All my life I’ve been of the conviction that I should not be proud. I mean in the self-promoting, bragging, come-across-as-a-know-it-all sort of way. I don’t want to be that kind of person, and I don’t want to be seen as that kind of person. I think that’s a good thing.
But as a result, I think I’ve fallen into a bad mental/emotional habit… I tend to downplay my strengths.
I downplay my strengths when talking to others, but I also downplay my strengths in my own mind and heart. Because I don’t want to be proud, I don’t allow myself to fully acknowledge or accept the truths about how good the strengths the LORD has given to me really are… because it seems that in doing so I could be proud without knowing it.
I’m finding there is a very delicate balance between the valid concern about actually being proud, and the invalid over-concern about being proud. It’s good to be cautious so that I can be aware of my own behavior and attitudes, thus avoiding pride. But it’s devastating to be overly sensitive to the possibility of pride, and as a result hold myself back from making the most of the gifts the LORD has given to me, for His glory.
When I do this, I squander opportunities, underutilize the gifts God has given me, and do not lead others well. In short, I’m not being a good steward, as I should be.
This passage is proving helpful:
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. – Romans 12:3
I hear Paul (God) saying…
- Yes Carey, be careful that you don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought. Your gifts and abilities are given to you, things for you to steward for the LORD’s sake. You did not make them, earn them, or in any way deserve them. Stay humble.
- But Carey, be careful also to think about yourself soberly. Be fully alert to who God has made you to be (not like a drunk person).
That “soberly” part is what’s hitting me right now. I’ve been around my share of drunk people, and most of the time there’s one of two “types” of drunks.
The crying drunk – because of their inebriation they see everything, especially themselves,
through the saddest, most depressing lenses possible.
The happy drunk – because of their inebriation they see everything, especially themselves, through the most optimistic, unrealistic lenses possible.
When it comes to thinking about myself, I’m to be neither of these. I’m to be sober in my judgment.
If I have gifts, I am to not only acknowledge them, but acknowledge them for the good things they are. I’m to be willing to say, if needed, “The LORD has enabled me to be good at (blank).” I may especially need to say that to myself from time to time. And I may need to work hard at moving out confidently in areas where I see that the gifts He’s given me are particularly suited for the task at hand… and not be afraid of seeming proud.
Some suggested reading on the topic… (affiliate links)
By Andrew Murray
|Humility: True Greatness
By C.J. Mahaney
|Great Lives: Elijah: A Man of Heroism and Humility
By Charles Swindoll
What do you think? Are you humble… proud… or just drunk?