I’ve always loved the C.S.Lewis quote, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Ponder that one. It drives my children nuts when I say it outloud. Well, in all honesty, it’s probably because when I say it, I’m upset with them and the quote comes out of my mouth so fast that I say it wrong….“think less of yourself!” They roll their eyes and correct me, but at least they know the quote.
Eye rolls and embarrassment come frequently in our family. The day I pulled up to the Blessed Sacrament carpool line in my brand spanking new 12 passenger van that I had just driven off the lot, my 4 children who were waiting on the curb were mortified. All the other children on the curb were wondering what the airport shuttle was doing at their school. My kids begged me to start parking blocks away and let them walk to the van, and vowed to always hate riding in it. But quickly they realized that people loved the van. They nicknamed it Big Blue some days, and the Mystery Machine on others. Slowly, my children each enjoyed their slice of humble pie as they admitted that the van was kind-of fun.
When I was their age, I was very competitive. My pride was fed by doing things better than others but I secretly envied that kid in my class who beat to their own drum. They were able to acknowledge their strengths but not stress over their weaknesses. For most of us, from a very young age, we are brainwashed into thinking that we should be able to do everything well. Over time, we realize that this simply can not be. I will NEVER have a spotless house like my Mom, God bless my husband. I will never be able to lead people in prayer like my daughter. I will never make Mac n’ Cheese like my sister-n-law. However, I’m not meant to. These are those people’s strengths and they do them well. It's what makes them unique and it doesn’t make me any less. Good gosh, I wish I would have realized this 30 years ago when I cut my bangs to look like my sisters...but more on that later.
There are many things that we might be good at; Gardening? Baking? Organizing? Running? Composting? Dieting...haha. We should all try to acknowledge our strengths and have pride in them. Not the “TAKE THAT, IN YOUR FACE” pride, but the “I’m pretty good at this and it makes me happy” pride. Then, we should try and share our gifts with others. BTW, if you possess that “Organizing” gift, please come over and share it at my house.
I’m not sure if anyone has ever seen the “Southern 10 Commandments”, but it caught my eye the other day. Always in hopes of not needing to go to daily confession, I stopped to read them. I was expecting a dumb saying like Thou Shalt not eat ⅓ Less Fat Cream Cheese, but instead it put the actual Commandments in “Cracker” language. Now you're talking, that’s my people. The ones that stood out the most was #9 - “No swipin’ yer kin folks stuff” and #10 - “Don’t be hankerin’ fer it neither.” Lightning bolt moment! If Sister Gilbert had taught it that way instead of from the Baltimore Catechism, I might not have felt that steel ruler on my hand quite so often.
Bottom line, Take pride in the things that you do well, but don’t try and do everything well. Celebrate the people in your life's strengths and know that their strengths are not your failures. Point out to your husband, your mother, your friends and especially your children what their strengths are and let them know you appreciate them.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?