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Austin Grigg

Husband, father of three boys, dabbling theologian, web developer and business owner.

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False Humility

A good friend commented on my last post and called me out on some false humility, or maybe misdirected humility. His words were very profound:
I think this post is deserving of a quick edit: humbled you probably should be, but not because your work is of any less talent than the 14 other folks featured. We shouldn't knock our gifts, especially when we know where they come from. I think true humility comes from the never-ending sources of inspiration around us, our simple desire to respond to that and to be expressive, and the talents given to us to be able to to do so. That that's an integral part of our lives is humbling to me.
First, I'm so grateful for friends who speak life into me by affirming my gifts and encouraging me to pursue my art and passions. Kyle continually calls me to live as my true self, alive to my talents and honest in my words -- that takes a friend who knows your heart, knows your guts.

I think the reality is that oftentimes because of our insecurities, we portray a false sense of humility in order to draw out approval. If I make myself sound less capable then I forgo the risk of failing, the risk of not meeting up to my own expectations. The profound truth Kyle hits on is that I not only do myself a disservice, but ultimately I profane the one who gave me the gifts and talents in the first place. As if to say to God that he may have crafted me a poet or an artist or a musician, but he didn't get it quite right. God doesn't do mediocre.

Unfortunately, particularly in Christian circles, you're expected to debase and devalue yourself under the guise of humility. One of my students recently said, "humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less." God, who created us in his own image, places unfathomable value on us by purchasing our lives by giving us his only son. God killed God and raised him from the dead to show us how much we're worth. Jesus showed perfect humility and perfect strength, "he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death -- even death on a cross."

So, it takes greater courage to have true humility, to take ownership of our gifts and our failures. I hope to put off pretense, not hide behind false modesty, and live in true humility recognizing the gifts God has placed all around me.

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