Learning Humility The Usual (Hard) Way
As the twig is bent, the tree inclines. - Virgil
One of the most difficult lessons to learn on the Way of Jesus is the lesson of humility. It's difficult most of all because of how most of us are forced to learn it.
Typically, we don't learn humility because of a revelation we have over a cup of coffee on some random Tuesday morning as we are checking email, getting kids ready for school, or planning our day.
It's not like it comes to us like a flash, "Oh! I really could benefit from being more humble!" Unfortunately, almost all of us learn humility by being humbled.
It's the moment when we fall flat on our face when we were so certain of our footing... so confident in our abilities... so reliant on our talents.
But if we are being honest, the thing that hurts the most about those humbling moments is the fact that we weren't actually all that certain or confident, and we'd buried those feelings deep down inside, afraid to admit the truth.
And we can go in a couple of different directions at that point. We can internalize all of that, and begin to believe that we are not capable, not good enough, worthless and weak.
Or we can put up our armor and refuse to admit our part in it. We can shift the blame to others, become angry, belligerent and recalcitrant. We can pretend.
Author and theologian Joan Chittister once wrote about this very thing:
The humble person is the one who knows who he or she really is and puts on no airs in an attempt to pretend otherwise. Humble people know, too, that God knows exactly who they are and loves them totally nevertheless.
May you allow yourself to embrace humility even if it comes in your most broken moments. May you discover a new sense of yourself that is grounded in God's loving way of seeing you.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.