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Oh Lord, It’s Hard to Be Humble

~~ James 4:10 (TNIV) ~~  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 


 
Pinky & The Brain
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  ~~Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)

This is a very well known quote.  It is both profound, giving you some great food for thought; and yet at the same time it states something obvious; or at least it should be obvious.  Ever have moments when you realized that you do not know something that you thought you always knew?!  I would be willing to bet you have.  I think everyone has moments when something suddenly becomes clearer, out of the blue it makes more sense, or the ‘light’ comes on.  You thought you knew what a certain word meant.  But, nope!  It turns out you didn’t have a clue!  It has happened to me several times.

One of the biggest experiences for me like this was when I became, what I call, a true Christian; desiring to obey God and having the willingness to let Him change me.  I suddenly understood so much more than I ever knew before.  There was a light shining into corners that I did not even know where there.  I had no idea that there was a whole world outside my cozy little room!  I started feeling God talking to me and guiding me to walk outside of my room.  Actually, it was more of a big push because I was sure that anything outside my little-room-world was terrifying.  That old cartoon, that I am sure you are familiar with, ‘Pinky and the Brain’ comes to mind here.  For so long they had no idea there was a whole world outside the lab.  I finally started to feel the Holy Spirit working in me.  Both me and my life started to drastically change.  Even the world around me started to look different.  Things started to look ‘more alive’, colors started to look brighter.  It really is awesome to see things as God wants you to see them.  It makes me look forward to the time when things will look even clearer still.

Another one of these ‘it turns out that I didn’t know what I knew’ experiences was very recently when God started to lead me down the path of humility.  We may think that we have a clear vision; that we have our route laid out, our plans are made; but God always sees the full picture.  That is how He knows what steps to lead us on.  He knew that my first step in the lesson of humility was to teach me the terminology and their definitions.  Sounds like something that should be obvious, doesn’t it?  Well, keep reading!

See, it is like this; I had always associated the word ‘humility’ with ‘humiliation’, which in turn I thought was a fancy way of saying ‘embarrassed’; and to be embarrassed meant someone had done something or said something very mean to hurt you.  ‘Pride’, I thought meant high self-respect. To be ‘humble’ I thought meant... well, that you were not exactly the ‘smartest rodent in the lab’; which I guess at that time, unknowingly, was me!   I know what you’re thinking but; hey, rodents are God’s creatures too!

You know those moments when you realize that God has been trying for so long to get your attention that He has had to clobber you over the head with something?  I had one of those times in church.  I guess if you are going to be clobbered, church is a good place for it to happen!  The sermon was about pride and humility, based on the book of James, chapter 4.  It was an awesome sermon.  I felt very uplifted, like I had learned an awesome lesson.  Our church is blessed like that.  We get a lot of sermons that speak right at home to us.  This one told us that we have to be humble before God to release the dreams that He has for us.  Woo Hoo! What a remarkable message. 

I went home, I grabbed a snack, and I sat down on the couch with my laptop in front of me to check my email.  Among the list of unread messages were two devotional subscriptions, from completely different sources.  I do not always have time to read all the daily devotionals and blogs that I sign up for, but I do try to read most of them every day.  I started reading.  The first one was about humility and was based on James, chapter 4!  OK, twice in one day... this was an obvious message from God that He definitely wants me to be humble.  “OK, Lord.  I got the message.  Humble it is”.  I opened the second email.  Guess what?!  I hope you are sitting down for this... it was also about humility.  Seriously!  I was so surprised my jaw nearly hit the floor.  My first thought was “Whoa, this is so huge!  This is a very big God moment”.   God wanted my attention, and He certainly got it at that moment. 

However, there was one problem.  I did not, at all, understand what He was trying to tell me.  I mean, I try to be nice to people.  I do not ask for much in return.  I certainly try not to judge, and do my very best to always forgive.  I am basically a good person.  Right?!  I guess this kind of pride should have been my first clue that I have a big problem.  Despite all this, I was almost certain that I was about to go through something; some sort of lesson or test by God, that would teach me about humility.  I really considered asking God if He would consider taking the short cut on this one.

I was right.  There was a lesson from God.  Only days later, I had a very upsetting experience that would educate me not only on the proper definitions of these words that I was obviously confused about, but how they are to be applied to the particular situation.  I was completely thrown for a loop and went through a great deal of distress, to the point I was sick, when someone that I count on for support defined a boundary between us.  It seems that I have learned the hard way that boundaries are an awesome idea... when you are the one setting them.  From the other side of that boundary line things look different.  My mind circled around over and over with thoughts like “How could he do this to me?  I thought I was important.  I am just not loved.  I probably rub on his very last nerve.  I do not deserve to be loved.  I think it would be best if I just quietly leave and disappear for good.”   Once the initial shock was over, I received a third devotional email, from yet another source, with the subject of ‘humility’.   God certainly felt the need to reinforce this message to me!  As a side note; I just love it that He sends me emails!  How cool is that?! 

