I write, speak, invest, network, and question to stimulate fruitful conversation. Let's talk about human flourishing! It begins with freedom. Holy leisure is the key to human being, freedom and generativity. Please join me in the adventure of realizing Christ!
If I encounter someone with expertise, or skill, I admire it.
I notice, though, that when the skill in question is one I aspire to, the presence of the ‘exemplar’ feels intimidating. I am called into comparison by my own yearning…to speak fluent French, to play the cello, to be a successful author/speaker (whatever ‘success’ means).
I need to watch out for this form of ‘skill shaming’ I do to myself. I should be able to honor those ‘higher’ than myself without putting myself down in the process.
Next to the word “humble” in the dictionary, you will not see my picture. I do, however, have a sense of what it means for me, in particular. That sense has developed in part by contrasting ‘humility’ with this sort of ‘shame’ that is more dis-ordering than rightly-ordering, as true humility must be.
So, from my experience and not from the dictionary, Humble:
- To be hidden, invisible, detached from credit.
- To acknowledge the superiority of others and honor it without grudging or self-comparison.
- To be teachable and willing to be influenced by others.
- To put others before myself without developing a ridiculous “I am but a worm” posture.
- To support and promote the work of others and, if called to collaborate, to do so with right good will and excellent hard work.
- To do what I am not good at because of its intrinsic goodness, or just to practice being a beginner. (Hail Technology, thou humbler of the proud!)
- To make no demand for results, but to act in freedom according to my own best judgement (letting the work take place in me even when it does not seem to accomplish things ‘out there’).
- To trust God with all things that involve time: the timing of personal interactions, the time I have to use as a resource, the time that is beyond time and yet can permeate through the craziest-busy day, and the time in which my words may be read and find fulfillment according to the perfect timing of someone else’s life.
- To accept all impedance of my forward motion as from the hand of God, even when it seems to be the slow old farmer on the tractor in front of me, or the publisher who never responds, or the graphics guy who is working on my manuscript.
- To give from my weakness and imperfection and not just to give from my strength.
- To have a sense of solidarity with those I serve, employee, work for, or am served by: to tell their story and not just my own, and to care about what is important to them, not just my own projects.
Humus All Around Me
The best moment in the development of my personal ‘humility definition’ was when I realized the connection between humility and the humus, or soil-filled-with-the-detritus-of-life lying all around me on the ground. What an epiphany to see that whatever ‘fruits’ I produce from my vast store of creativity, it all will ultimately just become humus!