Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
My mom was quick with the “one-liners”! She had a way of cutting right to the chase in less than ten words, and her powerful lines had a way of knocking the wind right out of you. Those powerful lines were always spoken with great love and usually served up with a hug and a smile and I’m absolutely certain a prayer before she fell asleep that same night. Her goal was to help us get to heaven so she always said there was no time for messin around with the business of motherhood. One day I came home so excited that I had been given a solo part for an upcoming concert. Her response still sticks in my mind like a label on a jar! She stopped peeling potatoes for a minute, smiled and told me she was proud of me then motioned me over so she could kiss my forehead. A millisecond later she went back to peeling potatoes and said, “Now, don’t let it go to your head! Pridefulness isn’t pretty on anybody!” That was her style, love hard and speak the truth without any extra words.
As I continue to pray about what God wants me to BE, he keeps sending me back to the word humility. I decided to spend some time praying and reading about humility and found some stuff that is helping me realize it’s much bigger than I thought. Many of the great saints have written about humility. Padre Pio, Mother Teresa, St. Francis deSales and St. Benedict just to name a few. As I read their teachings I decided to share a few of the things I’m learning because I get the feeling that if we all acted humbly, this world would be completely transformed. I picked four from among the many suggestions offered by the saints to start with. I may have to write a part 2 and a part 3 later.
I keep coming across this quote; “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” —Saint Augustine. If sainthood is our mission then humility seems to be one of tools of the trade. True humility comes when we put ourselves third. Humility is not a sign of weakness or passiveness; it’s the opposite. True humility allows us to see and act like Jesus.
First Humility Practice: Talk about yourself as little as possible. If we believe God truly knows the desires of our hearts and if we do everything to please him rather than those here on earth, this makes perfect sense.
Second Humility Practice: Choose the more difficult or less appealing jobs. There is great humility in doing the task nobody else wants to do. Vacuuming is one thing but cleaning out the produce drawer with all it’s hidden squishy, fuzzy contents is quite another.
Third Humility Practice: Don’t worry about other peoples business, don’t talk about other peoples business and don’t even be curious about things that don’t concern you. We sometimes get curious and try to hear the news under the disguise of being “concerned” or “wanting to know the facts so we can pray for them” but the saints challenge us to be honest about our motives. Do we need to have our nose in someones business or can we use that energy to beef up our prayer life instead. Will knowing the “rest of the story” help us get to heaven or just give us some new information we can’t do something positive with?
Fourth Humility Practice: Recognize your talents, gifts and graces then promptly thank God for them and move along. We should use them well, but the ambition to be the “best” is not going to build our humility. I think my mom knew this one because after my first solo performance, she lovingly said, “Sweetie, that was so good and we’re proud of you but just remember, you might sing prettier than a dozen people, but there are hundreds that sing better than you, so thank God for the gift and don’t let your imagination turn you into a rock star.”
Humility keeps us grounded, balanced and rooted in the Lord. If I can master these first four practices I will have many fewer nights when I go to bed and feel guilty or embarrassed, how about you?
A Seed To Plant: Pick one or two of the practices and sit with the Lord to make a plan of attack to put it into motion in your life.
Blessings on your day!
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