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Be Humble

Dear Emma:

If I had to pick a quality that everyone struggles with at some time or another, it would be humility. The reason why this can be a struggle, sweet girl, is because it goes against the very core of our human nature. The truth is: deep down inside, all of us want to matter. We all want to be significant. And sometimes that pursuit can take over within us and cause us to look for our value and worth from our accomplishments, to seek constant approval and applause from others, and to base our identity on what others think rather than what our Creator has told us in His Word. That is why it is so important that you know who you are in God’s eyes, for not only will it give you the confidence that you need in life but it will also keep you grounded in truth and humility as you understand that it’s not about who we are…but rather, it’s all about whose we are and His work within us.

One thing that I have learned along the way is that when we know who we are in God’s eyes, we are able to believe in ourselves and the incredible plan that God has for our lives. Now, I’m not talking about exalting ourselves, bragging, or constantly singing our own praises. Definitely not that. What I am talking about is a confidence that we are uniquely made and have talents, ideas, and abilities that were given to us by God. Often, I have seen that people who are confident are looked on as prideful while those who are constantly putting themselves down and who are unable to accept a compliment are considered humble. However, the reality is that those who are constantly focusing on their insecurities, putting themselves down, and paralyzing themselves with fears of failure are actually the ones struggling with pride because the focus is always on themselves–what they can’t do, what they don’t have, and what they will never be–rather that on who God has created them to be and what He has called them to do. When we truly believe that God’s power is within us and that He will do exceedingly, abundantly above all we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20), we can be confident and humble both at the same time because we know that it’s not about us and it’s all about Him.

If you look in Proverbs 31, you will see a woman who knew who she was and had the confidence to live it out. In fact, not only was she confident but everything she had her hand in turned out to be successful. What I find interesting, is that not once do you read about her second guessing herself, questioning her abilities, or giving up in defeat. No, it was quite the opposite. This woman never stopped using what God had given her to live out what He had called her to do. She was able to accomplish so much because she didn’t waste time standing around wringing her hands on what she did or did not have; instead, she was confident in how God made her, how he gifted her, and how He would use her. Thus, we can see from her example that not only is its okay to be confident in who we are in Christ, but it is essential. Lovey, here’s what I hope you never forget: You are created in God’s image, you are His child, and He loves you fiercely and has a phenomenal plan for your life. If you will hold on to these truths, you will be confident and that confidence will not be one that is prideful and focused on yourself, but rather one that is rooted in the understanding that any success or accomplishment gained is from God at work within you and all glory goes to Him (I Corinthians 1:31).

The Bible has a lot to say about pride. In fact, it’s one of the 6 things that the Lord hates (Proverbs 6:17) making it something we should all take very seriously and guard against. Scripture also tells us that pride leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:18). So how do we keep pride from creeping into our hearts? Well, the best example of who we can learn from is Jesus. In Matthew 10:10-28, the disciples were arguing over who would sit by Jesus in His Kingdom (which by the way, this was not the only time their prideful hearts wanted to know who was the greatest). Patiently, Jesus answered them by saying, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” That really is the key, my love. If we want to live a life of humility, we must keep our eyes focused on pleasing Jesus and using our lives to help and serve others. I love what C.S. Lewis says: “It’s not thinking less about yourself; it’s thinking about yourself less.” Therefore, when we choose to think about ourselves less and to focus our hearts on others, we can avoid falling into the trap of pride and selfishness because once again, it’s not about us but rather about the opportunities all around us to help others and make a difference.

Here’s the best part of all–when we have a servant’s heart and live with humility, God has promised to bless us and honor our faithfulness. I remember as a teenager working at a teen camp every summer. It was an absolute blast, and it is where I began singing. Each week, I had the privilege of singing at all the meetings and even got to do a full concert every Friday night. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. However, I need to tell you that in addition to my singing responsibilities, I was also given the job of cleaning the girl’s bathroom every day. Now, I’m not talking about your nice clean little bathroom upstairs–I’m talking about one shared by 100 or more teenage girls! Let’s just say that it was far from glamorous! I remember mopping that nasty bathroom floor and cleaning some very dirty toilets one day, and for some reason I began singing “Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10). I’m pretty sure that He doesn’t have to lift you very high to be higher than cleaning bathrooms. LOL! But here’s what I learned: if we will be faithful and have a humble, servant’s heart in the small, thankless tasks in life, then we can be trusted with the larger opportunities down the road. “Before honor is humility” (Proverbs 15:33). I have often thought about all of those days cleaning bathrooms, and I find it so interesting that it was also the same time that God opened up the doors for me to sing and to do what I absolutely loved to do and what I am still blessed to do to this very day. I want you to always remember that God honors humility, my sweet girl. It’s not to be confused with insecurity. In fact, it’s far from it. Humility is confident, it’s bold, and it comes from a heart that loves God and loves people. Micah 6:8 sums it up best, “He has shown you, what is good and what the Lord requires of you. But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Love You Always, Mom

 

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