjoy challenging myself in extreme ways. I know God made me this way for His purpose. However, I have been prone to using my “gifts” in ways that take my focus off God. Recently, I got to experience a very expensive lesson in humility. Hashtag: humbled.
I was humbled in the way someone feels shame and embarrassment for publicly failing to achieve a monster goal they had hyped up for a while. But, I was also humbled in the way God asks us to humble ourselves before him, which is a totally different thing than the Merriam-Webster definition.
Merriam-Webster says a humble person shows a low estimate of their importance.
The Bible says a humble person will be EXALTED.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” 1 Peter 5:6
There are countless scriptures about humbling oneself before God. Some even appear repeatedly, word-for-word, in multiple books of the Bible. They all instruct us to be humble in order to be exalted (at the proper time). What does that even mean? It seems so contradictory!
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12
Here’s the thing; it should be easy to be humble before God, The Creator, The King, The Beginning and The End, The Light of the World, The Ancient of Days, and…well, you get it. We have no other option but to be humbled by His greatness and power. Every believer must have an extremely low measure of their own importance when compared with The Father of all existence. That is where we need to be. We need to be humble before God, aware of our weakness and all that separates us from Him. And that’s it. When we are humbled by His greatness and power, that is also where we can find our greatness and power, THROUGH HIM. We fall at His feet and He exalts us with the confidence and pride that can only come from God. We cannot have those things until we proclaim Him to be our own personal almighty.
Humble before the Lord = exalted = confident = strong = important!
“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 11:30
I will boast of my own weakness, as Paul did, as I praise God for giving me strength.
So, yes, we can be confident, strong, outspoken, and humble. We can enthusiastically educate, lead, inspire, and more, with an overwhelming amount of confidence, because that confidence comes from being exalted in our humility before God.
You do not have to have a low measure of your importance before anyone else, but God. You are extremely important. You are His child, created with a purpose, loved unconditionally, and tasked with bringing others to His nail-scarred feet. What could be more important than that?
Have you ever had a big goal, and felt super confident about achieving it, only to fail? How did that feel? Was your confidence in yourself or was it in God’s plan? I often confuse these things and tell myself, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” But, I get hung up on the part about, “I can do all things,” instead of the, “through Christ” part. I start to believe I am capable of doing certain things on my own, and that God is just on my side, like a cheerleader. I ask Him for the strength and the will to reach my goal, but sometimes forget to pray for His will. And though I think I am doing things with Him, I am still wanting things to go according to my plan. And when things don’t go according to my plan? Boom. Humbled. Then comes repentance and falling to my knees to start over from where I know I am supposed to be. I am human. I am a sinner. I have repeated this humility cycle many times, in many different areas of my life (relationships, parenting, education, athletics, outreach, etc.).
Humility cycle: Humble before the Lord >> exalted and confident in the Lord >> confident in your own abilities >> withdraw from God >> painful trial >> HUMBLED >> repent >> repeat.
Does this look familiar to you?
Good news: God is a grace-giving God of second chances (and third chances, etc)!
But, how do we break the cycle? We need accountability, prayer, and to surround ourselves with people who will encourage us and lift us up because of who we are in Christ, not who we are without Him.
This is my prayer today:
”God, thank You for giving each of us our own personalities and gifts to use as we shine a light on Your name in this world. Thank You for giving us freedom to figure these gifts out, even though sometimes that means straying from Your presence. The grace and love You continue to give, even when we struggle to keep our eyes and hearts on You, is the example we wish to follow, but also a reminder of Your greatness. May we bow before that greatness, acknowledging that we are nothing without You. And may You then exalt us, and fill us with the confidence and ability to live our lives with and through You. Please bless all the women reading this with friendships that will encourage them to be humble in the way You desire us to be humble. Thank You for allowing us to learn from our choices, again and again, and for giving us dreams, goals, desires, and talents that we can achieve with strength that comes only from You. Amen.”
What is one example of when God humbled you?
What blessing(s) came out of that humbling?
Written By: Amy Hayes