Tuesday, October 26, 2010

humiliating humility

Yesterday God humbled me in SO. MANY. WAYS.

I'm not one to show weakness. I hate asking for help. I hate being pitied. I hate anyone knowing that I am less than okay physically, mentally, emotionally. It just literally makes me feel like I have boiling water going through my veins to even think about this.

My whole life people have given me a hard time about being "miss independent." My husband even gets mad at me sometimes because he just WANTS to be able to do things for me and help me, even if I don't necessarily NEED him to. I'm having to learn day by day to sit back and let him, even if that's WAY out of the norm for me.

Well, over the last 2 years or so I have had some not-so-fun health issues going on that resulted in me having surgery yesterday. The good news is that after dealing with this for SO LONG, I think I am FINALLY going to feel good. (I have almost forgotten what it feels like to go a whole week without being sick.) The bad news, however, is that surgery means HAVING to depend on people for help. You have no idea how much I hate this. This is going to sound horrible, so don't judge me, but I hate this so much that I didn't even tell anyone I was having the surgery-- not even my grandparents. Marty, my mom, and a very small number of friends were the only ones I told. I just didn't want a bunch of people asking questions or seeing me at the hospital or coming by my house to check on me. I can't stand that stuff. When I'm sick or hurt I don't want anyone to know and DEFINITELY don't want anyone around me.

This is the only surgery I've had (besides wisdom teeth) since I was 2 years old.  Needless to say, it was kind of a new experience and I wasn't totally sure what to expect. I mean, I knew it wouldn't be pleasant and I'd need some help, but I really was not prepared to have to depend on people to the extent I have had to the last two days. I definitely learned that when you have surgery, you have to let go of all pride. I was humbled big time, by being humiliated big time.

Here are some pictures for your enjoyment:

Apparently I told Marty to take a picture. If you know me, this is NOT a normal request. I HAD to be high to ask for that.

Slowly fading away...

And I'm gone.

Over the last two days I have had to let someone dress me. I don't care if it was my husband, it's still weird! I have thrown up while my husband was in front of me holding the barf bowl and my friend was behind me holding my hair and rubbing my back. Can we say EMBARRASSING!? I have thrown up at least ten times after that, each time resulting in Marty having to clean up after me. I have had to straight up call and ask friends to come over and babysit me while Marty went to work. I have had people watch me slowly fade into looniness and say some off the wall things. I have had to have help sitting up, getting to the bathroom, eating, drinking, etc. I've had to rely on people to hand me anything. I can't bend at all and I've just had to lay flat on my back the entire time. It's frustrating. It's humiliating. It's made me in a bad mood at times.

But, above all of those things, it has taught me quite a bit about humility. See, I've always had the mindset of humility being shown in serving someone. We have the ultimate example in Jesus when he washed his disciples' feet. That takes humility... to serve someone you don't HAVE to serve. But sometimes, I wonder if the greater humility isn't show in the times we allow others to serve us. Like when Jesus, from cross, cried out, "I am thirsty," and then took a drink from a sponge (John 19). What humility for the God of the universe to admit a human need while hanging in humiliation on a cross meant for the lowest of people. Of course, I see his humility in washing the feet, but his humility in this episode just speaks to my heart.

I think it's because this is the type of humility that's hardest for me to exhibit. I can get down and serve someone else's feet WAY more easily than I can let someone else get down and wash mine. I'd MUCH rather be the one holding your hair while you throw up. I really don't have a hard time serving other people (okay, sometimes it's easier to do than other times), but I won't even lie, I have a VERY HARD TIME letting someone serve me. But there is necessity in that. In order for Scripture to be lived out and for us to truly "carry one another's burdens" (Gal 6), we have to have both sides... the person willing to serve and the person willing to be served.

Now don't get me wrong, I know very well that people can take this to the other extreme and almost walk all over people and create ways for others to serve them. That's not humility, that's selfishness. And those people need a spiritual spanking.

But the issue I'm talking about here is one that I believe requires real, true, biblical humility. When I let down my walls of pride and allow you to see my weakness and help me in a way I can not help myself, I am denying myself. I am letting go of my own strength. I think it's a beautiful picture and reminder of our reliance on Christ. Salvation requires real, pure humility that says we have a huge weakness and need that we CAN NOT meet on our own. We need help and we have no other choice but to reach out for that help. The prideful in life will never receive this eternal gift because they will never admit that their logic and common sense isn't sufficient. But those who encounter God's grace will encounter it ONLY through this kind of self-denying humility.

Not only does this type of humility invite grace into our lives, but it also serves as a opportunity for love to be displayed. During this surgery experience, I have been humbled. I have had to ask for help. I have had friends do some pretty embarrassing things for me. And while the humility allowed this grace to come, it also gave an opportunity for me to see their love. Just because I admitted my need or showed my weakness and asked for help didn't mean that they HAD to help me. Morgan didn't HAVE to hold my hair and rub my back as I made disgusting regurgitating noises. Marty didn't HAVE to pick me up every time I needed to go pee and he didn't HAVE to clean up my throw up every hour. Other friends didn't HAVE to sit there and hand me my drink every time I was thirsty or get me some crackers every time I said I was hungry. They didn't HAVE to miss class to come sit with me. But they all chose to do these things because they love me. And because they WANT to serve me. This was so cool for me to see because it was such a vivid reminder of the love I have in my life... the earthly love... but also the love of Christ. These people love me the same way Christ loves me (of course, not to the same extent). On the day of my salvation when I cried out to him from a humble heart admitting that I was a sinner in desperate need of something only a Savior could give me, He didn't HAVE to give me grace and mercy. He didn't HAVE to forgive me. He didn't HAVE to serve me on that cross. But He chose to... He chose to serve me, forgive me, and pour His grace on me... because He LOVES me.

I am thankful for the Truth I have been reminded of, even if it was in such a not-so-fun time. I am so very thankful for these friends who served to remind me of God's choice to love and serve me. I am so thankful for my Savior who chose to love me and pour His grace into my life.

Now I pray that I can continue to go on each day putting this type of humility into practice more. To allow people to serve me in ways I can't serve myself. To allow my weakness to be shown so others may show me grace. This, by no means, will be EASY for me. It's going to all but kill me at times! But I have no doubt it will invite more of God's grace and love into my life.


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