What is True Humility?
I struggle fairly frequently (let’s say daily) with issues of humility. Conversely, I also struggle with taking more responsibility and also claiming my power, so to speak. I know as I walk the Red Road that both states are required to learn and master. Often times both points of view seem contradictory to possess. And what do either really mean?
We are taught to regard humility as a state of “lowness”, “insignificance” and “meekness”. If we were to actually take these definitions literally, we might as well roll out a doormat and write on it, “I am not worthy. Please walk all over me.” Wow, that sounds so attractive to our 21st century mindset. Where do I sign up?
The Christian church from a Western tradition, who has taken the authority to define humility and its virtues, in my estimation, really took a wrong turn somewhere throughout the ages. I don’t believe that Jesus actually called his people to be “insignificant” and essentially powerless. What was his real message?
His message consisted of being bold, being powerful, and to “perform greater works than these.” (in reference to the miracles that Jesus himself performed). He tasks us with radical change, healing the sick, housing the homeless, clothing the naked. If spiritual people are called to use whatever gifts they have for healing, peace and service, why would their tools be so shoddy, or themselves such useless vessels? How would a collective body of people, called by God, or the Universe, save humanity if they’re supposed to be “insignificant” and “lowly”?
Through my experience, being humble has been much more of a path of learning to be open, feel superior to no one, relinquish the need to control or appear smarter or faster than another, live daily with gratitude in one’s heart and to always put service first. I can acknowledge my strength and talents, but I need not compare them to another. I can take great joy in recognizing what I have done for others, but I will also rejoice with just as much exuberance at the great works my neighbor has performed.
Being humble involves an awareness that your talents are not your own. They are gifts, not an entitlement. We are strengthened as we remember to show gratitude for every gift, whether it is in the form of a loving friend, or a brightly lit morning. Humility is taking nothing for granted, and knowing that all that has been given to you was done so with a great deal of love (from God or other sources). We must understand where our source of strength comes from, God or the Universe- but then we are called to get off of our butts and do something real and meaningful! As gratitude courses through our veins, as we realize that we cannot rely on only our strength alone, we are a true force. Nothing is out of our reach. Everything is possible. When we look back on our accomplishments, let us not be afraid to recognize that this is our glory, this is glory for the Universe/God, this is eternal bliss.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for claiming one’s power.