Anyway, I had the sermon and the blogs that I read, but I still did not truly understand how this situation I was stressing about was trying to teach me about being humble.  I just could not connect these two ends.  So I decided, as I usually do in such cases, to do some research.  First I looked up the definitions of these words.  Again, this would seem like something that should have been obvious much sooner.  For me, apparently not!  Then, to reinforce what I learned from the sermon, I played it back from the church website and listened to it again, and again; taking detailed notes this time. It is amazing how much you can realize you have missed the second and third times around!  I started to put the pieces together.  I have learned that God is the One who defines the terms, makes the rules, and plans the route.  So with that in mind, I could see how these words are defined, and how He wants them to be applied.
  • Embarrassed – is the feeling one gets when in an uncomfortable situation amongst others.  It is not something that anyone has said or done; it may not even be a result of someone else.  For example, once when spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to turn on the vacuum cleaner, I experienced some embarrassment.  OK, I admit it.  I will not be the next recipient of the ‘Martha Stewart of the Year’ award!  I had all hardwood flooring, and leather furniture (beautiful imported Italian leather.  I loved it).  Oh, anyway, I very rarely had a reason to use the vacuum.  My boyfriend (at the time), sat in his chair laughing at me so hard it is a wonder he did not pop a blood vessel somewhere!  That was embarrassing.  It gave him something to tease me about for months, but it did not hurt me. 
  • Humiliated – is the experience you go through when embarrassed by something that someone said or did to intentionally or knowingly hurt you, causing your dignity to go flying out the window.  For example, when I was at a party and a friend arrived and saw me for the first time in a long time.  She stood in the door pointing at me and laughing, while screaming out “Oh my gosh, look how fat she is!”  That was humiliation.  It was painful.  It still is if I let myself think about it; but I forgive her. 
  • Humility – as so wonderfully explained by our pastor, is a virtue.  It means giving up and letting God take control in every situation!  For example, if God needs there to be a boundary between me and my friend, than I know it is for a reason that will bring me joy and will show His awesome glory.  I will accept that and wait in anticipation to see the outcome. 
  • Humble - is to place oneself at the appropriate level; which is lower than God, in a position to need Him, and to think of others as better than ourselves.  For example, my friend’s need to put up a boundary is what is most important.  I certainly do not want to cause anyone any pain or distress.  I have to love my friend enough to let this new positioning happen without allowing it to derail my life.  I also realize now that he likely understood this need for me to be separated slightly and did this to help me.  He also knows me well enough to know that ‘tough love’ is sometimes the only way I will finally learn. 
  • Pride our pastor says, is likely the greatest sin.  It is one’s ability to put themselves on a higher pedestal than they have a right to do; in an effort to make themselves as high as, or higher, then God.  For example, when I got upset about my friend setting boundaries.  I got upset because my pride got in the way of the truth.  I put my own needs and desires above both God and my friend.  I should not be counting on someone else for support.  I should be counting only on God for the support I need.  He is more than I need. 
I am certain that my journey through the humility chapter of my story is far from over; and likely never will be as long as I am on this side of Heaven’s gates.  I know this because messages, blogs and devotionals with the subject of humility are continuing to be handed to me.  Letting God mould us into the kind of person He wants us to be is almost always a series of painful lessons.  However, it is worth it to become the person that we want to be, and to live a life of dreams beyond anything our imaginations can come up with.  To take the short cut would mean missing out on some very important and interesting things.  To go along with this transformation and not fight it is one more step toward complete obedience.  To go through it with peace and joy in our hearts is what will fill God’s heart with joy.  I pray that God will let me clearly see each and every situation where my pride gets in the way of me advancing closer to Him.  Micah says it so eloquently in ~ Micah 6:8 (TNIV) ~  “He has shown all you people what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.



~~ Dear God ~~    You are so incredibly patient, loving and merciful.  Each time I let pride guide my way, I create a brick that is added to a wall separating me and You.  Please let me see the blocks that I am about to add to this wall each and every time I am about to put one in place.  Instead, show me how to remove all the blocks that I have already put in place, and to never add to this wall again.  Then please let me always be open to feel Your support to get me through to the end.  Please help me realize that I am neither Pinky nor The Brain.  I am one of Your loving children who desires to bring glory to Your name.  Help me to see that outside my little-laboratory-world, there is a multitude of blessings waiting for me, if only I would accept Your leadership to get me outside safely.  In Jesus name, AMEN. 



