The Gift of Time
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
Psalm 25:8-10 NRSV
-Rev Melissa Fain-
"Where's your humility?" my husband asked me in my late 20's. "You are so ready to take on the world, but what do you really know about the world?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "I'm just ready to do this!" And I was. I was like a yipping dog on a leash, dragging her owner behind her. I was so ready to just get to it! I was ready and willing, Ready to pastor and educate the love of God. "Where's your humility?"
If I were to compare myself to a biblical character during this time, I was completely Peter. Zealous to a haphazard degree. The first to raise my hand. The first to volunteer. The first to push away Job to hold a holier than though approach to life. Jonah running away?! Pshaw! I would have marched in exuberantly announcing God's word to the people! "Melissa, where's your humility?"
Where was my humility? It was on the journey. I've picked it up little pieces at a time. It came with the gift of time. The younger me would have seen it like the shipping and handling charges tacked onto that TV infomercial product that's just too good to be true. Humility cheated good people out of being able to speak up and act. It was because the childhood me knew the moment I opened my mouth was a nerve-raking moment. Even though I was born in the United States, you are not reading a native to the American Culture. I'm more like the feral child found in the woods and I have appropriated the American culture to speak the American language. My broken childhood stunted my social growth. This meant the first spiritual lessons I had to learn was as far from humility as it could be. My first spiritual lessons were in self-confidence. Therefore, when I began to master self-confidence I was all Peter. Try telling someone who hasn't had a cultural voice for a quarter of a decade to shut up when they finally find it.
Now I'm on the edge of middle aged. Where is my humility? I no longer see it like shipping and handling charges. Humility is more like the extra time put into the product. Time has taught me that humility is more than stepping back so someone else can step up. (That would be my late 20's answer.) Humility coats everything you say and do. It understand there will always be someone better than you. It's knowing everything you do speaks from the voices of countless thousands. This is because even the smallest conversation had the ability to influence you. Many of those relationships you don't even realize you had, but they still hold the grain of influence. My humility is in knowing any number of people would be better at my job than me, so I better realize it when I think I could do someone else's job better. My humility is in realizing my situation in life is made better or worse by those around me and sheer luck. Just because I may be able to pick myself up, doesn't give me the right to criticize others who haven't been able to do the same. I do not personally know their situation. That's humility.
It is in that spirit God works. Teaching Job the world is bigger than him. (Oh how I love that Job today.) Helping Jonah speak peace to the oppressor. (How I would never want to fill Jonah's heavy shoes.) In teaching Peter that denial comes to even the most fervent of believers. In our humility, God acts. May we all be vessels of that action.