What comes to mind when you hear the word “humility”?
For me, I always thought of embarrassment and shame. I had a picture in my mind of elementary school. I was getting ready to run my very first “track meet.” I was only in like kindergarten or first grade, so it wasn’t like I was on a team or anything. I checked in once we got to the high school track and got my bib with my number on it–I was set to go.
Considering my brothers already ran track, I was a pretty confident six-year-old. They called my age group out to the track where a bunch of little five and six-year-olds lined up at the starting mark.
*BOOM* We all took off running. I heard my brothers’ words echoing in my head: “Don’t run super fast in the beginning! Everyone else will burn out towards the end, but you will have more energy–that’s when you run super fast!” Psh I’ve got this, no problem. I’m running along, letting other kids pass me.
But all of a sudden, something happened that I had not prepared for…Never in a million years did I expect my SHOE TO FALL OFF! I felt my bare sock on the rubbery track. I looked behind me to see my pink running shoe about five feet behind me. I didn’t know what to do, but I did know that I was mortified. I could hear my brothers cheering me on in the background, telling me to keep going. I was frozen from embarrassment, which only made things worse in my mind.
I felt my face getting hot and next thing I know tears were streaming down my flushed cheeks. I just stood there staring at my shoe, crying. It felt like en eternity but the next thing I felt was someone holding my hand. I look up and see my brother, laughing and telling me to keep going and sort of pulling me forward. I eventually finished the race but you can bet I never ran again after that. I was humiliated at just six years old!
So when I felt the Lord telling me I needed to pray for humility, I panicked, thinking something as scarring as that memory was going to happen. In a moment of feeling very spiritual, I asked Him to give me humility. Then I realized what I had done and said, “Never mind–I take it back!”
It took me 12 and a half years to realize there was such a thing as godly humility. In fact, it wasn’t until just a few days ago that my eyes were opened to this fact.
Our GFA School of Discipleship
class was reading Crazy Love
by Francis Chan in the beginning of February. There were so many great things in this book, but a few things stuck out to me in particular–one of which is just realizing how precious time is and how fragile our lives are. We aren’t promised next year, or tomorrow or even the next hour. So what are you doing in your life to benefit the kingdom of God? Do you want to die while watching some movie filled with cursing? Do you want Jesus to come back in the middle of a gossiping conversation? I don’t know about you, but I want to be doing something that the Lord would be proud of to call me His own.
2018-2019 School of Discipleship Class
Something else that had an impact on me wasn’t actually in the book, but in our homework questions. You see, in Crazy Love, Francis Chan goes through a whole list of characteristics that can be found in a Christian “obsessed” with Jesus. From the 13 listed, one of the homework questions asked what three were the hardest ones for us. The three I picked out were ‘friends of all’, ‘humble’, and ‘dedicated.’
Dedicated: A person who is obsessed with Jesus is more concerned with his/her character than comfort. Obsessed people know that true joy doesn’t depend on circumstances or environment; it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God. (James 1:2-4)
The very next question said, ” For each of these three areas, think of one person who is an example to you of being obsessed in this way.” As I began to brainstorm, I realized all three of those that I struggled with just happened to be three very prominent characteristics in one of my brothers. I felt the bitterness rising and I had an “of course” kind of attitude. All my life it’s felt like I lived in the shadows of my brothers, but mostly this one. Our relationship has always been sort of weird. We’re close, but also, low-key, always in competition with each other.
Our teacher that day told us to look up to the people that we listed and follow them as an example so that we can begin to achieve or get better at those things. I thought, “nah.” But as the day went on, I really felt the Lord telling me I needed to call him and apologize for constantly being bitter and jealous. I thought, “nah.”
A few weeks went by with that on my mind and heart pretty regularly, but after a while I started to feel that conviction slip away. Agh. I knew this was something I needed to do and I wanted to obey the Lord especially because our time is limited. So before I could overthink it, I called my brother–actually, before I could think about it at all. I had no idea what I was going to say!
He answered and I told him I was sorry for everything, and I haven’t been the best sister and I asked him to forgive me. He forgave me and apologized as well, for not making it easy for me. There was a whole lot more that went into that conversation but that’s personal for me to hold onto and treasure. It was a really super great conversation and I hung up feeling not only closer to him but closer to God, too! I felt so much joy and relief and tried to block out what else the Lord was telling me to do during that phone call.
A few weeks went by and I could still feel Him telling me to do something else. I knew what it was but I pretended I didn’t hear it. Again, after a while, that conviction started to fade. This time I didn’t care. Heh, oh well.
As I realized that, I started feeling pretty thankful that it was leaving to be honest, but in the midst of that, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me loud and clear, “Karis, how many opportunities and growth are you going to miss out on because you won’t do this simple thing for Me?” Agh. Fine.
I stepped into an empty meeting room in the GFA
office and called up my sister-in-law.
We’ve always had a weird/not the greatest relationship, as well. We don’t have the greatest past, and there was a lot of unresolved hurt. I told her that I felt like we haven’t officially closed the doors to our past and I really believed it was because I never asked for her forgiveness. There was a lot more to this conversation too, but it’s for me.
She forgave me and expressed how much it meant to her. Afterwards, I felt even closer to God than before and was feeling super refreshed, so I wanted to go tell one of our School of Discipleship leaders about it because I was just so excited. I sat in my chair deciding if I wanted to tell her at that moment or at the end of the day. Once I decided I wanted to do it right then, I kid you not: HE ASKED ME TO HAVE ANOTHER CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE. No–That’s all I said.
But I eventually told myself I would do it since I’m already feeling good and when else would I do it? This one however, was a little more difficult for me. This conversation had to be done face-to-face with someone over me at GFA. On my way to the School of Discipleship leader’s office, I made up my mind that if this person wasn’t at their desk then it just wasn’t meant to happen. And what do you know…they weren’t! Relief blew over me. And on my way back from the leader’s office, that person still wasn’t there! As soon as I got done saying “thank goodness” in my mind, they walked around the corner. Bah! But I did it and I had that conversation–apologizing and asking for forgiveness.
Growth Through Godly Humility
Even though I had to have three really hard conversations in the span of about three weeks, I can honestly say that my relationship with the Lord feels like something completely different. It is totally different than it was a week ago. He revealed what godly humility looked like and felt like. It was scary; I definitely won’t lie or sugarcoat that. And I one hundred percent did not want to have any of those conversations. But I don’t regret any of them. In fact, I wish I had them sooner because of how much growth happened afterwards. I wish I could explain to you all the joy that fills my spirit now. I was humbled in a way that didn’t cause embarrassment or shame. It was just choosing to get off my high horse. I treasure this entire experience!