Our world is growing increasingly more bold, almost daily.
Gunmen walking into movie theaters and schools and just about anywhere. Aiming. Or not. Killing. Maiming. Scarring for life. With little cause for pause.
Terrorists preying on fear and false senses of security. Getting their agendas right too loudly and too effectively. Brash. Ruthless. On a mission, but the wrong one.
Words spoken from bully pulpits and campaign trails and everywhere. Speaking unspeakable things. Thoughts that should be checked. Words better left unsaid. Never considering or caring an iota about who might hear or retain the wrong messages and act upon them.
Rational and irrational people doing rational and irrational things. Boldly. With too much bravado.
Fronting their weaknesses with violence and noise and pride, to mask the true vulnerability that hides within.
But what would be wrong with being exposed and humbled?
With living life as it truly is.
Raw to the core.
Painful and joyful and everything in between.
With recognition and acceptance that being real about our strengths and our weaknesses allows others to be just as real. Just as honest. Just as gentled. Just as strong.
And this is what our children and our communities need to see from us.
It is okay to fail. It is okay to need to pick up the pieces and try again. It is okay to succeed too.
And it is more okay to realize and appreciate that more often than not, it is okay to be brought to our own nothing.
Because it is then that Christ can be our everything.
And when we are humbled to nothing, and Jesus fills our everything, then we are strong. And not in our own strength. But in God’s strength.
And that is even more important for our children to see and to learn and to grow within themselves as they grow into adults and leaders…
Let’s grow up leaders of humility. Sometimes when we think of someone who shows humility, we might think of someone who shrinks into the shadows in timidness, who lacks confidence enough to be bold, who longs to be a wallflower at the school dance instead of on the dance floor because it just might not go well.
But what if, instead of using the words that the thesaurus places beside humility – words like submissiveness, bashfulness, resignation, subservience, mortification – what if we redefined it all? What if we stole synonyms from humble too – words like sheepish, backward, tentative, and withdrawn?
What if humility grew from strength? What if we lived out humble strength daily?
Philippians 2:5-8 tells us exactly what humble leaders look like, whose example of humility we have been given and how to live life with humble strength.
“ In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Jesus Christ made himself nothing. Nothing. He took on the nature of a servant. He became obedient to whatever God asked of Him, even death on a cross.
And if Jesus made Himself nothing for us, who are we to be more than He?
While we are probably not being asked by God to die on a cross, we are asked to take up our crosses, our burdens, with servant hearts and strength from humble character.
Strength of character that didn’t need to parade about with an air of bravado or without a mask of arrogance, but strength that chose instead to build up self after others, through love and gentleness and compassion.
Strength of character that moves with poise and a calm, steady presence that exudes quiet confidence and respectful behavior, not to be confused with subservience.
Strength of character that couldn’t be shaken when the walls of pride crash down, and only pillars of faith formed from refining fires so humble places remain.
Strength of character that radiates God-filled and thanks-full life into the lives of everyone else, not because of a chip on a shoulder, but because of a humble understanding that God’s use of his or her life is greater than being used by anyone else.
Because leading with humility is truly leading with boldness and confidence, even when it means not shouting our own accomplishments out loud, but to proclaim God’s glory first.
Leading quietly and gently allows the voice of God to fill your words and thoughts, to speak louder than you.
Leading humbly is a living testimony of God’s might and glory, not one’s own.
Humility is more a state of being than just a state of mind.
It is being humbled to be filled and used by God alone, in every thought, word and deed.
Did you miss yesterday’s post about growing future leaders: raising up honesty? Click here.