Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. – C.S. Lewis
This week I started reading “The Screwtape Letters.” It’s a fantastic fiction novel written by C.S. Lewis. In the novel, C.S. Lewis claims to have found letters from a Senior Demon to his nephew, a junior tempter. The senior demon, Wormwood, instructs his nephew how to better entice and misdirect a young British man. The novel really gives great insight into how we are potentially attacked on a daily basis on many different levels.
In one of the letters the British man has made some new friends (not good ones) and it states that humility is self-forgetfulness. In and of itself “humility is self-forgetfulness” is not that great of a revelation. But if we go a little further with this, we can really learn something. Bear with me here 🙂
I’ve pondered recently how to balance being humble with the fact that we are so special to God. There are endless passages in the Bible describing how precious we are to God.
Everything God has created is GOOD. Not MOST or SOME things God created are good. The Bible says Everything created by God is good.
We are described as treasures to Him, His friend, and His children.
Treasures are precious and invaluable.
Friends are people who are close to us and we share our joys and life experiences with.
We pour out our hearts and sacrifice everything we have for our children. We hope to pass the best of ourselves to our children.
How do we reconcile this with being humble? If God supposedly sees us as “so special,” how are we supposed to be humble? If you hear day and night how awesome you are, how do you fully believe and accept God’s promise as truth while still remaining humble?
The thoughts in my head are very contradictory.
Me: “You can do anything, Scully. God is supporting you and you are a princess in His eyes. Nothing can hold you back, don’t be afraid. God has promised this to you, He hasn’t given you a spirit of fear.”
Other voice in my head: “Hold up here. You are getting WAY ahead of yourself. You may think you know what you’re doing, but I’m pretty sure you’re being prideful. If you are giving yourself THAT much credit, then you aren’t thinking low enough of yourself.”
Here’s where my thoughts were stuck at: Being humble must mean degrading yourself just enough, but still believing you are loved.
That is WRONG. Being humble is not self-loathing to any extent.
Being humble is self-forgetfulness. It’s not about downing yourself everytime you think something nice about yourself. It’s about accepting God’s truth that He speaks to us, and then directing our thoughts toward sharing that with others. He wants us to think great thoughts about ourselves and all of His creation at the same time. No competing with one another, only celebrating God’s awesomeness in creating tons of awesomeness.
The illustration I came up with to drive this point home might demonstrate better how God’s creation of us is meant to glorify Him (and how we can be humble without downing ourselves.)
Imagine you’ve been invited by the world’s most renown chef to a banquet of exisquitely prepared dishes. There are thousands upon thousands of foods to taste. You’ve been gifted with the ability to try everything without ever getting full or gaining any weight, so you are able to try every single delicacy there. As you try the first dish, the distinct flavors combine effortlessly on your tongue. It’s so delicious and it’s so unique, you can’t even determine one ingredient in this dish. Good thing you aren’t being quizzed on this. You’re only job is to enjoy. You tip your hat to the chef, and move on to the next dish. This one is equally enjoyable, but the impression this food leaves on your palate is more cool, calm, and sweet. You relish each course you try, as they are all equally pleasing in unique ways. The moment you are done with one food, you are completely wrapped up in the taste of the cuisine that follows. One dish doesn’t take away from the next. The chef stands in the background and you can’t help but continuously praise His expertise, proficiency, and mastery.
Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if the food started quarelling about which dish was better? What if the food started arguing with you about if it tasted good? Can you imagine the food bragging and boasting about itself?
No, the food would be content to be enjoyed. It would be glorifying the chef right along with you for all the amazing foods around it. Self-forgetfulness.
Although comparing humans to food with God as the chef isn’t a perfect analogy, it serves its’ purpose for this particular discussion. How to balance thinking highly of ourselves and remaining humble at the same time.
Have you ever struggled with humility? I’d love to hear if what you have to say, please comment!