This post is part of my October humility project. Some readers and personal friends wanted to follow me on a goal I set myself of spending October reflecting on and practicing humility. This is the second challenge to guide me, the first you can read here. Here’s what I’m doing today:
Aspect of humility
Acknowledging the good that is in me and is done through me.
What am I reflecting on today
These words of St Therese of Lisieux, from her autobiography, Story of a Soul:
It seems to me that if a little flower could speak, it would tell simply what God has done for it without trying to hide its blessings. It would not say, under the pretext of a false humility, it is not beautiful and without perfume, that the sun has taken away its splendor and the storm has broken its stem when it knows that all this is untrue.
What I am doing today
I’m naturally repulsed by the thought of ‘celebrating’ myself and my achievements – at least for anything bigger than cooking a nice meal! That I will rave on about to anyone who will listen for the next few days (it doesn’t happen that often by the way!)
But for anything bigger, like when I get a really nice compliment about the way my husband and I are raising our children, or something I’ve written, my first reaction is that the person is just being kind or flattering me. But when I think about it, isn’t that kind of insulting to the person, to me, and to God who made me who I am?
Other times if I can tell the person is not only kind but really sincere in his or her compliment, then the only way I can accept it is with the thought that it’s not much to do with me. That if there’s any good come from me it’s because God in his kindness has arranged it to seem that way.
That sounds holy doesn’t it, but it usually tips into what St Therese refers to as false humility. While I’m never going to get a big head, I often go too far in the other direction of thinking badly of myself.
The challenge for me, and what I’ll be doing today is spending a bit of time thinking about how often I (unfairly) denigrate myself and the good things that I do or have done. I need to remember that when I do this, I am actually denigrating things has God has done for me and is doing for me. I am not letting my light shine, as Jesus said we should do.
- The photo above is of a lovely card I received last week from a reader of my weekly column.
2 Comments Add yours
Thank you for your thoughtful and sincere blogs. I also enjoy your column and I look forward to each edition of the CW. As a Mum of three girls under the age of 9, I can identify with the challenges (and blessings) that you share. More often than not, I find myself reading your column with tears in my eyes. These I pass on to my husband to read and it’s uncanny how often your writings will reflect a situation that I’m also going through, to the point where he now jokes that it’s me that pens them!
I’m sorry I missed the weekend retreat you organized at Varroville as I would have loved to have met you (we nearly did at the conversation with Michael Leunig but I didn’t know you were there at the time).
Blessings Elaine Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2015 22:41:24 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for writing, Elaine. We will get another chance to meet next September when they’ll be another mothers’ retreat at Mt Carmel.
Three beautiful girls under nine hey? Life can be exquisitely beautiful and simultaneously monotonous and hard can’t it? Maybe next time when I’m out of ideas because nothing of note has happened here this week I should contact you! xx