If you were to describe the above picture, I can guess that the first word would not be “humble.” In fact, I can guess that “humble” wouldn’t be the first word to come to most people’s minds. Perhaps words like “expensive” or “showy” or “gaudy” or “richness” or “ostentatious” or “overdone” or “garish” or “churchy” or “worshipful” or “elegant” would be used. Words to describe this photo would be more along the lines of “flashy” because it just doesn’t look humble. However, when I searched for images on photopin.com with only the word “humble,” the above image was one of the first free images to show up.
I smiled when I saw it, because it matched where I wanted to go with today’s post…
According to dictionary.com:
adjective, hum·bler, hum·blest.
1. not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful.
2. having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience,etc.: In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble.
3. low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly: of humble origin; a humble home.
4. courteously respectful: In my humble opinion you are wrong.
5. low in height, level, etc.; small in size: a humble member of the galaxy.
verb (used with object), hum·bled, hum·bling.
6. to lower in condition, importance, or dignity; abase.
7. to destroy the independence, power, or will of.
8. to make meek: to humble one’s heart.
If you attempt to apply any of these definitions to that picture, it looks contradictory as to what that image has captured. In fact, I bet that at least a few of you may have described this photo with some of humble’s antonyms: proud, noble, exalted, elevated. However, the photographer, at least, felt that “humble” was an appropriate keyword for it.
The reason for all of this talk about the word “humble” is because a while ago I had a conversation with my mentor about some of the things I have posted on Facebook:
October 18: It is quite an experience to go out in public after facilitating a powerful session and knowing that I am on fire with the passion of Purpose and to witness who can look at me, their reactions, and the reactions of those who must turn away. So incredible! Humbled. Honored. Grateful.
November 6: Tears running down my face. So honored to have been chosen by a 12 year old Peaceful Warrior King to assist him in developing his powerful path forward. I LOVE the humbling nature of my gifts. I LOVE that I have been given the opportunity to continually embrace Indigos!
She brought these posts to my attention because she said they seemed to be ego driven. When she said those words, my jaw gaped open and I suddenly felt very sad because I hadn’t consciously been in a space of ego-expression, but something about it seemed egotistical to her. Her sticking point was the word “humble.” She said that the way I was writing about these experiences didn’t seem humble to her, so she asked me to define what “humble” meant to me.
“For me,” I explained, “the word ‘humble’ means recognizing the divine within me. I used to think that ‘humble’ meant I had to be reverent, but I’ve come to discover that, for me, ‘humble’ is accompanied with a keen sense of celebration, like I want to rejoice and sing out to the Universe in appreciation of my gifts. It’s me recognizing the power of God present in me. At these times, when I’m feeling ‘humbled,’ I often don’t have words, but I do have a ‘fireworks’ sort of sensation going on in my body. Sometimes, for me, ‘humble’ is all sparkly and noisy and explosive because I am so full of joy.”
“Hmmmm…” she responded. “Okay… I can see now that I have a different definition of ‘humble’.”
I hadn’t known, until she questioned me, that I had that big of a sensory response going on when I felt “humble.” And, as I examined it some more, I realized that a lot of people may not relate to my experience of “humble.”
In looking back through my life, I don’t know when I came to understand “humble” differently. I don’t use the word often, but when I do, it’s following powerful sessions I have facilitated or profound readings that have come through me. I’m frequently in awe in that moment and I’m recognizing the “wordlessness” as being humbled. I am literally feeling the presence of God so strongly that I cannot talk, but at the same time, I want to dance and sing.
This conversation I had with her reminded me of the lyrics of MercyMe’s I Can Only Imagine.
Because, in moments where I am feeling that explosively humbled, there is so much going on within me, so much that I feel that I don’t know how to respond. Do I stand or fall to my knees? Do I sing hallelujah! or be silent? Do I dance or sit still? It is a delicious experience of feeling the fullness of Purpose and being completely kerfuffled as to what I am “supposed to” do.
In reality, I know there is no “supposed to” for the situation. I am simply experiencing what it is to be me.
My toss for you is this… if you are getting responses from people that feel contrary to what you intend, look into it. Are you out of alignment? Or are you defining something differently than other people may be defining something? If you discover it’s a matter of differing definitions, you have a choice… do you want to adapt to their definition or do you want to continue to adhere to your definition?
For me, my definition of “humble” perfectly matches my experience, even if others don’t “get” it. That is why I love the photo I chose for this post. Like me expressing myself vibrantly, loudly, and with fireworks, that photo seems to be the exact opposite of “humble,” but someone gets it – not that it makes my definition “right,” but it sure is nice to see my experience captured in a photo.
I always welcome your thoughts, questions, and comments.
Feel free to jot down what you’re thinking in the comment box below.