Friday, February 13, 2009

Fearless Humility

Rachel's post has reminded me that it's been awhile since I've blogged as well. So here's something that's been on my mind recently.

I think it's fair to say that many people either tend to be Confident, yet prideful, or Humble, yet cowering. On the one hand, some of us are naturally more assertive, fearless, speak their mind, and are the "go-getters." But along with that usually comes arrogance, and ultimately self-destruction. Why is that? I think because even if we don't admit it, we begin to base our identity on our own achievement, our own discipline...and that identity is pretty fragile. We must defend it, so we lash out when we feel threatened. And in the end, our own achievements just don't seem to really cover up that nakedness we feel so deeply. So I've worked my butt off and have made something of myself...but why do I still feel so inconsequential?

On the other hand, some of us are gracious, humble, caring...but also very fearful. We genuinely don't like building ourselves up and like to build others up. Yet, often we find ourselves trapped by our fear. Deathly afraid of conflict, or being rejected by others, we cower when we need to take initiative and step out in confidence. Though we love to serve others, our compassion towards others also doesn't cover up our nakedness. In the end, often we realize that we are slaves to people's approval. Our self-image is also fragile, and we also protect it all costs, and thus we never take risks or step on anyone's toes.

How can I live a life that is both fearless yet compassionate? Confident yet humble? I'm far from actually seeing both of these traits really fleshed out in my life. At times, I feel like I'm always defending my own sense of accomplishment. Other times, I just feel like a compassionate coward. And I've discovered there just is no easy formula to help me out of this mess. But yesterday I was reminded again by a simple promise that God keeps repeating through Scripture. He said it to the self-starter Paul who needed some encouragement: "Do not be afraid...for I am with you." (Acts 18:9-10) The doubtful Moses when asked to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, asked God, "Who am I?" God said, "But I will be with you." (Ex. 3:11-12)

I am once again reminded to remember that the story of Bible teaches me that I am indeed inconsequential. Yet God is my Father who came into our history to bring me to life, to give me a new heart. I have nothing to fear, because no one can condemn me. Christ was condemned on my behalf! I have nothing left to prove, because Christ proved it all on the cross on my behalf. Only when I remember this am I able to move past my cowardice to take risks, and stop trying to prove myself, because I know I'm just a vapor, soon to evaporate. But I'm also a child of God, given a life to live, freed to love others because I am loved. The Father who proved his love to us on the cross says to us: Do not be afraid...for I am with you.

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