As a Christian counselor, I’m always researching and looking for inspiring resources on freedom. Consequently, I enrolled in a course online and diligently worked through the exercises. One exercise required me to make a list of all the pain and trauma in my life beginning with the earliest memories. Next to the pain, I was to record any negative thoughts or beliefs that remained in my mind as a result. Since I couldn’t think of anything, I asked the Holy Spirit to show me where the enemy had legal right.
After meditating, the Holy Spirit gave me a vivid memory when I was in fifth grade. I lived in the country and was running to catch the school bus. Unfortunately, it was a cold, wintery day and I slipped on the ice in front of everyone. I kept standing up and falling down. Due to the slope and ice, the bus driver had to pick me up and walk me to my house. I knew in my heart everyone was laughing at me. At that moment, I began to agree with lies from the enemy and embraced shame, embarrassment, disappointment, humiliation and self-hate. Those negative thoughts began to increase and carry into my adult life. It brought in other lies; such as: self-rejection, self-hatred, false humility and other defense mechanisms.
Those negative thoughts began to impact my future. There were many events that brought disappointments, but there was one that taught me my greatest lesson. I was nominated Teacher of the Year. People would complement me and reassure me that I would win. My response, was “There are others more qualified than me.” When people encouraged me, I deflected it back, thinking I was being humble. I didn’t recognize I was uncomfortable because I didn’t like myself. When I was not chosen, I asked the Lord, “Why”? He responded, “You were responding in false humility. You didn’t give me any glory; I couldn’t honor your giftings.”
False Humility is a Mindset
False humility is a mindset that places the emphasis on our weakness, sinfulness, and inability while not acknowledging or stepping into God’s provision to change us and empower us to be who He created us to be. It recognizes that on our own we are weak, but does not recognize that we are called to be strong in the Lord. It acknowledges that apart from Jesus we can do nothing, but fails to realize that we are not apart from Jesus! “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing,” John 15:5.
False humility says, “look at how weak and terrible I am” without acknowledging that God has given us a new identity in Him and that He is with us. It keeps people from sharing the great things God is doing through them and acknowledging the call God has placed on their lives.
Peter said: “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time”, 1 Peter 5:6. While it is our job to humble ourselves, God says that when we do, He will exalt us. False humility leaves no room for this, because it continually puts the focus on our unworthiness.
True Humility Carries Confidence
People of real humility have a lot of confidence in who God is inside them. They have submitted to His leadership and steward the confidence they have gained through personal process. They don’t hate who they are but receive who God made them to be. They are grateful that God operates within them and they don’t need to flaunt anything to get validation.
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
David wrote an anointed psalm when he recognized his identity and gained a greater revelation of God’s greatness! “I will praise you, for You made me with fear and wonder; marvelous are Your works, and You know me completely”, Psalm 139:14. David looked at his reflection through God’s lens and recognized he was made in the image of God. When we see ourselves as David did, we break out of false humility and embrace His uniqueness.
Once we know who God designed us to be, we won’t want to be anyone else! Now we can praise Him for we are altogether lovely, fearfully and wonderfully made!