I made the huge mistake of praying for humility several years ago. In my defense, I only prayed it because I didn’t want to be humbled in 20 years by my children turning out terribly. So I decided that rather than having my boys pay for my pride by failing in life just so God could teach me a lesson, I should just pray to lose my pride right now. Makes sense, right? I’m nothing if not selfish and practical.
It is true that if you pray for patience, God will give you plenty of frustrating opportunities in which to practice being patient. It’s also true that if you pray for humility, God will give you plenty of things to be humiliated about. Maybe humiliated is too strong a word, although it sometimes fits. Most of the time the development of humility just looks like me dropping the ball in a thousand different ways or me not being able to do something that I had always assumed that I would definitely do, and fabulously.
Case study #1: breastfeeding. Why any woman wouldn’t breastfeed is beyond me. Don’t they care about their children’s health? Are they really that lazy? They’re just not trying hard enough! Ahem. Prideful Pre-Parenting thoughts indeed. Fastforward to my first baby. You guessed it, no milk. The lactation consultant, the strange contraptions hanging over my shoulder and poking Jake and I while I nursed to feed him formula while supposedly stimulating my milk supply, the goat’s rue extract and other tinctures, the mother’s milk tea, the pumping for 15 minutes after every feeding still not producing enough milk to cover the bottom of a bottle, the medication ordered from New Zealand which doubled my production (to less than half an ounce) and gave me severe headaches. Yeah. Pride goes before the fall. Both of my boys were fed formula almost from birth.
Case study #2: homeschooling. Those homeschoolers are nuts. They want to shelter their kids from the real world in their little Christian bubble, and who knows what will happen to them when they get out in the real world. Yet again, who knew I would become one of them when my thoughts were thus! And yet, I loved homeschooling. I wish one of my kids would beg me to do it again. I wish I could do every year what we did last year and have all the rich experiences we had together. Browse through my homeschooling category at the right to read more about our homeschooling journey. Needless to say, my thoughts about homeschoolers aren’t quite what they used to be.
Case study #3: volunteering. Some people are so selfish. They leave all the volunteering to those of us who are willing to step up and work. Why is it that all the work always falls on the small minority of people at our church/school/neighborhood. Why don’t these people give a little of their time to share the load? Why do they always sign up to bring a tub of frosting while people like me are making home baked cookies? Hmmmm….let’s get to the present day. I signed up for blueberries for Tyler’s Patriotic Day. I waited long enough for their Easter celebration that I didn’t even have to sign up for anything at all! I’ve stopped volunteering in Sunday School at church and I’m done with leading Cub Scouts at the end of the year. I’ve pretty much pared down my outside commitments to the very bare minimum, just trying to get by. I’ve learned that each family carries their own invisible burdens. Why they choose to spend their time the way they do is their business. Who am I to judge where God has called them to serve? You never know what’s going on under the surface.
Case study #4: dependability. I hate people who are unreliable. How can you drop the ball when you’re supposed to meet someone/bring something/be somewhere? Why do you back out of things you committed to? Sigh. Yet again I have been humbled. I can’t count the number of times I have majorly dropped the ball since we started fostering. I wonder sometimes whether I’ve taken on too much if I can’t keep up with everything in my life, but at the same time, we know we were called to this ministry at this time. Perhaps it just means that God wanted to hit home the lesson on humility by teaching me to be sympathetic to others who drop the ball, too. I’m learning compassion. Imagine that.
I write all this to say, I have done it again. Today I am mailing three quilt blocks out to the members of my quilting bee, whom I sew a block for each month (in theory). One block was due in January. January! Did you know that it’s May? The thought crossed my mind today. Hello, humility. You’re not an easy pill to swallow.