Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chucking the Heebie-Jeebies

Photo credit Creative Commons

I have this weird secret. It isn't sensational, it won't leave you breathless. It's kind of lame actually. I have a terrible time accepting compliments on my writing. I get this weird butterfly feeling in my stomach, I try to think of an appropriate joke or self deprecating comment and I usually can't or realize I shouldn't... So I stand there, weak smile on my face, shuffling from foot to foot and feeling very aware that I don't know what to do with my hands. I usually say thank you... Do you have any idea how lame that sounds? Gah! Barf... (rolls eyes) Is that humility? Is it weakness that compliments on a job I feel pushed to do for God make me supremely uncomfortable? Or is it false? Should I revel in the accolades and feel blessed that God has given me a talent that touches others?

Like most of us, I struggle with discerning genuine humility. I can recall to mind those, "Aw shucks," foot-shufflers, but I also know that those shoes don't fit me. I read once that false humility is a form of pride. Well, craptastic! There's no doubt that that is wrong. Then what is it really? How can I humbly respond without sounding like a complete dork?

You know I "googled" it, don't you? You should know I google things a ton by now. It shocked me to find that one of the easiest quotes to understand came from a person I would not qualify as humble: Charlie Sheen! He said, "Uncertainty is a sign of humility, and humility is just the ability or the willingness to learn." OK... Then there was another Charles (one a bit more somber and recognizably qualified): Noted theologian, Mr. Charles Spurgeon said, "Humility is to make a right estimate of one's self." Getting closer... Now for the nail in the coffin: "True humility is intelligent self respect which keeps us from thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves. It makes us modest by reminding us how far we have come short of what we can be." Ralph W. Sockman. (Emphasis mine.)

Authentic humility is recognizing our God given gifts while at the same time realizing that we came from nothing - "dust," as it were. Humility is not making light of our abilities, as if just anyone could do the things that we can do. That would be silly. I cannot sculpt or sing or paint like others can. My medium is words and my pallet is my computer screen and I am gifted. I recognize God's grace in my abilities and I seek to sharpen my craft the best I can for His purposes. To keep my tools sharp and to use them is to be obedient to God's purpose in my life.

My writing brings me immense joy and when it brings God glory, in the form of compliments of my writing, that is the ultimate high! Do I have a gift? Yes. Is it direct from God? Definitely. The thing is, there is a fine line between realizing that God is the author of all glory and knowing that my compliance and willingness to do what I am asked is a vital part of the reach. To minimize its impact by making a joke or saying anyone can do what I do is flying in the face of God and, quite frankly, isn't true. Being falsely humble is as sinful as being prideful. Being so self deprecating that I diminish God's gift to me is insulting; insulting to God and to those who took time to express their gratitude and admiration for what I do. Don't get me wrong, I won't be doing a happy dance or saying things like, "Oh yeah, I rock!" anytime soon. But I can graciously say thank you and express that I am happy God used me to touch someone's heart. That is all true.

Realize today that God has gifted you in a very specific way to reach others for Him. Now, stand up and accept that there will be folks who will want to tell you how much that helped them. Say thank you, tell them God is amazing and smile! Be the face of Christ so that others may know He loves without hesitation.

Be blessed!