Archive for the ‘humility’ Tag

Humility vs Perfectionism

Reading: Mosiah 4:11

In our church, humility is a big deal.  Many stories in the Book of Mormon chasten us to be humble.  Sometimes, though, I get the wrong idea about what humility should be.

In Mosiah 4:11 King Benjamin exhorts his people to be humble, and suggests that if they continue to be humble then they will be more and more righteous througout their lives.  He says:

And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.

As I read this verse recently I reflected on how sometimes, including a few times lately, I have felt pretty bad about myself.  But, I didn’t feel like those feeling were a good thing, or that they were helping me become better.  I realized that those feeling weren’t coming from humility, but from perfectionism.

Perfectionism is defined as demanding that I be perfect now instead of admitting my own “nothingness” before God.  So, while perfectionism may make me think I am being humble because the result is that I feel bad about myself, the truth is that I am being anything but humble.  The mere thought that I should be perfect discounts all of the help that God gives me to help me grow and become better over time.  When I acknowledge how flawed and helpless I am without God, and ask for his help, then I am being humble.  How great is it that true humility, in this case, actually causes me to feel better about myself!

With a toddler in the house it seems like it’s been one virus after another, and with all the sickness I’ve been too tired to really pay attention as I read my scriptures.  Today, instead of just getting angry at myself for falling behind I will pray for help to do better.

Can you tell the difference between when you are being a perfectionist and when you are being humble?  What does true humility look like?

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A King’s Message

Reading: Mosiah 2

Last night I was reading the address of King Benjamin in Mosiah 2 and was struck once again by how dependent we all are on God.  While some of us may have more money, or more talent in a certain area, or be blessed in other ways, none of us is truly better than others, and none of us can claim anything of ourself.  In Mosiah 2:19-21 it says:

And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King! I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another—I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

Benjamin was a great king, and embodied a Christlike leader.  If such a great man can get up and say to all of his people that he is no better than they, and dependent on God for even the air that he breathes, then how can I think myself better than others?  How can I think that I don’t need God, and have to do things on my own?

Today when I start to feel stressed or impatient I am going to take a moment and think about the blessings that are making what I am doing possible.  For example, if I get frustrated driving on icy roads then I’ll think about how blessed I am to have a car and to be able to get around and do what I need to do in comfort.  If I get frustrated because the computer doesn’t work then I’ll think how blessed I am to have the wonders of modern technology accessible to me.

When you read these words by King Benjamin, how do they make you feel?  Can remembering his perspective help you with something you are facing?

Lift Where You Stand

Reading: “Lift Where You Stand,” President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, October 2008 General Conference, Priesthood Session

When I was attending BYU-Idaho I once went with my FHE group to one of the weekly FHE question and answer sessions with then-President, now-Elder (apostle) Bednar.  The most memorable question, for me, was when a young woman got up and said that she sometimes felt like she was destined for great things, the implication being a high calling in the church, and asked Elder Bednar what his advice was.  He said firmly that followers of Christ are humble and that it is not good to seek after high offices of the church, but rather those callings go to those who are not seeking them.

In this talk Elder Uchtdorf shares the same message.  He asks us to “lift where we stand” and not to get caught up in seeking after the praise or glory of men. He says,

Brethren, when we stand before the Lord to be judged, will He look upon the positions we have held in the world or even in the Church? Do you suppose that titles we have had other than “husband,” “father,” or “priesthood holder” will mean much to Him? Do you think He will care how packed our schedule was or how many important meetings we attended? Do you suppose that our success in filling our days with appointments will serve as an excuse for failure to spend time with our wife and family?

The Lord judges so very differently from the way we do. He is pleased with the noble servant, not with the self-serving noble.

Because of the way our society works, it is easy to sometimes get the idea that the measure of one’s worthiness and spiritual prowess is found in your church position.  After all, if you are really good at your job you move up and up and are rewarded more and more. When I have found myself starting to think this way it usually makes me feel depressed about my own service.  Because I am so shy I usually struggle with callings that ask me to repeatedly talk in front of people, even kids.  So, I would think, if I struggle with even the smallest of callings, then I must not be very strong spiritually.

I am grateful for talks like this that help us get our minds and hearts back in order.  Our service is not, and should not, be judged by outward recognition or by the “rank” of our calling.  Rather, our service and spiritual worthiness is between us and God.  We can do far more by looking for every opportunity for service, rather than looking for opportunities to be seen serving.

Today, or this weekend, I’m going to try to find some service I can do anonymously.

Do you know people who have been a great blessing in your life but who may not have served in a high ranking position in the church?