on humility and hard work.

humility is hard. (I almost just typed that humility is humbling, which is ridiculous but also true? and tells you a lot about the tangled mess that is my brain right now.)

humility, though. PHEW.

it’s not at all easy to open yourself up— to your own self-reflection, to God, to others. to let down your guard, to inch open the door, to break through the defenses, to let another person see you and speak to you and share with you… it takes work. real, hard work.

lately, i’ve had a lot of practice doing this hard work of humility.

I transitioned to a new job in the last few months, and it’s been wonderful, but it has not been without its challenges. i’ve gotten frustrated, i’ve felt overwhelmed, i’ve been insecure, and i’ve had a poor attitude more than a few times. I hurt others with my words and my actions, and I have had to own up to that. I sat before a coworker just last week and asked them to be honest with me about what I hadn’t done well and where I needed to improve, and it was hard to hear their feedback. it hurt. I knew there was tension, and knew there were things i’d need to own up to and address and work through, but it was still painful.

but it was also really beautiful. sure, I got emotional, I needed time to process, and it felt a bit awkward afterward, but i’m so grateful that conversation happened.

because I humbled myself to hear the honest thoughts and feedback and critique of another person, I was able to come to a place of greater awareness— of who I am, how others perceive me, and how I can better be in control of my emotions and actions for the good of both myself and those around me. it was just one conversation that only lasted a few minutes, but it will have a lasting impact on my relationship with this coworker and on my own personal growth, too.

that impact, that growth, couldn’t have happened without humility.

if I had carried on about my work and my life like nothing was wrong, ignoring the tension, ignoring the nagging feeling I had stepped out of line, ignoring my gut, I would have missed so much.

I would have missed the opportunity to apologize and be forgiven. I would have missed the chance to get to know myself better, to better understand the way that others see me and experience me. I would have missed the space for self-improvement. I would have missed the grace, the love I was shown in those moments. I would have missed the redemption that honest, hard, humble conversations carry.

I would have missed it.

yes, humility is hard.

but its worth it.

it might be the enneagram 1 in me, but I am never satisfied with who I am or where I am, and I always want to keep growing, keep stretching, keep expanding, keep refining. humility is what allows that to happen. the moment I decide i’m good enough, that things are fine enough, that nothing else needs to be done? that’s the moment I shut down and shut out the goodness that could come. that’s when arrogance and over-confidence and self-assuredness win over blessed humility. i’m not about that.

after I shared at counseling about this conversation with my coworker, I was challenged to take things a step further. my homework assignment before our next session is the probably the ultimate exercise in humility.

I was tasked with reaching out to trusted friends to ask them how they experience me— at my best, and at my worst. i’m asking for feedback on a whole long list of questions, and it will require humbling myself before each one of them to hear their thoughts. it will be hard. it will likely hurt. and it will be really beautiful, too. because i’ve seen just how fruitful these conversations can be, i’m honestly really looking forward to them.

(ps— if you want to be part of this exercise, you can click here and name 5 words you think describe me!)

there’s so much still to be learned, so much growing still to do, so much refining still to come. and the more I humble myself before others and before God, the more I know I’ll see that all come to be.

i’m grateful God’s not finished with me yet. i’m grateful for the grace I find waiting for me each and every time I open up to let others and let Him see me. i’m grateful for the love i’ve received, that my vulnerability is never met with condemnation or judgment, but always with sweet, mighty love. i’m grateful that every time I let that guard down and let myself be seen and let others speak into my life, I grow a bit more, and take another step closer to Christ.

like James 4 says:

“What he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that ‘God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.’ So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”

again and again, i’m getting down on my knees before the Master. and again and again, i’m met with grace.

humble me, Lord. purify me through the hard, holy work of humility. may your grace be what meets me there and brings me through.