Hello! Well what a week it has been…
Ironically, even though this week has been about developing humility, I’ve spent most of it stood in front of people telling them how amazing I am, and why they should vote for me to be Head Girl. Fortunately, that one worked out in my favour… however, as always, it came at a perfect time because having to actually highlight my good features to people has reminded me about the importance of humility and remembering where our identity comes from.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less- C.S. Lewis.
This quote got me thinking straight away about what I think it means to live more of a humble life… Okay so I’m not Gandalf… I don’t have a long white beard and by no means am I pretending that I know everything, but here’s how I see it.
I don’t think being humble is about thinking we’re useless and good for nothing, I think its about accepting that we are created by God, and therefore all of the ‘great’ things about us come from God. I guess this is why humility is so important, because as human beings, we are so hungry for praise, we constantly want to be told how great we are and we want acknowledgement for everything we do. Okay.. here’s my own personal example. When I went on mission to Mexico with my youth group in, I came home and immediately put my memory card into the telly, and straight away I was like.. ‘MUM, DAD look what I did!!!‘ For about ten minutes, the team I worked with, the people behind the scene who helped me get there, and the family themselves were out of my mind whilst I tried to impress my dad with my new extensive knowledge of house building.
The problem with this is that everything became about me, when actually, I was a small part of the crazy things that God got up to out there. I can’t sit here and pretend that I find humility easy, I don’t. It’s a hard one, because we live in a world and a culture where affirmation from people defines how good we feel about ourselves, and even when we get it we either reject it or lap it up and become too fixated on our own achievements. To live a completely humble life would be to turn my life upside down; we’ve been spoon fed compliments for so long that we feed off them, and when we don’t get them… we’re left wondering what’s wrong with us. We can sit back and think something along the lines of ‘Well maybe my grade in that test wasn’t as good as the last’ or ‘perhaps they just don’t care about me today’. This has been a hard week for me, thinking about humility in the light of competing for something that I care so much about has not been easy because I’ve felt such a confliction of thoughts!! This is the conclusion I came to, our identity as human beings does not come from the compliments or the praise that we get, but from God alone. After all, we are made in the image of God, which means we’re exactly how we should be… in that case, how can we really compain?!?! It’s when we start to reassess our priorities and put God first that the revolutionary stuff happens, because our living is defined by a loving God who truly wants what is best for us. It even says so in one of my favourite pieces of scripture;
Jeremiah 29:11, ‘For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future’.
Yes, as humans we are desperate to be loved, to be cherished and to be praised…and yes that comes from people that we know and love on earth, but first and foremost, it comes from God, as it says in 1 John 4:19 ‘We love because he first loved us’.
But WHY does putting God first mean living a humble life? Well, in my eyes its because we won’t be searching for praise from people anymore, because we only have to look at the cross to know how much we are loved. Imagine how revolutionary it would be if we truly stopped living by our agenda, and started to live by the agenda of God. Imagine if, for every human being on the earth, the desire to be praised and told great things about ourselves was replaced with a desire to know God more… if at all, and to spend time in his presence, and to want to do his will before our own… We would literally be living selfless lives, doing everything in his name and for his glory… Imagine that.
With all that in mind, I come to the challenge for week 3 of God 52 which was to ‘perform an anonymous act of kindness’. Now obviously, I’m not just going to announce what it was, as that wouldn’t make it ‘anonymous’ anymore…. but I can honestly say that even now, I can see the fruitfulness of it. For me, this has been the greatest part about this week.. no one who sees what happens as a result of this is going to say ‘oh wow, that’s amazing, Maddie did that’… they’re going to give the glory to God, the true craftsman behind it all… AND, I’m going to be doing that too because I’ve learnt that when it comes to God, we can only say something along the lines of what Matt Redman sings… ‘you alone are holy, only you are worthy God let your fire fall down’
When we see amazing things happening, or even little things (as I said in my first blog, ‘every little helps’) happening that are good, we should give glory to God. It’s like that saying people use ‘credit where credit is due’… well guess what?! God, the creator of the universe deserves credit for all of the goodness in our lives. Everything that I have done, am doing now and ever will do is down to God… because he created me. I’m doing things because of him, so how about I do the final bit and truly in my heart do them FOR him? Not for my own satisfaction, not for the sake of looking like a nice person to the people around me, but for the glory of God, to see him lifted high and exalted… because that is where he belongs, on a throne in our hearts.
This week, I’m praying that I can continue to live with that in mind, and hey… if that means God coming in and turning everything upside down.. then so be it!