About Me

Subscribe now!Feeds RSS

Friends

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Humility Facade

3 comments

This morning I read the words of a leader, mentor, and friend. Ron Carucci writes,

The temptation of false humility: We’ve grown up in an era where the acquisition of capability is faster than ever. Our world has acquired more knowledge in the last ten years than in the previous two thousand. Such staggering accumulation means that we are more capable than ever before. But somehow we have gotten the notion that enjoying this capability is wrong, and so we have learned to diminish our creative efficacy because we are nervous about being too ego-centric. We dismiss compliments directed our way. We deflect acknowledgements away in order to look humble while we secretly long to believe their truth and to hope the sender believes it too. To compensate for the gulf in our souls created by the repelling of others’ praise, we are forced to construct elaborate fishing expeditions that bait and lure into our nets the very same admiration and delight that we have turned away.

The Other Journal :: Leading to Green: When Envy and Leadership Join Forces by Ron Carucci

I am not sure where to start.

When he says, “But somehow we have gotten the notion that enjoying this capability is wrong, and so we have learned to diminish our creative efficacy because we are nervous about being too ego-centric.” I cannot help but feel uncomfortable as I read this. To talk about our capabilities is ego-centric, is it not? I have always been taught that in order to be like Christ I am to deflect praise and remain humble. If others enjoy me, its because God did something through me. However, if others did not enjoy me, it was my fault. This conservative Christian message that has been hammered like a rusty nail into my head says that I am not to be enjoyed. That what God has made is bad. And that only when he decides to show up, will I be enjoyed. I, as I am, cannot be enjoyed.

Rather than naming this pattern “false humility” as Ron has, I will refer to it as the humility façade. It is as if I have constructed a wall that I want others to see. A wall that looks like humility but is hiding, like a double sided mirror, a fatigued self-esteem and the need for admiration. As Ron has written, “To compensate for the gulf in our souls created by the repelling of others’ praise, we are forced to construct elaborate fishing expeditions that bait and lure into our nets the very same admiration and delight that we have turned away.” These elaborate fishing trips take many forms.

We fish for admiration as we purchase a new wardrobe. We fish for adoration as we create music for the applause of others. We fish for the feeling of power and control as we surf into the waves of pornography. We fish for attention as we support causes or take theological positions that we think will impress others. We fish for approval as we abandon our own convictions for the behaviors of others.

For me, the temptation of the humility façade leads to a fishing expedition that ends without a catch. Or perhaps better stated, it ends in ship wreck. Exhaustion. Humiliation. Loneliness.

I believe, as Ron states, this façade crumbles in the face of gratitude.

Could the answer be that simple? Could it be that I must learn to take compliments. Learn to be enjoyed. Learn to accept applause and praise. Learn to expose who I am at the risk that it is God who has made me this way. That God is living in me, his created image bearer, and that I can be enjoyed without believing that I am somehow getting in the way of his image.

I am struck yet again by the idea that it takes more humility to receive love than to give it. When we receive love we often feel guilty. If guilty is too strong a word, perhaps uncomfortable is better. We think, how could someone love me knowing that I ________? How could someone know the deepest, darkest, eeriest parts of my soul and still meet me with a kiss?

It is this journey that I continue this trimester at MHGS. Learning not only how to love, but perhaps more importantly for me, how to be loved.

Comments
3 comments
Do you have any suggestions? Add your comment. Please don't spam!
Subscribe to my feed
Jerry Thatcher said...

These are good thoughts... Have you ever read The Way of the Wild Heart by John Eldredge? I am reading it now and have read some of his other books. I've found that he provides excellent points and thoughts that challenge some of the conservative Christian thought that you speak of, but he specifically deals with them in light of being and/or learning to become a man. The specific type of thing you speak about in this essay he addresses in the first few chapters of this book. Not that you don't have plenty to read now, but if you have time or an interest, you may want to check it out...

In response to a previous entry of yours, Portland isn't as bad as you hypothesized with your "judge the city by the airport" entry. I made my first trip there in September and found it to be quite nice (although I will admit the airport can be a little bazaar - for example, no gas stations... I recommend filling up the rental car early since there aren't any gas stations within 10 minutes of the airport).

Hope all is well with you guys...

Taryn S said...

I enjoy you every day of my life! You take care of me, motivate me to take care of myself, are smart, funny, thoughtful, and kind. Every one of my moments is better with you in it.

And I will always meet you with a kiss.

Jordan Lane Shappell said...

it seems as though acceptance is the gray area between Ego and Humble.

for me, its difficult to understand that God is within me daily. That the high points of my being, my talent, my work are God and me. I mean, God made me, He's there, but so am I, right? Am I taking power from Him? Am I taking undeserved credit by accepting a compliment or a hug? is there a way to accept flattery and remain humble and point towards God and embrace my own power and live in all the betweens?

Its a delicate area of feeling God's power and my beauty. It comes from Him; it has been instilled in me. If anything I am accepting His gift by accepting love, right? God entrusts me with parts of his beauty/love/creativity. what will i do with it?

So, may God guide me and watch me as I play with the strengths He ordained.

my brain and heart hurt with these things. it seems too hard to live in these areas. how do we do it, brudder?

Post a Comment