Oh, Lord – It’s Hard To Be Humble (Step 7)

Step 7: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings,

I grew up singing two songs about humility. One was a Christian camp song that said, “Humble me, humble me, oh Lord; humble me…humble me, so I can do Thy will…” The other, sung by Mac Davis, went something like this: “Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way.”

College Daze

                                              On top of my little world ~ Before the fall

As an ‘80’s teenager, popular music both shaped and reflected the person I was. Sometimes I pretended to be perfect in every way, while refusing to come to Jesus with certain corners of my heart. Other times I truly wanted to follow God’s will and His plan for my life. Living with me was like flipping through every radio station on a long road trip. One day, I was like, “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee.” The next, it was more the Def Leppard version, complete with the mentality that “it’s better to burn out, yeah, than fade away.”

I wanted everything life could offer and I wanted it “right now!” I had planned out my future while still in grade school. As a young adult, I refused to wait for life to unfold. I forced it. I forced my way, my will, and my ideas onto other people. I tried to control them through manipulation, guilt, or fear. I tried to force broken boys to love me. I forced myself into relationships where I didn’t belong. I forced myself to reach impossibly high goals, expecting others to work as hard as I did, with little compassion for their shortcomings. I was often full of myself and empty of humility.

Then I fell. I not only physically fell from the roof of a barn, shattering several vertebrae; I also crumbled emotionally. The road to recovery was excruciating. My physical body healed more rapidly than my psyche. All pride had been crushed. I had to learn to walk in humility, just as I had to learn to walk with my new crutches – one step at a time, one day at a time.

Decades later, as I take a close look here at Step 7, I’m wondering if the Mac Davis song still sometimes describes my stance toward humility. Do I ask God to remove my shortcomings, while clinging to the falsehood that I am somehow perfect in every way (or at least in some little way)? I’ve been down this road countless times! Why does pride still rear its ugly ugly head in my life?

Isn’t it PRIDE that keeps me from going to God the minute something goes wrong on the inside of me? Oh, it’s not a big deal. I can handle it. I lie to myself, while ignoring the Spirit’s “still small voice.”

The book of James holds a promise for people like me in chapter 4, verse 10. James says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” If I humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings, He promises to lift me up. When I am puffed up with pride, full of hot air or a hot temper, God cannot lift me up. He can barely wrap His arms around me when I’m so full of my “my way or the highway” attitude.

In 2004, I was twenty years from being a headstrong teenager, trying desperately to control my tiny world after it came apart at the seams with my mom’s divorce. By then, I’d been married for ten years to a chemically dependent spouse and I carried a ton of guilt, anger and anguish around inside my head. My own thoughts of divorce crept across the borders of my mind as I struggled to find feelings to match my marital vows after addiction’s roller coaster had robbed me of so much. When I flipped through the radio and found Norah Jones singing, “No matter how hard you resist it, it never rains when you want it to…You humble me Lord… I’m on my knees empty…” I identified with that humility. Although God hadn’t handed me an addict on a silver platter, He definitely used being married to one to teach me to walk in humility.

Today, I live in a different world – far removed from the chaos of cocaine addiction. But I don’t want to forget the lessons learned in that valley. Forgiveness. Humility. Patience. Courage. Honesty. Surrender. The valley of the shadow of addiction is a deep one. It will mold a character. It can make us or break us, maybe both. I think the brokenness is what calls me back to my knees when I get too big for my britches.Step 7 Meme

I need Step 7 every day of my life. It’s an exercise that transforms me from the me-I-don’t-want-to-be to the me-the-looks-like-Him. When l admit my shortcomings and humbly ask God to immediately remove them before they embarrass or humiliate me, or misrepresent Him, my life flows so much smoother – fewer regrets, fewer do-overs. Why I so easily forget that, I do not know. But, tonight, I just want to make that little camp song my bedtime prayer, “Humble me so I can do Thy will.” Will you make it yours, too?

You humble me Lord
You humble me Lord
I’m on my knees empty
You humble me Lord
You humble me Lord
So, please, please, forgive me
You humble me

Kevin Breit/Norah Jones

 

 

2 thoughts on “Oh, Lord – It’s Hard To Be Humble (Step 7)

  1. Thanks the realness in what you share. Yes humility everyday. Feel like I am still working on I think I let Him but understanding His Mercy is a comfort.

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    • Thanks so much, Carla. Yes…keeping it real is not always easy, but it’s what helps us all to connect. Nobody is on a pedestal. There, but for the grace of God, go I…

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