Humble Yourself With Confidence
The phrase almost sounds like a contradiction: Humble yourself with confidence. How could you be confident and humble at the same time? The world would tell you that you can’t have both as it pits them in competition with one another.
However, there is a special blend of confidence and humility that is required to obtain the richness we desire.
Our society, our culture, has little room for humility. In a world where everyone is out to make their name and stake their claim, pride in oneself is not only commonplace, it appears necessary. Boxing great Muhammad Ali summed up this mindset when he said, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”
When we look at popular culture around us, we see the opposite running wild. Athletes, celebrities, political figures all display blatant overconfidence. In fact, it has become the staple for creating our own personal kingdoms. The more overconfident and outlandish, the more destined we are for success. However, that type of success, popularized as the common definition of rich, is fleeting. That line of thinking has a shelf life, and then it spoils. We’ve all seen worlds come crashing down in a painful display of reality. Fly-by-night reality stars, one-hit wonders, and lottery winners bring life to rocker Jon Bon Jovi’s lyrics: I’m going down in a blaze of glory.
The great basketball and life coach, John Wooden, said, “Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
We must learn how to walk the line between confidence and humility as it will teach us how to respond today and give us hope in tomorrow. Humility has a way of finding you.
The Ocean Speaks
Have you ever slept within earshot of the ocean? As you lie there, you become enveloped in the indescribable sound. At the very same time, the great water mass boasts both a low roar and a gentle whisper, as if pointing to something greater than itself.
Living at the coast, I’ve seen the ocean’s ferocity during a storm that’s unmistakably beyond comprehension. I’ve also seen the ocean calmly invite me to rest on its shores. The same ocean that holds the power seen in the Perfect Storm is the same ocean that advertisers use to lure you to the Caribbean. Like humility and confidence, seemingly opposite, they come from the same source.
As each wave comes crashing down, the ocean echoes something. Whether it be the vast ocean that lies beyond the shore or the hand of the Maker that sets it into being, the ocean resonates humility with confidence.
The gentle rumble of the ocean speaks of richness.
When you seek to live richly, carry confidence in something greater than yourself. It gives you hope that you are part of something bigger. You carry great power because you were created to matter. Henry David Thoreau said, “Men were born to succeed, not fail.” Don’t believe so? Just look at how many lives will impact your day today. Look at how many people will cross your path and enable you to carry out your life. Think about the many who have gone before you and their impact. Ralph Waldo Emerson mirrored this idea when he said, “You were born to victory.”
However, when you fail, when you hurt, when tragedy befalls, you understand that there is a greater purpose than what is within sight. As the ocean exudes great power, remember, it is contained by its Maker. Somewhere within, I began to see this truth as well.
My pastor and friend has encouraged me with a prayer I cling to every day.
God, humble me by your presence, so that I don’t have to be humbled by my circumstances.
The weight of that statement rests heavily upon my heart. The truth is, humility will come. As I said, humility has a way of finding you. My encouragement to you is that you find it first. We must acknowledge our calling to humility to avoid being humbled. Find confidence in that you have a chance today to impact someone around you. You have the unique opportunity to make a difference. The question becomes, what kind of difference will that be? Be humbled by that opportunity.
When is the last time you enjoyed the beauty of a sunrise?
The tranquility of a sunset?
The gentle power of the ocean?
The world around you exudes a greatness that is well beyond your control. It has always interested me that man has sought to explain the unexplainable rather than simply being humbled in its presence. I am certainly for progress and understand questions are essential. However, sometimes, when faced with something that blows us away, we should just rest humbly in the moment. I don’t think it is possible for man to experience these moments without feeling a sense of humility. Without questioning that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Watching the sun rise and set radiates a beauty that sings a song to my soul. I can’t help but be humbled as I see the horizon illuminate with the rising sun or gasp as turns the early evening clouds colors I couldn’t describe in my dreams.
To me, the sunrise gives me hope that another day is here. It reminds me that my story is not over; I have chapters left to write. It gives me confidence that I’m here to continue. For many years, I overlooked this simple blessing. It wasn’t until I changed my perspective that I received the confidence I now write about. The trouble is, we fail to recognize; we fail to see. We get so busy with life’s demands, we forget why we’re even doing them in the first place. In this regard, we must intentionally create moments in our lives that allow us to humbly appreciate the glory of something greater than ourselves.
I recently traveled to Lake Tahoe. Split between the states of Nevada and California, it is the deepest freshwater lake in the US. The mountains seem to rise from the earth as towers of white-capped brilliance and at their base lies the crystal clear water of the lake. You can’t help but be drawn to its pristine beauty.
One day, we went kayaking out on the lake. Starting from shore, we made our way out into the deep, translucent water. As we did, the hum of the passing cars began to fade and the world around us became incredibly still. It was a silence that was full of sound. As I sat there on top of the water, looking at the mountain surround, I was humbled by how small I was. Nothing but a speck sitting in this vast wilderness. At the same time, there I was, out in the middle of the lake, confidently taking in my surroundings. My efforts to paddle into the setting put me in the middle of the story. I was part of the picture.
The truth is, you are a part of the story too. You are a part of that glory.
If you weren’t, then why are you here?
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