We’ve been talking about the process of reinvention. In the weeks to come I will continue to present many steps that you and I must be willing to take in order to make headway on our journey to a new and better self. Concurrent with my study and application of the reinvention process has been my study of humble leadership, so, here I intentionally intersect the two topics. Reinvention must include embracing humility as part of the formula. I believe the better self will not happen without becoming a humbler self. In her terrific book, The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 yearsAafter 50, Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot states, “I traded my bravado for a new humility. I admitted I didn’t know everything. I started from the bottom. I worked those new muscles.” I entirely agree because that has been my experience as well. In the following excerpt from my book, The Humility Factor, you will see how my own understanding resonates with Sara’s. I encourage you to seek humility in your reinvention journey as well.
In the book of Isaiah, it states, “The haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (2:17). I cannot think of a better way to describe my personal story. Throughout my life, I have been blessed with talents and abilities to make things happen which made me haughty and prideful. I’ve enjoyed success only to eventually be consumed by my own ego and sense of privileged entitlement. God has been gracious to allow me to rebound and rebuild several times, however, my pattern has been to return to old habits, when I believed that I was the cause of the good things in my life and ministry instead of Him. I guess I am a very slow learner. In the book 7 Tips for Finding Humility, McKeever wrote, “in the ministry, few people are as full of themselves as young pastors who have achieved acclaim early.” That was me, but the author goes on to say, but “no one in ministry ever amounts to anything without being broken at some point.” That is also me: broken, but hopeful that I will remain on my humility journey and “amount” to something.
I am once again reinventing myself; however, this time around from a much more humble point of reference. I still believe that I can contribute, but I will be careful as to how I go about doing so, and especially how I feel about my own efforts and who should get the credit. In light of the seven signs of humility (compassion, sacrificial service, openness, brokenness, self-awareness, forgiveness, & gratitude), I will not be bold and stupid enough to say that I have mastered them all and have arrived at the destination of humble intelligence. However, I do believe I am on the way more than I ever have been.
My humility journey is not over. In fact, it is far from it, as I have so much more to learn and need to continue to grow in so many ways. As I continue on this journey, I will hold onto scripture,
“Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you,” declares the Lord. (2 Chronicles 34:27)
I haven’t actually torn my clothing, but I have shed plenty of tears. It is comforting that I can be assured that God has heard me.
Reinvention lesson for today: Be humble.
Go reinvent yourself and lead well.