Life often pulls us in multiple directions. Even when one area, like the physical, slows and limits, I can still feel overwhelmed mentally and socially. Sometimes it’s pressures from within and sometimes from without that create this overwhelm and the need to be on guard and stand firm.
Pressure from without comes from those I interact with regularly as well as from culture with its pull through technology and the constant flow of information. So many options vie for my attention through ideas and people and products. Pressure from within comes from my own vain imaginations, incessant need to compare, and desire to please others in addition to coming from the information I take in through books, conversation, and other sources and then process through reflection.
Where is the path among those many options?
“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore, he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” (Psalm 25:8-9)
God teaches the humble his ways. In other words, humility is the path through the many options that vie for our attention, time, and energy.
God teaches and guides the humble. This happens through regular times spent studying the Bible and talking to God in prayer as well as through life events.
God is using the removal of opportunities and abilities in my life to teach me humility and to guide my focus. Learning to let others help me in my time of need has shown me the beauty of humility and the value of being a part of a Christian community. Also, though I thought simplicity was already my way of life, I now better see that my version of simplicity was built on comparison. This revelation deepens my understanding of the need to humbly – not grudgingly – submit my will to God as I spend time with him.
In this season when opportunities have disappeared and the physical is being reset, I know that the way through is humility. I also am again made aware of my tendency to forget what I learn in moments of struggle.
What, then, is the path forward from these lessons in humility?
“All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.” (Psalm 25:10-11)
Moving forward involves obedience and repentance. I must learn what God wants – I must learn what His way is – and do it, and I must regularly seek forgiveness when I mess up. In this, mind renewal and pleasing God become systems that guide and direct a life of humility.