It’s Hard To Be Humble…Enough

Meditations in Motion

I follow a lot of runners on social media. Runners tend to be a very positive group, avoiding (mostly) the fractious debates, political and otherwise, ubiquitous on these platforms.

A typical exchange between runners on Twitter would go something like this:

Runner 1 -“I ran five miles in the snow this morning.

Runner 2 – “Awesome!

Runner 3 – “Way to go!”

Runner 4 – “You rock!

And so on.

The encouragement is wonderful, but I sometimes wonder if the posts describing my runs are boastful.

I could avoid social media posting to steer clear of bragging but my real-life discussions with runner friends are similar. One surefire way to start a conversation with a runner is to ask him about his next race. Or his last race. Or how his training is going.

For the second time in my life, I selected a word to focus on and ponder this year. My word is “humility“. I need to consider this word. I want to cultivate a more humble spirit. My sense of entitlement sometimes gets out of hand. I need the reminder I am an infinitesimal part of something much bigger than my own puny self.

My goal is to empty myself of my “self“, the self that can lead to selfishness, self-absorption, self-righteousness, and being self-centered. By being empty, we give God’s light room to shine through us.

Jesus knew it; he lived his life with a humble servant’s heart. A humble person longs to be like Christ but also understands humility works in the temporal world too.

A humble, honest person is easy to be around, easy to follow. We need leaders with a healthy dose of humility.

Too often unwarranted pride results in the easy dismissal of the arrogant.

Maybe this quote from William Law says it best: “You can have no greater sign of confirmed pride than when you think you are humble enough.”

 

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Meditations in Motion

 

 

 

 

72 comments

  1. There are 2 words that can work in tandem and cause all kinds of complications – pride and humility. If you give the status of your running schedule, it does not mean you are boasting. I think it depends on the spirit of the comment. Also I’ve known young women who needed to develop pride in themselves – it’s not that they were humble, no they felt unworthy. I am proud of myself but have really little to boast about. Guess I am a contradiction in terms but that is how I feel..

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  2. Humility is certainly lacking these days and arrogance is on the rise – thank goodness we do not possess those qualities Laurie, even though it may seem we talk about ourselves, promote ourselves while writing about ourselves and our accomplishments. I began this blog but didn’t tell anyone but my neighbor for a long time. I hung back, not sharing.

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  3. Laurie, reading honest posts like this make the blogging platform a more valuable place to participate in. You’ve touched on some really delicate nuances that, like Carol pointed out, are so subjective depending on the person’s own self-concept, where they are on their own path, etc. I think your choice of word for the year is already a sign that you do know humility! xo

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    • Thank you, Carolyn. I appreciate your very kind words, but know that I have a way to go in seeking true humility and a servant’s heart. We can always do better.

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  4. I wonder the same thing about my posts, too. I find it difficult to tell about a running accomplishment without coming across as boastful, or even worse, as Janice noted in her comment, as a humble-brag.
    I try to learn by reading how other, more experienced bloggers do it and follow their good example. Like yours! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we runners walk a very fine line. When we describe our running exploits, some people may view it as bragging. Our mindset while writing the posts matters. I need to evaluate my thinking as I write these posts. Thank you!

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  5. I think it’s fine to have a support group of fellow runners who can keep each other motivated by a few “awesome’s” and “you rock’s.” As long as you don’t go around telling people you’re all that and a bag of chips, you deserve some kudos for running. I’ve always admired runners for their determination and stamina and you are no exception.

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  6. Ha! Even our “virtual friends” have bought into this line of response. My kids got me a FitBit for Christmas, and I’m using it to track my exercise, etc. No matter how slowly I run or how short the exercise session, the response is the same! It drives me crazy, and I want to reprogram the thing to say, “REALLY? A 16 minute mile? You’d better go easy on the kibble at lunch time, lady!”

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  7. There’s a fine line between telling us about your experience and bragging. As for me, I don’t think you’ve crossed that. What I mostly see in your posts is a story of training, preparation and success, and I think that’s a wonderful message to share. People might envy your success, but I choose to look at the example you set; that with work and a good attitude, you can accomplish your goals, even if they are pretty far out there. Humility is a great goal, but sharing an important story is also a good goal. Remember that some people are encouraged by your achievements.

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  8. We live in a world where ‘humble bragging” is all around us with all the socials… but there is something about someone who truly has that humble heart.

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  9. I think you are quite humble already.

    I am proud of my accomplishments and hopefully do not come off as boastful.

    You’ve reminded me about about humility. So thanks for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s such a fine line to walk. I used to think I had to downplay accomplishments to seem humble. Then I realized how silly it would sound if I told my dear pastor’s wife how lovely her hymn-playing was and how it moved my heart, and she responded, “Are you kidding? That was awful. Oh, I’m just so terrible.” It wouldn’t be honest, for one thing. But it also wouldn’t be humility. Yet it’s hard sometimes to share an accomplishment without wanting a pat on the back. I don’t think that’s totally wrong…but it’s hard to know. The hard thing about humility is when we think we have it–we don’t any more. I definitely need less of self and more of Christ.

