Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

The Blessing in Humiliation

I got a reality check this week. A respected mentor of mine called out that in my discourse about the evolving vision for my school, I used the word “I” so much that it was difficult to perceive what role others had in vision setting and, by extension, vision fulfillment for the future of our institution. It was an eye-opening moment of clarity, seeing ego lurking under the guise of servant leadership.

It’s hard to be humble. In fact, humility is probably anti-human nature. We like to be celebrated. We enjoy recognition. Some of us would rather debase ourselves and be well-known than be honorable nobodies.

But what happens when we are Christians? What happens when the world’s ideas about us or expectations for us seep into our consciousnesses? What happens when we find ourselves on the wrong side of God’s plan?

We return to purpose in Him. We remember, “whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10: 31) It’s like when I tell my kids to clean the bathroom and they ask, “Do you want me to clean it or ‘mommy clean’ it?” What they are really asking me is about the standard to which I expect them to perform the duty. My reply is that “it’s not clean if it’s not ‘mommy clean?'” And isn’t that exactly what God tells us when what we want most is to shortcut our way through life (or undercut His due glory)? If our work is not done to glorify Him, whatever that “work” happens to be, then the work isn’t done.

I heard a pastor say recently that we ought to thank God for the moments that humble us. He intimated that those are blessings that get us back in line with our God-given purpose. These are the times when we find it difficult to “count it all joy” (James 1: 2), but it is precisely in these moments that God shows us that He isn’t through with us. These are the opportunities to realign with renewed vigor to glorifying the Lord in all we do and checking our egos. He reminds us that “He must increase; but I must decrease” (John 3: 30). The verbs here are so powerful, and we need to be mindful that we are not inadvertently, through our words or actions, changing “must” to “can” or “should.”  The imperative from the Lord is lost with such alteration, and God is warning us in moments of humiliation that we are straying dangerously away from Him. Will we heed His call?

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the humbling moments. They are proof that Your expectations for me are not being met, and they remind me of my charge as Your child. I appreciate Your grace and mercy in my life, and I rededicate myself to aligning purposefully and consistently to Your will. Let me not seek personal gratification. Let me not seek earthly, fleeting rewards. Instead, let me work for Your glory. Let me go anywhere and do anything You ask of me, and let me do it in the ways that are most pleasing to You. And Lord, when the lessons are especially hard to learn, give me strength to come to You in prayer for revelation and guidance rather than complaining, blaming others, or feeling sorry for myself. Let me seek only You, Lord. 







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