I’m going to take a break again from the Trinity series to write about something based on recent events in my life.
I received a pleasant surprised Friday night as a friend who I respect very much in apologetics wrote to me to tell me he was sending me a book. It’s always encouraging to have someone who you see as a hero write to you to let you know that they’re thinking of you and better yet, to send you a gift like that.
This gets me to thinking about being in my position and the question I got asked last night at the house of some friends with their parents. Their parents always enjoy talking to me and at one point in the discussion asked, “How do you stay humble?”
This is something I really wrestle with. I try to not be egotistical and most people would probably tell you I’m not, but there are times I see that inside of myself. Of course, I also realize part of this could be a super-sensitive conscience that makes too much out of things that I shouldn’t. For those who want more of the back story on me, it can be found in a blog I did here:
I also want to be sure I’m not confusing this with ambition. I think ambition is important. We don’t want to be mediocre for God. When I’m at an apologetics conference and see my heroes speaking on a topic, it gives me something to shoot for. When I see people around me writing books, it gives me the dream of one day having my own book (Which is being written now) being on the shelves someday. I look forward to having a reputation someday and doing the debates.
I will also say plainly I like compliments. However, it would be odd to meet someone who didn’t. I share those compliments with the people I trust. I will call my family and tell them what is said and tell my roommate and tell other people in my life who I trust and who I’m sure can keep me humble.
I remember being in Florida with an apologist friend of mine at his old church. He would introduce me to people and every time, he would give a huge compliment about me. I at one point told him he’d better stop or I’ll get a big head. He smiled and laughed and said it wasn’t going to happen because I know who I am.
I didn’t understand him then, but I think I do now. My friend knew that with my personality, I’d try to give myself an honest appraisal. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to praise myself and say good things about myself for fear that I will be boasting, but I think stark honesty is needed. If I truly am good at something, I need to be able to say it. What good does it do to deny truth?
I live in a world where it seems people are always saying good things about me and I’m some sort of hero in the field that I’m in. When I look at myself many times, I don’t see it. That’s often dependent on my mood. If I’m in a down mood, I certainly won’t, but sometimes what lifts me up is that unexpected kind word from someone that makes me think “maybe they’re right” and I get a glimmer of hope. I do have strong perfectionistic tendencies as I think many in this field do.
Yet in all of this, I haven’t really answered the question. Is there something else that keeps me humble?
And I do hope I’m humble.
And there is something that does it. There are nights I’ll be alone in my room at night and see all the books that I have. I have five bookshelves full, and it’s not enough. Books are on the floor now. I have a few more out here in our living room. I also have numerous video game systems in our living room. I come from a small town and was an outcast who most people were ready to cast aside and was told to not go into this field of ministry because I couldn’t handle it.
And yet I look at all the stuff I have. I live in a great town. I live with my best friend. I have a good job now. I have been given a mind. I have several other friends here. That doesn’t mean all is perfect. I still seek a loving lady and I still seek to get past some of my own phobias and fears in my life. I pray for my parents also as they can’t really help me financially and I ask others to pray for them. My Dad makes just $7 an hour.
But I look at all those blessings in my life and I think “Who am I Lord that you should bless me in this way?”
I realize it all comes from him.
That keeps me humble.
He has blessed me more than I deserve and I pray it is something I remember more often.