"If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty." Matthew 23:12 (The Message)Several years ago, during a rather difficult time in my life, I shared my thoughts and frustrations with a friend who cared enough to listen. I communicated to him my concern with the fact that others were attempting to make me fit into a mold for which my shape would not fit. Think square peg, round hole. Andy looked at me and said, "Mark, just be yourself." I'm sure my friend said more and that the other words were helpful; however, those brief four words set in motion my journey of self-discovery and healing.
A few days ago, as I read through Matthew 23, the memory of that conversation with Andy boarded my train of thoughts. I am thankful for those years-old words that remain accessible when their recall proves helpful. Do you relate?
A key part of Living the Ordinary is the courage to be yourself, to be "content to simply be yourself."
The translators of the NIV Bible phrase verse 12 as . . . "For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
Do "humble themselves" and "simply be yourself" communicate the same message? It seems to me that they do. They do when the true meaning of humbling oneself wins out over the all-too-common misconception. For many, the act of humbling equates to groveling in a sheepish manner or a faked mental lessening of self -- a pretending to be less.
Webster's does well in defining the word humble - "having or showing a consciousness of one's shortcomings."
(Go to gocomics.com/pickles and locate Brian Crane's 3/30/16 Pickles strip for a rather funny commentary on the "you can do anything" mantra.")
Ordinary people have shortcomings and recognize that due to some of them, the achieving in all areas of life is an impossibility. At the same time, we recognize that achieving in many areas is not only possible but also worthy of pursuit. Humility allows for concentrated effort on achievable goals. Humility leaves the other goals to those equipped to reach them and congratulates those who do.
Humble yourself and "your life will county for plenty."