Here are a couple videos you might have fun watching.  The first an old song that you likely have heard before called “Oh Lord, It’s Hard to Be Humble” by Mac Davis.  I think it is very funny.  That (ex)boyfriend that I mentioned... this was his self-appointed ‘theme song’.  Looking back on it, I can see how God may have been trying to get our attentions about pride even then.  Below that is a clip from a Pinky and The Brain episode.  For years, he and I have had an ongoing ‘discussion’ (which continues) about which one of us is Pinky and which one of us is The Brain.  So on that note... Pinky, this one’s for you!






Pinky & The Brain: Bad Day






23 comments :

  1. Well written and put together post. Thank you for sharing it. Bright blessings, Shanyn (Strawberry Roan) over from the FB Christian Blogger's group.

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  2. Thank you so very much Mystic-Mom. Thanks for letting me know where you saw my link. Blessings to you too.

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  3. bigdad1211August 17, 2011

    Great blog! I love the Pinky and the Brain reference. (And I love that cartoon! lol)
    It is so hard to be humble, that is true and that is why we need God our Father to show us how to be humble and the best example of that is in Jesus Christ!
    Thanks again!
    In Jesus Name
    Greg

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  4. AMEN BigDad!! I am so happy that you enjoy my posts. Thanks for the continued reading. Hugs.

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  5. Very insightful article! I enjoyed this...it was my first time here and I am definitely coming back. You are a gifted writer and I got a lot out of your reflections. Thank you :)

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  6. Thank you so very much Jessica. You are an angel sent by God. The feedback helps to keep me motivated so much. I am so very happy that my words were of help to you. Hugs.

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  7. You must practice your faith in a Baptist Church! lol I do. Thanks for the spiritual feeding. You gave us the whole bale and it will take a while to digest it all. THANKS.

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  8. LOL Thanks so very much MNABOY. Actually I practice in a Free Methodist church... but one of our pastors used to be a Baptist pastor once. Does that count? lol I'm thrilled that I've given you some food for thought. Hugs.

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  9. SERENEMOM71August 18, 2011

    Great Blog - I enjoyed reading it! Continue writing!!

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  10. If I had been asked for a favorite and meaningful passages learned this last year, I would have to say it would be Micah 6:8:

    "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the LORD require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God."

    I've even huddled on some of my SparkTeams an abbreviated version of this: Act justly, love mercy & walk humbly with our God. (Micah 6:8b)

    Your pastor is right about seriousness of pride . . . it has a way of getting in our way at times when we don't even recognize it as being an obstacle. It is the reason why we need to check the our motives and the motives of other people . . . does it pass the "What Would Jesus Do" test?

    Keep up the great work in writing your this blog. May our Lord bless you as you serve as God's vehicle to bring us his truth through the Word.

    Hug, hug,

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  11. SERENEMOM71 - Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback. It is very encouraging and helps keep me motivated to keep writing to know that my words can help others. Hugs,

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  12. Thank you so much, Evelyn. I like that scripture as well. I have to say though that God led me to this scripture to end the article with. I had a whole different scripture picked out to end with and He led me to a different one. It's a story in itself, but it's one way that I know God is leading me in this blog writing adventure. I love it so very much. I hope God brings you many blessings. Thank you for the continued support. Hugs.

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  13. ....I thought the next line was going to be:

    "...when you're perfect in every way....I can't wait to look into the mirror...'cause I get better looking each day."

    Old David Allen Coe song.

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  14. LOL That's why I posted the video at the end. The first time I heard that song I was very young. It's still a fun song to listen to.

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  15. Great blog.
    Humility is hard for a lot of people.,even christians. Hugs

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  16. Thank you so much for the feedback Sparklise. It certainly is a hard lesson to learn, but it is so very important that we do learn it. Thanks for continuing to read my blogs. Hugs.

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  17. BellaCuddlesAugust 18, 2011

    Jesus loves a humble heart!

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  18. AMEN!! Thank you so much for the feedback Bella. May God bring you many blessings. Hugs.

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  19. Thank you so much RSSSLHB. I hope you were blessed by it. Hugs.

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  20. Petit FlourAugust 25, 2011

    It's in the eye of the beholder what is sin and what is humble.

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  21. I've found true humility comes from attempting Obedience, Rally, & Freestyle with my middle-aged Basset Hound. ;-)

    He's my little gift from God in so many ways!

    My mirror & scalehelp too!

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  22. WalkWDogz... that's awesome! I love your comments. I agree, that pets, dogs especially are the most incredible gifts from God. I don't know how I would have made it through the past years without my baby, Casey (shih-tzu).

    PetitFlour - God makes it overwhelmingly clear in explicit detail what is sin and what is humble. He is so awesome that way, and I thank Him every day for His guidance because without it I am lost.

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