humility – apparently a foreign concept to me

Posted: September 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

I wanted to write today’s blog about humility, because I have great quotes from my pastor and from a friend’s Facebook wall.  I wanted to sound very wise, which was my first clue that I was not really humble at all.  Other clues confirming my non-humbleness rear their ugly little heads all the time:

  • the frequency with which I make the silent assumption that I understand something better than someone else does
  • the snap judgments i make
  • how stubbornly I hold on to my “right” to my opinion
  • how prickly I can feel at someone else disagreeing with me
  • my desire to defend my reputation
  • my need to be perceived as bright, capable, faithful
  • my control issues
  • my perfectionism (if you’re thinking perfectionism is humility..uhh..THINK AGAIN)
  • my occasional disdain when I remember who and where I’ve been
  • my frustration when I feel I’m misunderstood
  • the depth of my discomfort when I am in the company of people I perceive to be enormously better or somehow “bigger” than me
  • how tightly I cling to my dignity
  • how hard I sometimes strive to be heard

Not to mention the terrific beating my pride is taking as I work out the issue of changes in my run routine – DUDE – I am NOT gracious and for sure not filled with humility…

A wise friend is always warning, “Don’t believe your own press.”  Recently at work we have been doing a sort of “peer review” exercise, and as part of the job of compiling the results, I got a look at what my peers (who knew I would be the one compiling) said about me.  The “strengths” portion contained no surprises – it matched the things people say to my face.  The “weaknesses” portion was very helpful to me, in the places where people had something to share – I have been grateful to consider and pray through what was (thoughtfully, tactfully, caringly) said.

The part where I had to go with my friend’s advice about not believing my own press?  A lot of people had nothing to say whatsoever on the “weaknesses” side. 

Trust me on this:  honey, I’VE GOT WEAKNESSES.  

It would be silly but easy – scratch that – TEMPTING – to imagine that I’m without perceived weakness, just because people didn’t write something down.  I’m neither that silly nor that tempted.

The truth is a number of people didn’t write weaknesses down for almost anyone – this is a team that wants to be kind to one another.  So a lot of those blank “weaknesses” sections were not something special-to-me. 

The truth is the folks I work with are so grace-filled that they tend to let mistakes go almost as fast as they happen, as long as resident care isn’t compromised, so a lot of the blanks were just probably plain graceful forgetfulness. 

The truth is every person filling out the survey knew that I would be reading them, and it’s one thing to write a weakness about someone who’s never going to see it, but quite another to write it knowing SHE IS GOING TO READ THIS PERSONALLY (though I think that’s a smaller factor here). 

The truth is I tend to go out of my way to be kind and empathetic to others around me, and that old sowing-and-reaping principle runs true here:  when one is nice to folks, folks tend to want to be nice in return. 

None of that means I am without weakness.  It just means I have supportive coworkers.

When my boss does my annual evaluation, he has me fill out form ahead of time in which I evaluate myself by the same criteria that he does.  He has been consistently disturbed at how hard I am on myself there – where I am not perfect, my self-assessment is pretty harsh.  Remember from above:  perfectionism IS NOT HUMILITY.  

Somewhere between “Karen has no weakness” and “Karen falls way short in lots of areas” is the truth about me.  Humility would be a realistic look at that.  Sometimes I do okay at realistically assessing my strengths without getting my head all puffed up.  But I have a long way to grow before I stop beating the crap out of myself for imperfections. 

Beating the crap out of oneself for imperfections is not humility.  If I sound redundant, it is because I know that there are others like me who are also stubborn and slow to learn it.

No deep “wow me” statements from Karen today.  Just:  I’m no humility pro.  I can’t practice it much or even quantify it well, other than saying things it is NOT.  Still, it’s a good thing to keep praying and pressing toward, eh?

  1. Linda Engels says:

    I try and read your blog every night Karen and many times I feel you could be writing about me….I see my mistakes, my faults, my etc but I see your strengths and your great love of the Lord shine through all and I hope that on my journey growth can be seen. Also, the love you have for your husband lights up your face and your writing when you write about him. I know, I know, I can’t see your face but nonetheless, your face lights up.

  2. Linda says:

    Hey Karen, I’m right there with you girl…perfectionist to a fault and humility….well maybe once in a while, but I could sure do better. Hey David and Nicole Binion are at Calvary weds night…6:30 start time. Would love to see you and meet your Gary.

  3. Pam Spangler says:

    Oh how I needed to hear this today. God is sure using you to get through to me! I have insecurities major today. I will be praying for you as I know you will for me. Hugs!

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