Book of the Month: Humble Roots

Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson. I know for most of you I have never heard of this lady before, she’s not one of those big famous Christian names and from what I can tell I think she’s happy with that. But her writing is most definitely up to par with those more ‘famous’ Christian authors. Through storytelling and analogies, she takes you through the many facets of Humility and shows you really just how lacking in humility that you are. Her humble non-assuming writing feels more like a friend admonishing you to live godly than a dictator condemning you. And so throughout this book, I found I was learning something new on almost every page.  And as I worked through this book in my book study I think we both realized just how much we have to grow.

So let’s talk about humility, but first, let’s start with the right definition.

“Humility frees us to flourish as the human beings we were made to be: to celebrate the goodness of our physical bodies, to embrace the complexity of our emotions, and to own our unique gifts without the guilt of feeling like an imposter.” I wrote next to that quote ‘humility in your blog is key,’ because it’s easy to think more highly of ourselves, especially when I think about you all reading this it makes me incredibly happy.  But I have to keep in mind that all I am doing is glorifying and bringing Him praise because that’s all I can do in the first place.

In the first chapter, she goes through the anxiety problem that many Christians are facing today. With social media and mommy blogs, it’s so easy to get caught up in a sea of comparison and guilt. And so she tells us what this really is, instead of looking upward towards God we are looking around us and trying to mimic those around us. And so “when little things spiral out of control, they remind us that even they were never within our control in the first place…and suddenly you come face to face with your limitations. Suddenly you realize how little you control your life.” And I know for a majority of the world that leads to depression and massive amounts of anxiety, because we have never, even for a second, controlled anything.

So what do we do? We trust the God who has controlled everything since the literal beginning on time, and thankfully when we are His children He will care for us.

“Pride convinces us that we are stronger and more capable than we actually are. Pride convinces us that we must do and be more than we are able.”

“The problem is our obsession with ourselves. With our need to fix things, our need to make ourselves better, our need to be approved by God and others, our need to ‘count for something.”

“Humility is understanding that without God we are nothing.”

“We run ourselves ragged trying to keep up with the Jonesses to prove to ourselves that we are as important as we think we are. We see friends achieving success, maybe even in ministry, and rather than rejoicing with them, we somehow feel smaller. So we privately tally our spiritual ‘successes,’ reassuring ourselves that we’re just as necessary as they are. Or perhaps one morning you’re scrolling through your social media feed, when you see her–the woman you secretly compare yourself with–and she’s just posted pictures of her latest family trip (to a place you could never afford.) There she sits, effortlessly beautiful even with vacation hair, her arms wrapped around her spunky, albeit well-behaved, children, her adoring husband standing next to her, smiling. And suddenly the rest of the day is ruined for you.”

I also love how she talks about the dreams we all have in our hearts in light of humility. Because with a God-given dream and with a heart of humility we can really strive forward with that goal. Because as she puts it, “It is precisely the process of pursuing our desires and waiting for Him to either establish or alter our plans that humbles us. It is precisely the process of pursuing desire that brings us rest.” I wrote a lot about our desires and passions in this post here. Humility is really the stepping in stone in getting to the place where God wants us to be. Without humility, we would be stuck in the constant struggle of self-doubt and comparison. We no longer can be truly useful to God when we are serving Him with prideful motives. Because when we serve with pride we are forgetting who we are and who God is. Instead of serving God we, in turn, are serving ourselves.

And with humility guiding our every step we can be at peace when things are turned upside down. I’ve recently been reading the book “It’s Not Supposed to be This Way” by Lysa Terkeurst and throughout the book, in the darkest time of her life, she remembers who her God is. (quote from the book.) And really when you have a right view of who God is and who you are isn’t that true humility? When we see our God for the mighty, loving savior that He is. And we see ourselves as He sees us, isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Because when we get to that moment, when we can really look at the world from this perspective, things really begin to change. No longer do we feel the need to hold onto everything spinning around us. No longer are we slaves to a perfectionistic attitude. There is no more competing against others, there is only compassion and encouragement.

And so when we see ourselves as we truly are there is really only one thing left to do. Worship.

“…through this worship, through recognizing His rightful place, that we are finally humbled. When we are consumed with God’s glory, we forget to worry about our own. When our eyes are fixed on Him as the source of all goodness and truth and beauty, we accept that we are not. When we are enamored by His worth and majesty, we can stop being so enamored with ourselves. And fascinatingly, when we seek God’s glory, we’ll be able to appreiciate it in the people around us. Instead of seeing them as threats to our own glory, we will see them as beautiful reflections of His. And suddenly the world is wide enough. Suddenly ‘this world surely is wide enough to hold both thee and me.’ Instead of comparing ourselves, we can have compassion on each other. Instead of controlling each other, we can cultivate each other.”

And unfortunately, in this life, we will never accomplish true humility. There will always be the monster of pride that pops up unexpectedly, but when it does let us all run to the scriptures and remind ourselves of who we really are. Because as much as it pains me to say this, “I’m not special or important or unique.” But God’s work in my life is. His work is surprising and wonderful and full of love.

“Preach the gospel to yourself every day.”1 I was taught this phrase all throughout high school, but I had never really grasped it until later on in life. It always kinda sounded weird and charismatic. But when I really grasped that idea I believe it was truly life changing. Because when we preach the gospel to ourselves every day we’re not just repeating the same story over and over again. We are reminding ourselves of our perfect God who came down and paid the price for our sins so that we could spend eternity in Heaven with Him. And this fact is lifechanging because it reminds us of who we are and who God is. Jesus’ death is the thing that should make us eternally humble. Because when He died to save us we didn’t even want to be saved. Say that again, we as Christian’s before God softened our hearts and saved us, we didn’t even want to be saved. We as sinful human beings would rather have lived and suffered in our sin instead of living in peace with our loving father.

And so there really is no room for pride in any of our lives. Pride is sin because it spits in the face of Jesus. It denies Him and His sacrifice for us. So every day let’s preach the gospel to ourselves. How do we fight pride and cultivate humility? We remember the truth. Praise the Lord.

Redeemed by the King

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  1. Jerry Bridges