I was running errands on my lunch break Thursday when I drove by a church sign that read: "Humility is born from humiliation." At first I thought no, that's not true. I don't think it's necessary to break people to make then realize they aren't "all that." But I ran into a problem right away when I tried to think of a time when I learned humility without being knocked flat on my behind or completely overwhelmed to the point of helplessness. Hmm. I've heard it said that more lessons come from pain than joy. It seems that's right. I see, in fact, that every advancement I've made in life was preceded by defeat or being knocked back a notch:
The school refused to put me in the most advanced math classes when I started high school because I missed the eligibility requirement by 2 points on a standardized test. But my senior year, that opened up one more class in my schedule. I took college level psychology - and found my major.
After struggling through a terrible junior year in college where it seemed that all of my classes were a struggle and all my relationships were in conflict, I sought help through tutors, advisors, and councilors at the University. It worked. My senior year, I made the President's List both semesters, was selected to work on a great independent study project (where I gained experience that helped me get the job I have now), graduated with honors, and was engaged to Rick.
After struggling with our finances for years and then an infection that took three months to heal, Rick and I were finally able to build our home.
After a major work move, I got two publication contracts and became an independent author, thanks to the perseverance and research skills I learned from working with others to make the move successful.
I wondered why this is so. I suppose the whole "free will" thing has a lot to do with it. We all want to be important. But the truth is that we don't run the world, and it seems that we need reminders every now and then that we can't do it all. The good news is that the One who made the world wants to give us His power and work through us. He just has to make sure we're ready to let him do that. We can do a lot, but we CAN'T do it all. And I suppose coming to the end of our rope is the thing that prepares us for the miracles that take us from disaster to destiny.
I've spent my career working in professional licensing, and I can tell you that one of the most embarrassing things is to have someone ask you or one of your Board members "why did you license that person?" It's an undeniable fact that the standards set for initial licensure become the "minimal competency level" standards for the profession, and you can't force people to rise above that once they're licensed. It's encouraged and supported through license renewals, continuing education requirements, and private societies that offer opportunities to connect with others and grow in the profession. But we can't force them to take anything from that, and the sad truth is that there are some people that won't do any more than they have to. Thankfully, it's extremely rare that this happens, but everything is subject to opinion and inevitably it will.
Well, God doesn't settle for minimal competency, nor will He allow us to. And humility is how He helps us rise to the next blessing. My Bible reading was in Job yesterday, and I was struck by one verse: "The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the former part." (Job 42:12) After being utterly destroyed; after losing everything except his life; after being ridiculed by family and friends and even chastised by God Himself; Job acknowledged his limits and pledged to lean on God. And God was pleased and grew him, above and beyond all he ever had.
My point in this entry is to encourage you not to give up or to give in to discouragement if you're facing a tough time. We all do. Maybe you made a mistake and need to make it right. Maybe you didn't do anything to deserve it, and this is God preparing you for a blessing to come. Whatever the case, have faith. Human beings were created to live in eternity with the Lord, so the story never ends. Humility means joining your ability with God's strength to rise to the next level. So don't fear. Rise. You can do it. The One Who created the Heavens and the Earth will make you able.
But you can't do it alone. Because sorry folks, but you're not all that.
That's all today. Take care, and have a great weekend.