Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pushing Thirty: Happy to be Humbled, Part 1

If you'll allow me, I'd like to temporarily hijack my dear husband's blog to spew a few of my own reflections on a topic often on my mind of late: turning 30.  With questions from my 5-year-old son like "Mom, are you a grandma yet?", I can't help but be often reminded of the fact that I am getting older. (Yes, he actually asked me that yesterday.)  And there is nothing like the thirtieth birthday to make a gal take stock of her life, asking questions such as "What does it mean to get older?" and "Is my life even heading in the right direction?"

I think I'll take some of my musings in small chunks, so this will be the first in a series of posts.  And the theme as I have watched it unfold seems to be that this has been a humbling year for me.  At this particular time and place in history, it seems that we don't really care to be humbled.  It is, in one sense, humiliating.  It reveals weakness and places us at the mercy of others.  And its opposite, pride, though classically thought of as a sin, is revered.  Phrases like "You should feel very proud of yourself" and "Stand tall, be proud" are common elements of pep talks on ball fields, in living rooms, and in classrooms.  I'm pushing 30, and I have had a humbling year.  I can say with all sincerity that I believe this to be a good thing, and in fact, maybe to be the best thing.

How can that be, you ask?  I think aging as I currently understand it has a lot to do with the loss of things formerly valued and with the increasing recognition of personal limits and inadequacies.  This either leads to humility or depression (or denial, in those strange cases of individuals who act like 20 at age 60...no, the midriff-baring shirt is not appropriate, grandma). I'll take humility over depression and denial any day, thanks.  Humility has a way of putting me in a place of dependence on God which leads to worship.  The way I picture it is that, as we age, we are gradually humbled before God. (He already knows our limits and our weakness, but we acknowledge them increasingly as we age.)  Little by little, we bow, then we kneel, then we lay - faces to the ground - before the strength and power of the great God of the universe.  And there we are, unencumbered by the illusion of our own competence, power, self-sufficiency, and we are able to worship Him.  We've finally forgotten ourselves.

This is the best place to be, because God is completely trustworthy and all my hopes and desires will certainly be satisfied in Him.  Not in myself.  And so I find myself happy to be humbled.  More snapshots of my humbling year to come...

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