The Blessing of Humiliation (Oh, the Irony!)
Posted On March 8, 2010
Last week I found myself humbled in big ways.
And not the “good” humbled, like “I’m so humbled that you chose me for this prestigious writing award!” or “I’m so humbled that you model your parenting after my example!” (Obviously, I’m speaking in hyperboles here.)
No, the kind of humbled that makes you think “I can’t believe this is happening to me . . .” or “Wow, I must be a serious loser!”
I wasn’t just humbled in one area of my life, either. Nope, it was a double-punch. Maybe even a triple-punch depending on how you look at it. (I’m not sure if that’s really possible because technically I think that would require three hands, but I’m going to ask you to have pity on me today and just suspend your disbelief on my little metaphor. Thanks.) Job. Kids. Home. They were all affected, and it wasn’t pretty.
But when the smoke cleared, the shock wore off, and the hyperventilating stopped (You can go ahead and pretend like I’m kidding about that last one; thanks again.), I tried to gain some perspective. So I picked up my Bible. And I read. And I thought. And I prayed.
And when I tried to articulate how I was feeling, what was in my heart, one word stood out: humbled. I was taken down a notch or two, made to feel like I wasn’t the center of the universe or as smart or important as I’d like to think I am sometimes, whether I admit it or not.
I started to hear it in the songs I listened to and see it in the scriptures I read. The word presented itself to me over and over again. And it made me remember—It’s not about me. It’s about Him.
My job title, what people think of my parenting skills, whether or not the supper dishes make it into the dishwasher—none of that matters if I’m focused on Him. My pride was making me blind to what was happening: He was (and is) working in me.
According to my savvy detective skills, the word “humble” is found in the Bible (NIV) 71 times; “humility” another 15 times. If God uses a word that many times, I’m pretty sure it’s because he wants us to GET IT. It’s important, VERY important. (There’s no such thing as redundancy when it comes to God’s Word.) And the more I read and thought and prayed, the more I understood: This is a blessing.
I should be “humbled” (in the good way) that God has “humbled” me (in a not-so-good way).
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)
Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. (Numbers 12:3)
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)
No matter how humble I feel, that’s nothing to how God humbled himself by coming down to Earth and living among us sinners.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8)
I won’t list the 70+ other scriptures for you; they’re in there if you want to look for yourself. If I can just remind myself (and actually accept) that these humbling situations get me one step closer to being like Jesus, which is God’s goal for all of us, I hope I can start celebrating this time in my life.
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:1-4)
It’s so ironic that by humbling (and sometimes lovingly humiliating) us, God gives us everything. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Because we are, after all, human. We like to feel good about ourselves. We’re taught to be proud of what we accomplish and who we are.
So as I start this new week, even if it seems that life is unraveling and I panic because I don’t know how to knit (or even sew a button), I will remind myself that I don’t have to know how to put it all back together.
Because it’s not about me.