Otherwise known as: The unread terms and conditions of humility.
I have become quite uncomfortable with the level of humility God seems to want me to experience.
It’s not that I’ve been (to my knowledge) particularly conceited or proud but that (as is often the case), I was unwise to ask for wisdom and understanding.
Hmm. Be careful what you ask for …
Over the years I have asked God for so many things to build my character and help me become more Christ-like but usually skip the terms and conditions of his agreement to answer the request.
And in the case of asking for wisdom and understanding it never occurred to me that a large proportion of the gains I would get would come through seasons of humility and learning how to really humble myself.
I am not on the other side of these lessons yet. How do I know?
Because I have come to understand that I have some tells in how I
respond react to being called out on a character flaw or (and this is especially true) when I feel unfairly judged by another.
All I want to do is defend myself.
Society says I should stand up for myself and be assertive. Plus, I have a pretty black and white sense of right and wrong and feel an intense need to clarify why I may have said or done something that has turned out to cause upset in a relationship.
However, as I usually have no idea that I’ve upset someone it often comes as a genuine surprise to me and I can become flustered due to a lack of understanding why they are so upset.
I don’t disagree with having an opportunity to speak freely and clarify my position but feel that this type of response can easily dismiss a very important step in the process of gaining understanding and reconciling the relationship.
These experiences have motivated me to become a person who is truly assertive; someone who knows who they are and where they’ve come from. Someone not in need of validation, vindication or even the opportunity to be found justified in their opinion.
I want to be like those who are confident in being assertive without being condescending or rude.
To be someone who can quietly express their opinion without judging someone else’s and can speak without fear of being anxious about what the other person might think of them.
I can see that people like this seem to have reached this place of personal peace not because they’re naturally assertive or confident, and not because they’ve pushed their way through the situation, but because they have battled and faced trials that have forged them into the person they are now.
It could be presumed they’ve eaten some truck loads of humble pie, too.
Maybe experienced red-cheeked humiliation as the realisation of their actions settle in and consequences play out in real time.
But despite these challenges, they seem to have chosen to deepen and bring healing to their relationship and resolve the conflict instead of choosing to justify themselves and defend their actions.
I think that these choices are possibly some of the hardest ones yet any human might experience and try to accomplish.
I’ve realised that I am no where near as humble as I like to think. And I am certainly not as understanding or thoughtful as I want to be seen as being.
So, back to my first thoughts – was asking God to teach me wisdom and understanding the right thing to do?
Even if I was not at all ready to eat my own portion of humble pie?
I believe it was. My desire to deepen and strengthen my relationships is of such an intensity that I feel willing to listen to His instruction and bring myself low, and anyway, I’ve tried it every other way and my ways don’t cut the mustard.
Being ready to close my mouth, listen and respond in humility is the goal, even if it takes me the rest of my life.
I hope one day to be able to say with confidence that this part of the journey was worth it all.
And if I don’t learn anything else in my life I suspect these three – humility, wisdom and understanding – will take me further than any other characteristic I could ask God for.
Time to grab another slice…
All poems the creative work of Miriam E. Miles. All rights reserved. Ink I tried once with a poem wrote on the floor, ink-blot tears filling my bottle, sharp nib scratching out dribble. Thought it was worldly, turns out was just wordy pontifications spluttered around the truth un-uttered. un-emerged. un-recognised. un-ready. Un-yielding I prolong the […]