I have an ugly pimple that I’ve been trying to cover up. I’ve known about it for a long time, but it hasn’t been that visible. You could see it if you were standing close to me. You know the kind that stays under the surface? They cause a little redness and they are painful, but there is no head to it. Well, now the impurity is coming up to the surface and I’ve been trying to dab foundation on it to keep it hidden from others.
The only problem is that I don’t like the feel of foundation; I never have. Firstly, it doesn’t feel nice; it makes the skin feel grimy. And secondly, when I’m wearing make-up and I look in the mirror, I don’t look like myself, which makes me feel like a fake. I want to be able to look into the mirror and see what I really look like.
Disclaimer: Now, I’m not trying to say that it’s bad to wear make-up! There are times that I love dressing up and, of course, make-up goes with this. I’m just saying I don’t like the feel of it on my skin, or when it’s too heavy and I don’t look myself anymore.
Real make-up aside for a moment, let’s consider the meaning behind the analogy. In this story, the pimple is called fear of man, and the foundation is called false humility.
My current question is: How does one birth true humility?
I wish there was an anti-acne cream that I could use to treat my false humility. For many years, I fell under fear when I prayed “God, humble me”, because I thought that He would embarrass me somehow and that would make me humble. More recently, my tactic has been to talk down what I believe to be my achievements, or keep quiet about things that I am passionate about; false humility.
Recently, someone challenged me on my false humility and I am very thankful that they did! I’m coming to see that it doesn’t bring glory to God, it slows down the work that He has set for me, and it even fuels my pride! It’s a source of fuel because it tells me that I should be proud.
And as I’ve spent time reflecting on what causes me to put forward a cover of humility, I’ve realised that it isn’t pride that is the real issue in my life (as I thought was the case) so much as fear of other’s opinions has crept in again.
I think it’s great to get excited about what we are doing and to be a person of passion. I also think it’s fantastic when we can celebrate our successes; quietly, with others and/or with God. This is something that we should do more of; testify to the successes of life!
But I fear that people will judge me if I talk too much, or too passionately, about my vision, dreams, or the small successes that come along. Australians are well versed in “Tall Poppy Syndrome” (cutting down those who rise above us). However, I’ve never really seen much of this. I tend to assume that this will be the response, when, in fact, most times people want to celebrate with you and join in with your excitement and vision.
The pride comes in when I think too much of what I’m doing over what others are doing. But that’s not the real issue because I do enjoy celebrating what others are achieving and value their work.
So, I’m not setting an application point for you this time; I’m setting one for myself. And my application point on this subject is to start talking: to start sharing the successes, to start proclaiming my vision for transformation in the eastern DRC, to start speaking out my optimism, and not to fear allowing others to see the heights to which I am aiming.
And my prayer? My prayer this week is that, by doing so, I will give others the courage to do the same. I hope that the Tall Poppy Syndrome will cease to be an assumption (whether true or false) and that we will water each other, helping those around us to grow in their dreams and testify to their achievements.