one of my subscribe-to-daily-via-email devos today (i highly recommend this one, for those of you who need a little email pick-me-up every day with some valuable insights and reflections – it’s the New Life devotional) ended with this quote:

“Humility is a strange thing. The minute you think you’ve got it, you’ve lost it.” E.D. Hulse

humility (noun): the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc
humble (adjective): not proud or arrogant

so, i read it a few times and after the initial attraction of the little wordplay and catchy syntax, i thought i’d make an attempt to find myself in it. immediately my thoughts ran something like this: “well, i don’t claim to be humble, so if i’m not boasting about my own humility, i must be on the right track here. sweet, this quote rocks, maybe i’m more humble than i thought.”

case in point: pride goes before a fall.
what an injustice we do ourselves to think that as long as we aren’t pointing out our own awesomeness to people all the time, we’re pretty darn humble…even while internally, we’re pretty sure we’re amazing – maybe even more amazing than most people, in comparison (because what do we do as Americans, in today’s me-me-me society, besides compare ourselves to everyone else whose paths we cross?). i might not be wearing t-shirts that say “pretty much the best thing ever” or responding to requests for dates with “are we even in the same league, here?”, but i definitely have my moments (brutal honesty coming, get ready) where i’ll look at someone else or read something somebody else wrote or catch myself on a better-than-ordinary hair day and think…yeah, it’s pretty sweet to be me. i don’t snowboard so badly for a girl, and my grammar is prettttty good, ifidosaysomyself, and compared to that girl over there, i dance realllllly well.

example from my life, with which i’m currently struggling: i’m pretty athletic, able to run semi-far distances and exert myself physically without a great deal of effort/strain/exhaustion, and “compared to most people i know,” i’m in really good shape. so, imagine the low blow to my “i just want to be active every single second” pride when i began dealing with severe pain in my IT (iliotibial…no, i did not make that name up) bands and got diagnosed with “iliotibial syndrome,” which means i can’t run as far/much as i am accustomed to…which means i mentally go a little more insane every day that this persists. and ya know, right before this happened, i was kinda thinking i wasn’t shaping up to be such a bad runner, allthingsconsidered. and looking back now, if i’m perfectly honest with myself…i wanted other people to think that, too.

“pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (proverbs 16:18 )

so back to the quote application…by me saying i’m not humble, is that showing humility? no way. it’s just semantics. so how do you win, then? if you think you’re humble, you’re not; if you KNOW you’re not humble, well…you probably aren’t. unless you REALLY are humble, and then there’s the catch – you won’t think you are, because you’ll always want to be more and more like our perfect model of humility (JESUS) – but other people will look at you and see Jesus reflected in gleam of your eyes, feel His love in the squeeze of your hand, and it won’t be just about YOU.

“let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” (2 corinthians 10:17)