Websters defines humility as “freedom from pride or arrogance.” A modest or low view of one’s own importance.
Humility has become increasingly uncommon in our culture, in fact, our culture seems to promote the opposite of humility, narcissism, self-centeredness and entitlement.
In the past humility was a highly prized character quality, one to aspire to, and work to develop in your life. Today self-promotion and entitlement to are to often the norm. How far up the ladder of arrogance have we climbed? We don’t have to look to far to be reminded we are all imperfect. In other words we all have good reason to be humble, but often we see people & sadly often Christian leaders living in the fantasy world of self importance.
Pride creates in us a self importance and lack of care for others. Humility breeds authenticity and self-awareness in us. Humility allows us to see others, value their opinions and give them a voice. Perhaps we have arrived at our current destination, due to the pseudo-reality of our lives in the 2 dimensional on-line universe. Social media gives us a very curated view of people’s lives and presents a like view of our own as well. We show only what we want to portray, and leave most of our reality in the shadows.
So is there a value to living a humble life in our current reality, and if so, how do we cultivate humility in our own lives? Here are a few thoughts:
First, I believe a humble life reflects more accurately the reality of our God given existence, and the dependence we have on other people. It allows us to move away from the fantasy lived by so many around us and to embrace the value of other people. Here is what is helping me (not in any particular order) move my life out of the shadows and into the reality of my dependance on God and to value others.
Avoid the humble brag – Too many times we as Christian leaders are the hero of our own story. Often couched in a pseudo humility, we are really sharing the awesome thing we did, or the amazing idea we had. Another all to common occurrence is stealing or not sharing well deserved credit from others who we should be celebrating for it. Sometimes even stealing credit that belongs to God alone.
Care Less about your reputation – Often we are trying to shape people’s impressions of who we are and what they think about us. We would be better off to worry less about what people think and focus more on the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives and doing what is right in spite of what people think.
Value Authenticity – Be slow to speak and when you do speak, focus on what is real in our lives and the world around us.
Choose to live an others centered life – Choose to be concerned about others needs, thoughts and opinions. Take time to get to get to know people and their story, what they think and how they came to that understanding. Value where people come from and how it shaped who they are, good or bad.
Practice Gratitude – Be grateful to God for your life and people in it. Make it a point to show appreciation to those who do things for you and serve you. Always say THANK YOU to family, friend or stranger.
Regularly unplug from the electronic world – In our noisy world it has never been more important to unplug from the chaos around us and experience solitude and silence. Nature can be a helpful setting for this, it reminds us of how small we are and how BIG God is.
Cultivate Curiosity – Be curious about the world around you and the people in it. Listen more and judge less, ask questions. It’s a great and interesting way to live. Give others the gift of caring who they are and what they think.
There is much, much more to say on this subject than I have written here, I have just scratched the surface on this very important topic. I hope it has sparked a curiosity in you to explore it more with family, friends and strangers alike. Lets all strive to have 2023 be a year of greater humility expressed in our lives.