When you think generally about the word “humility” what comes to mind? Maybe someone who is very quiet, passive; the kindergartner who gets pushed to the last place in line without anyone’s notice… Even the flamboyant NFL player who points toward the sky after a touchdown and the crowd coos in admiration. How humble of him. If humility were a color, it would match perhaps a light brown or off white kind of unremarkable color.
A color that someone would easily pass by. A color maybe in our skin tones, in the winter grass, the unexciting background color for a tapestry. Humility.
I happened upon humility unexpectedly when I was working on a video project for a client awhile back. The project included incorporating a clever poem, so I started searching for different artists and poets.
I ran across a poet, and when my eyes met the words it became artistic love at first sight. I became so moved by the simplicity of her style, the fire in her words, and the artistry she brought to her messages that it literally brought me to tears.
Whyyy am I crying? This is not normal. What time of the month is it? I could not diagnose my strange emotional reaction until it occurred to me, this artist poet lady had what I was looking for. She was doing what she loved and reaching people at the same time through her art. She wasn’t sacrificing one for the other, which I constantly struggle with.
Have you ever had that happen to you? Where you didn’t know what you wanted exactly, and then you stumble upon it, and you think that’s what I was looking for, that’s what I’m trying to get to…
I felt a question in me rise up to God meekly…
God, how do I do this? I don’t know how to do this.
It can be an agonizing part of the process of dreaming, of creating, of pursuing any kind of passion to have no type of satisfying conclusion to your work.
I realized I was out of answers for my artistic endeavors. I was out of trial and error experiments. I was out of fuel. I was out of trying and trying again. I was out of life plans scribbled on the back of receipts to present to God. I had a lot of dreams I suppose, that had moved out of my head to somewhere on paper perhaps, but shared with no one but me. I didn’t know what it looked like to share it, to broadcast it, even how to give it a name.
I just had my beat up forty year old soul mixed in the form of an innocent first grader’s type of question …how?
Could I really even approach God like that, though?
Wasn’t that illegal? Isn’t that like saying uncle to God? Admitting weakness? Admitting defeat? Doesn’t that go in the “lack of faith” department?
But – ahem, I realized that I was indeed working with a shade, an expression of humility. Humility is something God loooves; He’s attracted to it like ants to honey. That is humility? I thought. I always pictured humility as something different. Sure, I thought of humility as weakness, yes, but not being out of answers.
Whether by life or not praying enough or whatever circumstances led me to that moment, it was as revelatory as it was baffling. When God can reveal to you a sneak peek of what He put in your heart to get to maybe one of the things He’s looking for is a humble prayer of “how, God? How?”
The interesting thing about “unremarkable off-white” colors is they’re absolutely necessary to make the other vibrant colors stand out. Humility may be a more beautiful quality than what we give it credit for.