For a long time, I thought humility was best expressed when someone pointed their finger elsewhere when they were glorified in some way and when they downplayed their accomplishments.  I thought it was when someone never talked about themselves or the great things they did.  So when I saw people who would divert a compliment given to them or shift the credit to someone else or better yet, “give God the glory”, I would think, This person’s so humble!  And because I valued humility, I’d do the same thing.  And then I went home and felt good about myself – both about doing the thing that was complimented and also for being so humble about it.

But I don’t think this is really humility.

I think humility is the ability to embrace myself in my fullness — the good, the bad and the ugly.  And always keeping the three at bay.  Humility is knowing that I cannot do it all but that I can do a lot.  No matter how great a thing I’ve done, I am aware of the darkness in myself enough to know that I can mess it up just as much.  No matter how much wrong I’ve inflicted, I am aware that I am redeemable and that I am a deeper well than this wrong.  I can acknowledge an accomplishment, even if it is my own, but I don’t ever have to blow it out of proportion because I embrace it for what it is.  I can also acknowledge my faults and don’t have to be defensive about it.  I can acknowledge someone else’s fault and not have to discourage them for it, since I know that I am capable of the same thing.

I can claim the good, bad and ugly knowing I somehow embody them all.  This is humility.


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