Humility can seem like such a paradox: we are expected to give our best, while practicing freedom from praising ourselves. This can seem like an elusive task at times, especially in our American culture of self reliance and competition for perfection.
It is difficult to detach from social media, to stop publishing our daily interactions and opinions, and lay down self promotion and self interest. The practice of humility can become less burdensome when we create a space to rest and can unwrap our minds from constant stimulation.
Lent is a time of spiritual preparation for the resurrection and can be such a powerful time to connect with God through practicing humility.
Make an effort to get into a rhythm of taking 15 minutes in the morning to acknowledge the need for God and others; express thankfulness for something given freely to you that you did not earn or request; and return the favor by asking the Holy Spirit to present opportunities to serve others.
Humility is a spiritual discipline that takes practice and a willingness to surrender to God. Within Christian Community Development this can take many different forms:
- Learning to break down power structures
- Resisting the tendency to fix other people or think, “I know better”
- Having the will to accompany people in their journey, while realizing you are on a journey of your own
- Being honest with yourself and others through listening and learning
- Following someone else’s lead or investing in local leadership development
Within the Immerse course on Empowerment, we learn that navigating relationships with humility is a testament to Christ’s formation of our lives. It also influences the outcomes we desire in our communities.
Empowerment for another comes when we practice giving up a bit of our own power and control. When we surrender to humility, we entrust the Holy Spirit to embolden the person to advance them in power, growth, and leadership.
Prayer for Humility
Meditate on the following verse and ask God to speak to you as you consider practicing the instructions given in the Word:
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
This Lenten season, use this prayer to encourage the practice of humility…
God, we posture and humble ourselves as learners and listeners. We surrender any privilege, advantage, power, our desire to control our idea of the way things are or should be. We ask you to remove narcissism, entitlement, bias, and pour out altruism through honesty with ourselves and honesty with others.
We ask you to open our eyes to the work already happening, to see expressions of your love within our community and world. We praise you for the leaders you will bring us to follow, for your might works through them. We praise you for the ways you are at work that we do not see.
Mary Beth Meadows is the Executive Assistant to the Leadership Development and Training Director at CCDA. She is also a social worker who serves as an organizational consultant for trauma-informed care and ministry. She has a passion for justice, serving through solidarity and advocacy in her local Knoxville, Tennessee, community.