"Be Humble, Sit Down:" Lessons in Humility
Way before Kendrick Lamar, my Mama was saying “be humble, sit down.”
For so many people connected to me, this has been a season of growth. Folks are moving into new homes, jobs, relationships, and life chapters. I had a mentor who used to say, “When God is blessing your neighbor, that means he’s in the neighborhood.” With that, Spirit too has been doing big things in my life. What’s more, Spirit has also been doing big things to keep me humble.
I feel like Spirit keeps me in check—like a self-cleaning oven. When I start to get too grimy, life has a way of shutting me up and doing some scrubbing from the inside. My mother would always tell my brothers and me to “not get the big head”—a Black proverb of humility. As a teen, I remember slathering on Sportin’ Waves, brushing my hair incessantly, and sleeping in a stocking cap. Lining my hair every week, smoothing my side burns every 7 minutes, a full-on production-- all in an effort to convert (and maintain) my coils into waves. And of course, to hear “Ooh, I like your hair,” made it all worth it.
One day my mother got sight of my antics (along with my reaction to the compliments) and she reminded me “if you don’t keep yourself humble, God will.” At fourteen or so, I didn’t quite understand, but fast forward twenty years, I see ain’t nothing like living life to teach you lessons. In the past few months, there have been many opportunities and bragworthy occurrences in my life. And human nature pushes me to want to gloat or stand back and be admired and fawned over. Yet whenever I feel like I’m puffing up too much, life comes along and reminds me, “No sir. Sit down.” Could be flat tire, a very vocal dissenter, or just good ol' fashion conviction, but either way, a reminder of humility is the result.
I believe your measure of faith is in correlation to your measure of humility. And when considering the adage “to whom much is given, much is required,” I would say that to whom much gifting is given, much humility is required. And different measures equal different expectations and different outcomes. Basically, some of can’t do what everybody else does. We have been given a certain measure and more is expected of us.
This digital age can easily keep a person in the space of wanting to be seen, clicked, liked and shared—almost to the point of missing the experience or losing yourself. How many of us have tried to recreate an experience to capture it for social media? How many of us have posted a proud accomplishment to social media and have felt some kind of way when you didn’t get the likes you thought you should? Or even more, how often have likes become directly tied to our sense of self?
It can be easy to look at the other ones, but my challenge to everyone is look at yourself.
I believe God is giving me continued reminders to stay humble and to do right with this little bit, so I can get what’s next. I know I’m not alone in that lesson.
What have been your lessons in humility? How do you keep yourself humble? How has life reminded you to "be humble, sit down?"