Humility that empowers

Stung by a friend’s comment that she needed humility, a woman turned to the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy for a closer look at what it truly means to be humble – which prompted an empowering shift in her thinking.

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“Do you know what you need?” a friend recently asked.

“No, what?” I replied.

“Humility,” she answered.

Ouch ... that hurt. I thought I was humble – but to say so wouldn’t have proved it!

When I got home, I considered the most humble individual I could think of: Jesus. I picked up my Bible and read how Jesus refused to personally take credit for any of his works or even words. For instance: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). He credited God as the source that inspired all he said and did.

Next I looked up “humility” in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science. Two passages that stuck out to me were from “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896”: “Experience shows that humility is the first step in Christian Science, wherein all is controlled, not by man or laws material, but by wisdom, Truth, and Love” (p. 354), and “Humility is the stepping-stone to a higher recognition of Deity” (p. 1).

I realized that humility has a profoundly spiritual meaning that I had been missing: God-inspired action. Seen this way, humility is a recognition of God’s role as the creator who governs the universe, an understanding and appreciation of all the good and harmony God constantly imparts to everyone. When we’re letting God, rather than self, be the primary impetus for what we do and think, then we’re expressing true humility, and we experience how empowering this can be.

I decided to try to put this into practice, and an opportunity came up when I got to work. I was excited because I had done a lot of prepping for a project I was to present that day. But then a colleague mentioned that she had done some additional work on the project and began telling of her approach, which appeared to negate everything I had done.

I was indignant! I felt I had done a lot of work for nothing. And it wasn’t even her project!

Before saying anything, though, I stopped and reached out humbly to God. I listened for God’s direction. I found myself saying how much I liked her idea, and maybe we could combine the two approaches – which we did, and it came out better than either of us had planned.

There were a couple of other times that day when I noticed myself getting flustered because I felt taken advantage of, or that my time or value had not been recognized. Each time, though, I was able to recognize that anger, jealousy, or feeling put out were not from God, infinite good – therefore, they were not me. The Bible tells us that we are created in the image of God, who is Spirit. Being humble enough to acknowledge God as the creator of all we truly are as His sons and daughters enables us to overcome unhelpful feelings and replace them with loving, God-directed actions that bless both us and those we interact with.

I hadn’t realized how much this quality played in everyday life! Up until then, I had thought of humility as not bragging about how great one’s children are or how much we recycle, or even as just letting others walk all over us. But humility is so much more. It isn’t just sitting back and letting others go first, but rather it is putting God first – viewing others as God sees them and listening for God’s direction and then acting upon it. Rather than just reacting to a situation, it is saying, “Not my will, but Yours, God, be done.” It is getting opinions and biases out of the way and allowing God to work through us to bless.

We’re all capable of cultivating more humility, because it is a quality that we already possess as God’s children. It is natural for us to love, turn to, and hear our divine Father-Mother, and act accordingly.

So, my friend, thank you for telling me that I needed humility. You were so right!

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