Last week I spent a full week down in the Chicago area taking a course on the theological foundations of mission. Awesome course. I had hoped to have blogged about it by now. But something else happened along the way. You see, on Saturday, the day after I came home, I fell down the stairs. I had woken up early and thought “Hey, why not spend some quiet ‘me’ time with some coffee before everyone gets us.” Well, I learned something, socks + wood stairs + walking fast =’s falling down the stinkin’ stairs.
As I lay (lie?) on the floor after taking the tumble, my knee was pinned against the wall, my head just inches from the other side of the wall, and I began to think what I should do. Honestly, I didn’t say any bad words. I didn’t even think bad words. I just simply yelled “Ouch!” No. Seriously, people’ve asked me this question if I said anything bad, but I didn’t.
At first all I thought I did was bruise my ego a bit (something apparently not to joke about at urgent care). But after a while, I hurt too much that I spent two hours at urgent care. After x-rays and pokes and prods and bending of the ankle and knee, I was given crutches and splints for knee and ankle. Joy.
Now, this isn’t the first time I hurt my knee or ankle. In fact, I broke my ankle back in 1991 playing football (long story). And then I broke my knee back in 2011 hiking in the Badlands of South Dakota (another long story). So, now I am limping along, having to use crutches (sometimes just one crutch) and depending on others for help, like my loving wife.
To be honest, It’s hard to allow others to do things for you. It’s hard to allow others to help you out. I’m used to helping others out. It’s what I do. But now I must depend on others for help.
This involves humility.
I’m not good at humility. No, seriously, I’m not. I like to toot my own horn from time to time. And to be honest, that’s great to do. It’s good to be proud of things you do. Now, humility is not the opposite of pride. Hubris is the opposite of humility. It’s okay to be proud of things, but to have hubris, that’s a whole ‘nother story. I’m not trying to say I’m not hubrisitic (or however you might say it). I have my moments. My delusions of grandeur. They are far and few between like a normal person, but still, they’re there.
Learning humility is about learning to let others help when you’re a helper. Learning humility is learning to let go of things you can’t do and know that there are things you can do but only with the help of others. Humility is seeing yourself not lowly but seeing yourself as one who is in need of help. Not a victim, but a servant.
“Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:10
Jesus speaks about being humble as well. He talks about placing yourself low in order to show respect to others. He speaks about not gunning for the top position but instead coming before God as a child. He speaks about being a servant not one who came to expect to be served. All of this is humility. All of this I’m still learning.
Crutches help with this. I’ve noticed that as I’m on crutches, I am lowly and in need of help. People are more apt to hold the door open for me, willing to grab something for me, do something for me. And it’s hard to let them do that. But by placing myself lower, I’ve learned that God lifts me up.
The humble learn what it means to be true before God. Jesus himself, didn’t see equality with the Father as something to be grasped but humbled himself to the role of a servant, obedient even unto death itself (check out Philippians 2). And we’re to have this same attitude.
And it’s tough.
It’s tough, but doable by the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, as I limp along with my crutches this week, I will keep asking God to continue to teach me this humility I greatly need to learn.