I grew up identifying humility with humiliation. I had it in my head that when you became too prideful God came down from heaven to put the smackdown on you and take you down a notch or five.
Who else grew up thinking of God this way? That whenever you were getting “too big for your britches” He would knock you down?
I tried really hard to stay under Gods radar so he wouldnt have to teach me any lessons since I was so scared of being embarrassed and making mistakes. I think it all stems from my most embarrassing horror that ever happened to me…
It was the 6th grade, during math class. My math class was right after lunch and at the time it was my favorite class. I looked forward to it all day, every day, even test days. No, not becasue I loved math, in fact I hated math. It was because I got to sit next to my 6th grade crush, Jeff Hopner. His freckled nose, his mouth full of braces, Jeff was the coolest boy in 6th grade. I was the chubby girl in our grade so I knew I had to win him over with my charm and wit and brains. Only, I was so shy around him and since I wasn’t all that great in math, I didn’t have too many opportunities to impress him. Until that day. It was a pretty ordinary day, the highlight so far had been italian dunkers for lunch. Since I am a carb freak, I loved italian dunkers, those big slabs of garlic brad and the sauce in the little syrofoam cups to dunk them in, dee-lish! I always knew how to con my skinny friends into giving me their extra bread, they didn’t like italian dunkers because then their breath smelled like garlic the rest of the day. I said, I don’t care, garlic gives me the farts, but I love it anyway, I’ll take yours! And down the hatch my extra slices of garlic bread and sauce went. Fast forward to math class. Tummy gurgling, breath smelling and brain foggy from all the carbs overload, guess who gets called to the front for problem solving at the board? This girl! And of course, since I was concentrating on holding in the garlic gas, I hadn’t been paying any attention and had no clue what problem I was supposed to be working on. But that isn’t the impressive part. I’d like to say I figured it all out and impressed everyone including the teacher and Jeff Hopner with my mad skills on the board. As I stood to walk to the front of the room after the teacher had to call my name twice, I let out the loudest fart in the history of farts, and not just loud, but long. So long I toot-toot-tooted my way to the front, each step immortalizing the moment with another toot. I tried to hold it in. I tried to pinch a penny. But it was no use. I was powerless to stop the toots. And as I got to the front and picked up the chalk, Jeff said what they were all thinking. I’d like to remember it being said with reverance or approval, but it was said with a crinkling of that freckled nose turned up in disgust as he pinched his nostrils closed and immediately yelled, “EWWWW! Jeni sure knows how to toot her own horn- she farted!” I was mortified. And as any normal kid would do, or at least in my book of working hard not to be humiliated, I tried to deny it. “I did not!” That sealed my fate for the rest of the year. Not only was I that girl who farted, I was that girl who farted and then lied about it, which made it ten times worse.
And thus my fear of humility was born.
Being overly concerned with the approval of others.
The need to lash out in anger or lies when embarrassed.
Blaming others. Blaming God.
Isolating. Not allowing my weakness to show.
I shared all of this to say, breaking down the reasons for our behaviors, breaking apart the moldy facade to get to the real mortar and reinforce our foundation…all of that is meaningless and will cause us to spin our tires unless we keep this in mind…
True biblical humility implies that we see ourselves as God sees us.
Not as others see us, not the identify our parents or friends, or peers or even Jeff Hopner puts on us, but that God puts on us as His children. It is putting ourselves in proper perspective in light of God’s plan. It does not matter what others think of us. What matters is, who are we modeling life after?
Appropriate humility is seen in Christ’s life, who emptied himself to obey God’s will, to serve others and to fulfill Gods plan for His life.
We can do all the self analyzing we want to…read all the self help books we can get into our amazon account, but it isnt gonna make a world of difference unless we are willing to place ourselves under Gods control and submit to His will and plan for our lives. Start today by reading the book of John. It may just be the identity changer you need today.