True humility

This past week, someone challenged me to be more humble. At various points in my career, I've faced similar criticism that labels me as "too confident". I've been thinking and praying about this. I long to show the face of humility to those around me, and it concerns me that others don't see this when they see me. Yet I know that, internally, I struggle greatly with self-esteem. How can this be so and yet so invisible?

I need you to soften my heart 
To break me apart 
I need you to open my eyes 
To see that You're shaping my life 
to cleanse every part of me...

All I am, I surrender
Give me faith to trust what you say 
That you're good and your love is great 
I'm broken inside, I give you my life 

I may be weak 
Your spirit's strong in me 
My flesh may fail 
My God you never will
~Give Me Faith, Elevation Worship~

How can my heart be broken, how can I be shipwrecked on the grace of the cross, and not show it? I know that pride is at the heart of all sin. I do not want to be guilty of it. I don't want pride or arrogance to be what people see in my eyes. I memorized Proverbs 16:18 in the King James Bible as a child: pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

I also memorized Paul's powerful testimony. He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in your weakness". Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (II Corinthians 12:9) How can I possibly hang my head in humility when I am glorying not in my own strength but that of the Christ who saved me from my darkest sins and my most cavernous deficits?

I stand, only in light of His mercy. I fail constantly - to communicate well, to do the right thing, to be busy instead of lazy, to persevere, to count my blessings and also count my suffering as great joy.

He gave me undeniable talents, and has cultivated them into skill and beauty. I have progressed through graduate school on the tightest possible schedule. Music flows from my fingertips, and I can sing a great harmony line. I sew, craft, build. I raise and school children. I started a company. I am hard at work on a series of three scholarly articles for my dissertation. I write here almost daily, pouring my soul out for the community of online readers. I take luminous photographs. I paint, draw, engrave. I care for pets with love. I survive - cancer, abuse, heart problems, hair loss, fatigue, depression, PTSD, suicidal impulses.

All this I praise God for. Looking back over the entirety of my life, I know none would be possible without His great mercy. I would be a bitter, hollow shell of a person by now. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses! He has used every hard knock and every soft landing to mold and shape me, to bring me to my knees, and lift my hands in awestruck praise of Him.

When you see me, you see the confidence of a soul set free to create, perform, and to pursue Christ in every walk of life. You don't see the me, naked without Christ...the me without grace. Because that "me" no longer exists. I have been pardoned, bought, and elevated on the eagle wings of the Savior! I will never stop soaring on the wind of His love!

True humility is this: never seeing yourself without the covering of the Cross. True confidence is this: I do not depend any longer on the dead human self or body. I depend wholly and gratefully on the absolute propitiation, the key that loosed all my chains, the provider who daily sanctifies me and tests my faith, chases after the last dark corners of my heart and loves my whole being.

I am desperate for Your touch 
a glimpse of heaven for the glory of Your Son. 
In a moment You can turn a life around 
forever to be found in You. 
I am reaching out to find 
theres nothing greater than Your love that holds my life. 
Your grace and mercy that have saved me by Your blood, 
and swept away my shame, o Lord. 

Your love is like fire that burns for all to see. 
My only desire to worship at Your feet. 
So let this fire consume my life. 
Let Your love take me deeper 
pull me closer to where You are, 
'cause all I want is more of You. 

I'm surrendered to Your love 
forever humbled by the message of the cross. 
I stand abandoned in Your presence and Your embrace, 
and I'll never be the same Oh God. 

When You call I will follow. 
At the cross I surrender all, 
Jesus, I belong to You.
~Love Like Fire, Hillsong United~