…it always hits me so hard, when I least expect it and least want it–even though technically as a Christian, I am supposed to walk in it–to be humble all the time. Do you all know how difficult that is? My momma trained me to, well, be pretty chill when it comes to tooting my own horn, but somewhere along the way I picked up the skill to rock not only that horn but also my own personal marching band–and quite awesomely, if I may so humbly say.
Who doesn’t love recognition? I get excited about stuff. I do. I get cocky and careless and forgetful. You may not always know it by my outward posture, but I can mind-strut with the best of them.
I probably (*definitely*) need to dial it down a thousand in the pride department, though there’s nothing wrong with being pumped over ways God is working, especially when those ways are decidedly positive and easy and natural…
But what happens when God is doing a thing in you and it burns and hurts and sucks? Is that even a thing that God does? Well, I am here to tell you, my friends, that indeed it is real and it happens–regularly with me.
It is during these hard/embarrassing/painful times that I grow in my faith. I kinda always imagined it would work the other way around: life is good, the sun is shining, nothing crazy distracts me from studying the bible, and I just go around generally walking in the way, the truth, and the light, until I’m legit glowing with God’s grace. Woot woot, look at me, Toni, being amazing at drawing/writing/running (I wish)/singing (not even)/memorizing scripture (I found my flip flop in the fridge once, so memorizing anything is…beyond the realm of my human capabilities.)
When I want a big pat on the back for singing memorized scripture like a golden bird (which has literally never happened by the way), I’m tasked with the thankless job of wiping snot off noses in the preschool wing of our church. (Which I love, of course.) When I believe myself to be the answer to Caleb’s prayers, I find myself needing him to fix my mistakes and help me through yet another anxiety attack. And just when I think I’m crushing this motherhood-thing, I say or do something to fail so epically as a parent that I am compelled to ask my own kids’ forgiveness.
And I take failure hard. I take criticism hard. I want to be perfect and I want spiritual growth to be easy.
Instead I find Jesus when I’m crawling and crying and beaten and begging, and I’m empty of myself and any earthly ambition I’ve ever held. And this is exactly the position Christ was in so many hundreds of years ago: crying to God, asking Him for help, or a way out; beaten and breaking under the weight of the cross, stripped bare, and publicly humiliated, at the mercy of God–all this, willingly, Jesus did for us so that God’s work could be accomplished in all people.
How can I ask for glory without sacrifice? How can I expect miracles when there’s nothing in my life to warrant praying for one? Maybe the worst thing God could do is make things easy for me–if I’ve lived my life at the top of a mountain, I won’t be able to recognize height when I see it. If I think I can pull myself up by my bootstraps through every perceived hardship, I will never know how to depend on God. Without challenge and pain, I am not humbled. Without humility, I have little thought to feel sorry for anything I’ve done. Without remorse, there can be no true repentance. Without repentance…well, you know. It’s bad. Just, really bad.
Humble-ness has another purpose besides just keeping us in check. Jesus became the most humble person ever–why? He was FREAKING JESUS. He didn’t need to be checked. He never did anything wrong; in fact, He did everything so perfectly right that if anyone should’ve been able to brag even just a little, it would’ve been Him. But because Jesus was hardcore humble, He was able to minister to us. God gives us the ability to really love and serve others when we understand where they’re coming from. Humility=connection. True connection is essential to the job we are called to do–to love and serve God and others.
So may God continue to school me and may I never be arrogant. May I always remember just who brought me out of deserts and through valleys. And may our country be humbled so that we can show the world where greatness really comes from.