Humility

I wondered as I typed that title how many folks will see it and close their computer window:  I know I would.  🙂

So, how are y’all surviving the Perfect Storm that seems to be descending?   I’m not just talking about the Wall Street/Main Street situation, but beyond that.  Do you know any hemisphere of life (financial, physical, spiritual, etc.) that is placid?  Oftentimes I pray, “God, get me out!”, and God chuckles, “Do you know how much trouble I went to to let this happen for your own good?”

I’ve been having a week.  I’m allowing macro and micro disturbances to affect me.  Each night I dream, vivid dreams, dreams about friends from high school, which could be an indicator that I spend too much time on Facebook, or it could signal that I’m feeling fairly turbulant (high school was the best of times, it was the worst of times).

I’m having fight or flight feelings, mostly flight.  I feel like I’ve fought:  I’ve done work of discerning what God’s calling our church body to, I’ve shared when I didn’t want to, I’ve felt stupid while crying out words that I didn’t necessarily want to share but couldn’t hold back.  I’ve shared my ideal vision about living in community, and it’s not come to light (at least how I think it should happen, because I have the best insight, of course).  🙂

I’ve heard it explained that people have four responses when dealing with conflict, but that the order is dependent upon the personality type.  For me, it’s (lowest response to highest):  withdraw, come back with the “right” answer, become apathetic, attack at the personal level.  If I withdraw, it’s not that big of a deal:  I just need to think about things.  But if I respond with name calling, I’m at the end of my rope.  The reason I haven’t been blogging?  Let’s just say most of my thoughts are a bit tinged with an accusatory flavor.  And a lot of it is directed at myself.

No. Right. Answer.  I keep running scenarios over and over in my head on How To Live The Spirit Filled and Spirit Empowered Life.  And No. Right. Answer comes to mind.

Is anybody living a spirit empowered life?

Is living in a community based on faith worth it?

Why am I attending a Quaker church?

Why do I go to church at all?

What is this whole life all about anyway?

This evening, with the presidential debates playing in the background, a word came:  one I didn’t like:  one that won’t stop ringing in my head:  one that I don’t know much about, mostly intentionally:  one that I’m going to learn about in this Perfect Storm.

Humility.

The kind of humility that acknowledges that the Creator God has it all, and that the Created Me’s got nothing except my soulish will.  The kind of humilty that requires giving up my false sense of control and my so-called righteous indignation at people not responding when I say “God told me to tell you to jump . . . or at least I think God said jump . . .  And I don’t have to jump . . . . I don’t think . . . ”  The kind of humility that comes from spending time, one on one, with the Savior God who emptied Himself so that I might be absolved from my wrongs that I can’t right no matter how I try.  The kind of humility that transforms me into the image of Christ for the sake of others.  The kind of humility that expresses grace, to others and to myself, for not being perfect (a.k.a. God).

Humility.

It erases pride.  It eradicates idols.  It transform disbelief.  In a Beth Moore Bible study she pointed out that these were three elements that the kings (good and bad) of Israel struggled with, but it was the godly kings who struggled most with pride.

Humility.

Even as I go to post this, a small voice in my mind wonders how many comments I’ll get.  Because, you know, that’s obviously a measure of how many people read and respond to my words; and if more people read and respond, then I must be a good and respected and worthwhile person.  Sigh:  how far I have to go, and how grateful am I for grace and patience.  🙂

6 thoughts on “Humility

  1. luke

    humility came up in our Bible study tonight … after we got done laughing about me and a 75 year old guy getting pedicures.
    we were talking about serving other people, and how one of the important parts of servant hood is humility.
    we were reading Matt 20, about servant leadership. I think the reason it doesn’t work is because too many Christian leaders let their ego get in the way.
    unfortunately the saying “it’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as i am” hits to close to home.

  2. Dave Woolsey

    Thanks (I think!) for the hard questions. Seems like a surprising number of us are processing things that we haven’t questioned in the past. I keep reminding myself not to question in the darkness what the Lord has shown me in the light. Hope it’s still OK to question the darkness even if I can’t focus on the “in the light” stuff!

    BTW, I do question why Luke would get a pedicure.

  3. Ruth

    Aj,

    I’m one of those silent lurkers, who is so blessed by your words, your insight and your questions. Thank you for sharing and being the woman God’s called you to be. I appreciate your openness, primarily because I’m so closed, but God’s prompting me to share, and amazingly, humbling me in the process.

    I’ve been in a bit of a Storm lately too, and in my desire to control the chaos around me, I find it’s pride that’s holding me back from my focus on God. And in the process of finding humility, discovering that I need to practice it first with those true hearts that God’s placed around me: my community. In the same way that we understand God’s forgiveness for us by experiencing it firsthand through others, so it is with experiencing humility before others to truly understand the humility of God. I’m so thankful for those, including you, that God has surrounded me with.

  4. Cat C-B

    Well, I came over here to read today exactly because of your title–it called to me. (Whether or not that makes either of us better people, I’ll leave unanswered. *grin*)

    For me, humility is about the times I can set aside either pride in my specialness or shame for my errors, and just be fully present and open to Spirit and Her leadings in the here and now. When I’m able to forget about my anxious little self altogether, and just… follow the Light, you know?

    The more I look straight ahead, and try to be faithful moment by moment, the less I screw it up. The more I keep one eye on the mirror–either of shame or of pride–the more twisted up I get.

    Trouble is, I don’t have the center yet to keep my eyes where they belong for very long at a time yet. But I’m gettin’ there.

    Good luck weathering your “Perfect Storm,” A.J. I know how painful conflict within spiritual community can be.

  5. Johan

    Within a very different context I’ve been wrestling with some of these same questions. Your candor is a blessing, and this isn’t the first time!

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