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    • There were a couple of quotes from C. S, Lewis’s Mere Christianity playing in the back of my mind while I was writing, so I had to go look them up. These are from a chapter titled “The Great Sin”:

      “Pleasure in being praised is not Pride. The child who is patted on the back for doing a lesson well, the woman whose beauty is praised by her lover, the saved soul to whom Christ says, ‘Well done,’ are all pleased and ought to be. For here the pleasure lies not in what you are but in the fact that you have pleased someone you wanted (and rightly wanted) to please. The trouble begins when you pass from thinking, ‘I have pleased him; all is well,’ to thinking, ‘What a fine person I must be to have done it.’”

      “Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is a nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who tool a real interest in what you said to him….He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.”

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      • Yes, I was looking at some C.S. Lewis quotes to use in this post. I just couldn’t figure out how to fit them in. I love these. He had such good thoughts on the topic.

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    • Such good thoughts on humility, Barbara. I too am trying to figure out where the line is between self-confidence (or graciousness, in the case of a compliment) and pride. Less of self and more of Christ is a good rule to follow.

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  11. You never seem boastful to me, Laurie. You’re just sharing what’s going on with your runs. It’s on us if we feel envy because of it! ha. I admire you choosing Humility as your word. I chose it one year, and it ended up being a very humbling year! πŸ™‚ I had a really unusual situation come up that still haunts me to this day, BUT it also keeps me more humble too. God always knows what he’s doing. I need to choose the word again sometimes because humility is such a VERY foundational virtue.

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    • I hope I can use the Body Pump incident to help me develop the servant’s heart God wants me to have. Sorry to hear about the unusual incident that still haunts you. Humility is a hard lesson to learn.

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  12. Laurie, love your last quote. It is a hard line between telling something we did and feeling good about it, and bragging. My thought is both may look alike from the outside, but the motivation or heart reason, why you are telling reveals whether you are bragging. My guess is you are not bragging if you are questioning it. But just because you don’t tell how much you run, also doesn’t make you not prideful. We can be a person who never draws attention to who we are or what we do, and still be very prideful. ugg, this is a thorny issue. You figure it out for us and then write a post. πŸ™‚

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    • Yes so true, Theresa. While self-confidence is healthy, I am afraid I wander over the line sometimes from self-confidence to pride or even hubris. I want to hold myself accountable. I don’t know if I will ever totally figure it out! πŸ™‚

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  13. It can be hard to find the balance sometimes – it’s good to celebrate our achievements but not for it to cross the line into boasting. I like the quote that you shared, and I agree – it’s when we think we’ve got it completely sorted that we’re more likely to be falling into pride.

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  14. I like the quote. It made me chuckle because it is so true. I’ve been musing about the idea that talking about your running is boastful. We can’t control how each listener/reader reacts to it, but if you talking about running 5 miles inspires one person to push their own limits, then it has to be good. #wotw

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  15. My husband and I were having a conversation recently, discussing how pride is the root to so many of our weaknesses, missteps…sin. Being humble and working on pride, is definitely an area where I need to continually work at making progress. I don’t like bragging but there’s still many ways that my pride or self-centeredness can show. Thanks for this gentle reminder!

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  16. Laurie,
    As you know from a recent post of mine, I’ve been taking a hard look at pride in my life and trying cultivate a posture of humility. The Bible says that the Lord loves a humble and contrite heart. I have been praying and asking God for this. Just when you think you have pride under control, you look and ooops, my pride is showing once again. Joining with you in this journey.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, so many verses, especially in the New Testament call for us to develop a servant’s heart. I can identify with your “oops!” for sure. So glad to have a friend along with me on this trip! πŸ™‚

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  17. That’s a great quote to finish off with. You certainly never come across as boastful on your blog. I’m not a runner but I follow a few blogs written by people who are and I quite like that they celebrate their achievements. Makes me think I should try and get fitter myself! Humility is a tricky thing to achieve, but I think there are times when we can all be too self-focused and trying to step back from that is a good thing. #WotW

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    • Thank you, Louise. I don’t want to become arrogant from reading all those “Way to go” comments! πŸ™‚ The dividing line between self-confidence and hubris is tricky to pin down at times. That’s the one I want to find.

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  18. I have a lot of runner friends (not that I run), and I can see where that might be a double-edged sword–talking about your time and distance as if it’s competition or at least a brag. Not that I think anything is wrong with sharing what you’ve just accomplished. But I really like your sensitivity to this, Laurie, especially in light of the word and character quality you are striving for this year. I’m also striving for more humility (every year!) too because I know it’s a weakness in my life. Besides, it’s so foundational to living a life that’s like Christ. Thanks for sharing, my friend! I love your vulnerability and challenge!

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    • Yes, too many “Way to go” comments can give me a swelled head. I think intention has a lot to do with whether talking about accomplishments is encouragement or bragging. Thank you for the kind comment!

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  19. I’ve often been accused of being boastful and showing off with my facebook updates, as my life as an expat is so far removed from my family and a lot of my friends. It’s hard to get the balance right but I also feel if people feel this way about me, then I don’t actually care much for what they think anyway. Thanks for linking up with #pocolo and I hope to see you back tomorrow

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