Oh Lord, It’s Hard To Be Humble…

When you’re perfect in every way. I can’t wait to look in the mirror. Cuz I get better lookin’ each day. Do you, by chance, recognize the lyrics above? I have my father to thank for indoctrinating me into the ways of old country music dudes like Charlie Pride, Mac Davis, and Ronnie Milsap. So much so that I still remember the songs they sang as they blared out from my Daddy’s 8-track player in our 1976 Blue Chevy Suburban. Humility. Not the easiest subject to discuss or describe, but I’ll give it a shot. One of the definitions of the word humble is not proud or arrogant. Maybe you’ve heard Christ Followers say that to be humble doesn’t mean to think less of yourself, but to think of yourself less. No matter how you define the term, I think we can agree that being humble is a far more beautiful character trait than exhibiting arrogance. But, what do you do when you are talented in sports or writing or speaking or acting or singing? What do you do when people start mentioning your name as someone who has touched them or inspired them?  What do you do when you are kind of a big deal? Take Michael Phelps, for example. Oh, you’ve not heard of him? He’s only the most decorated Olympian who has ever walked the surface of our planet. Athens? Beijing? Anyone? I was impressed with Phelps each time someone interviewed him. Impressed because not once did I sense arrogance. Confidence, yes. But arrogance? No way José. And the reason that he appeared that way to me was because of his manner. Because of his grace. His manner was very gracious as he stated facts about his training and the races. He did not make predictions about how much he would win.  He just swam. And quite well, I might add. Not only that, but he also did not pretend that he wasn’t good. You did not hear him say, “Yeah, well, I’m not that great of a swimmer but somehow I won the race.” That would have been false humility, in my opinion. Years ago I was confronted with this in my own life. When someone would try to encourage me after I would sing a song, I would reply with, “Oh, it’s not me. It’s the Lord.” If that’s not false humility, I don’t know what is. In Cindy’s definition, to be falsely humble is to think you are all that and then say you are nothing. I realized that I was indeed taking more praise than I deserved because that particular reply made me seem more godly than I really was. So, not only did I sing a nice song to that person, but now, I’m practically Mother Theresa in their eyes. Eventually, my reply changed to a mere thank you. And then in the quiet of my heart, I would tell God, “Thank you for using me.  I owe my life to you.” And I still do that today when someone praises me or encourages me. Because I know exactly from where my gifts and talents originate. Obviously, there is only one perfect example of humility by a human. His name is Jesus. Philippians 2 states exactly what He laid down to come to this earth to redeem mankind. We will never display the kind of humility that He did. But what we can do is to realize who we are and how we are gifted. Once that is acknowledged, we can live in confidence because of how our Heavenly Father has wired us. He has made no mistake giving you the gifts you have. So operate in them. And after you offer your gift, remember that you are nothing without Him. I am nothing without Him.

16 thoughts on “Oh Lord, It’s Hard To Be Humble…”

  1. Humility was one of the words I remember teaching the kids when they were young…and you know I love simple definitions.

    We came up with “KNOWING you need God”. That has helped me so many times (still does) and helps keep my in my place. Great post!

  2. i made those same observations when watching michael phelps – he was a great example of humility in a truly gifted person.

    thanks for this post.

  3. Good one…having been blessed with some God given self confidence I am always working on humility, and vain ambition, and seeing big dreams as the desires of my heart. Dreams that were once very self centered have changed to “Just let this help one person”

    I love that new song by Chris Sligh, Empty Me…
    I’ve had just enough
    Of the spotlight when it burns bright
    To see how it gets in the blood
    I’ve tasted my share
    Of the sweet life and the wild ride
    And found a little is not quite enough
    I know how I can stray
    And how fast my heart could change

    Empty me of the selfishness inside
    Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
    And any foolish thing my heart holds onto
    Lord, empty me of me so I can be filled with You


  4. Humility is having a proper perspective on who you are/what you do. And you stated that wonderfully.

    I once heard a speaker talk about humility, and how even the quiet girl in the back of the room can be proud thinking, ‘People never pay any attention to me… if they only knew.’ Oh my, pride can crop up anywhere.

    I think the thing that really got to me about this was C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters.” In it he pointed out that if a man becomes humble, all that needs to be done is make the man proud of his humility.

    It’s the joke of: They gave me a medal for being humble, and took it away when I wore it.

    But you are absolutely right: There is nothing wrong with accepting praise, wearing medals, acknowledging your accomplishments. It is true, we did it… and we did it with God’s help.

    Good stuff. Sorry for writing so much. I just excited sometimes [smile].


  5. I was totally one of those people – “Oh that’s the Lord!” Well, that’s the talent or gift that the Lord gave me, Praise His Name. It’s really hard for me to accept praise, really hard. I know there are some things I’m good at of course there are, aren’t there …. no no yes there are, punctuation isn’t one of them. Yes, I’m still working on accepting praise, gratitude, you name it. Do you think it has something to do with the possibility that givers have a difficult time receiving – including compliments??

  6. i struggle with a simple thank you. i got to practice that one yesterday. and ya know…i think it blesses the complimenter as well. at least it appeared to yesterday.

    but this weekend, in between services, oh my…i blew it. i was in the restroom and there was a lady across from me washing her hands. she had these amazing tattoos that i had to comment on. beautiful art and they truly looked pretty on her, really, they did. anyway…she says to me, “you have a really beautiful voice. each time you sing it just melts me.” to which i respond..get ready…”Oh, you must be talking about the girl who stands next to me, Vanessa. oh that girl can sing!”. “um, no…im pretty sure its you. but i know who youre talking about it too.” i say, “huh. i bet youre still thinking its her though.”

    what!?!?! i cant believe i did that! i feel like such a [insert bad word here] not only did i demonstrate my lack of confidence and gratitude…i stole the joy of giving a compliment right out of her gracious little heart!

  7. I recently bought C.J. Mahaney’s book “Humility” . Im eager to read it.

    I have to admit that I feel guilty when someone goes on and on about my singing or teaching. I often say, “I can’t take the credit. I’m just using what God gave me.” I don’t mean to be rude, and I honestly mean what I’m saying.

    I heard someone say confidence is like perfume. If you wear it lightly it smells good and serves as a great accent. But if you put on too much it s overbearing and even stinks.

    Its hard to find a balance.

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