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The Power of Humility

My middle daughter used to participate in pageantry. Now before your mind goes to the glitzy, swimsuit, heels, and heavy makeup painted on a five year-old, that is not what I am referring to. That may be your definition of the pageantry world, but our experience was much different. In fact, her favorite pageant system, USA National Miss is founded on, and based on principles pleasing to God. There is competition, of course, but the national director nurtures the girls to know where she stands with the Lord and to exhibit qualities that honor Him.

I bring up pageant competitions because the world of pageantry is often viewed as cut-throat or shallow. We experienced the opposite. Personally, the world of pageantry brought me nearer to God in a surprising way. Allowing my daughter to participate gave God moments to change my mindset from believing my daughter was the best and that she should win everything she entered, even though I never pushed her or seemed that way to others from the outside. In fact, I didn't even realize I carried this attitude until she began competing.

Marissa Hitt in pageantry

When we first started, I believed if the judges would see her, they would agree she should be the winner. As time went on and we made friends with other competitors and their mothers, we began helping them. We offered tips, let them borrow items they needed, prayed with them, traveled with them, and shared life with them. They began helping us. I saw how worthy other girls were to win the title. I began viewing the girls more like God must with His eyes and heart. We no longer allowed my daughter in participate in pageantry hoping she would win, but so that she would develop and sharpen life skills such as interview, public speaking, service, and the ability to handle obtaining or losing the end result she desired.

Pageantry built the same skills as participation in sports. Endurance, commitment, teamwork, confidence, and other qualities began to shine through her, and through me. My daughter trained and competed maturely, kindly, and responsibly, always exhibiting a gracious, humble heart. We believed the outcome of every competition was already in God’s hands. I especially appreciated the way God used the evolution of her skills to transform my heart to be more in alignment with what He desires.

Life is not about competing to be the best. It is simply an individual journey each of us walks to humbly discover, know, and become more Christ-like each day. The way we live should be viewed through that lens. We are each given different gifts and talents that we can employ for Him. However, God never wants us to use them to demean, belittle, or crush others. He doesn’t call us to “show-off” skills, but to develop "show Him" skills. I believe He wants us to use what He has gifted to work together and to find ways to honor and serve Him together. God has special plans and purposes for each person.

Marissa Hitt and Terri Hitt humility-oriented blog post

2 Chronicles 7:14-15 tells us, ”If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.”

Imagine a world in which we all humbly seek ways to show and please God though all we do.

Psalm 25:8-9 tells us, “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore, He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble His way.”

Imagine a world in which we all choose to listen to and humbly obey God.

Proverbs 15:33 says, “Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord; therefore, He instructs sinners in His ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.”

When my middle daughter was younger, she had a dance instructor we were blessed to work with. My daughter respected her and gained so much from the talent and professional skills she taught. There was, however, a quality that I hope this teacher learned from my daughter. This instructor told me in private that my daughter was sometimes meek and submissive to others in class. I understood the behavior she shared. I could see in my mind the times my girl would hold us up when we were out in public as she stopped to open doors for others without anyone even noticing she was there. No one stopped to thank her or take the door from her so that she would be able to go back to us. They simply kept walking through the door, not even noticing it was a child helping them. It used to irritate me a bit because I expected adults to recognize her and at least take the door.

My girl still does this for others; in fact, her humble behavior now carries a quiet confidence with it. One that comes from above. She knows not everyone appreciates this simple gesture. She doesn’t need to gain their approval. The kindness is not only performed for them. Her actions are spurred by what she feels God is asking her to do.

Marissa Hitt in white interior for Terri Hitt's blog post about humility

Through her, I have personally learned that what sometimes what appears to be weakness is actually strength cloaked in God’s desire for us to humble ourselves before Him and others.

Since Jesus instructs us to live with the faith of a child, I believe we can learn so much from our children. Instead of teaching them to be tougher or to be more competitive, we should be learning from them and taking on the humbleness they intuitively exhibit.

As we desire to grow closer to the Lord, there are questions to ponder and answers we must assess about our hearts to ensure we allow Him to shine from within us and guard against the self-sabotage of ego and self-importance.

In what ways do I hear God whispering to me to change?

Where has pride taken over my spirit?

Do I seek to honor God in what I do?

Do I seek selfish attention or have self-serving ambitions when I serve others?

Is my work an attempt to make myself appear more successful and fill a hole within myself best completed by God?

Do I sacrifice my family in an attempt to gain worldly attention?

What are my children learning about God by watching my daily walk?

Each of us has areas that God must make visible so His holy work can mend from within.

Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”

The lessons God crafts for each of us are so personal. Whether we choose to learn from them or continue walking without a humble spirit is our choice. Although I am thankful that God allows us the ability to select whether we allow ourselves to humbly submit to Him and follow His ways, I have also grown thankful for hard lessons I have learned. Not that I wanted to endure them, or allow others in my life to suffer, but because they have proven to me how great and gracious my Heavenly Father really is. He not only allows us the ability to choose, but the ability to learn through experience. When we fail or fall, He graciously picks us back up and loves us despite the arrogant or ignorant mistakes we make, allowing us the ability and opportunity to learn from Him and extend that grace to others.

Marissa Hitt hugging Terri Hitt for humility-oriented blog post

Humility comes in many forms. Studying the life of Jesus affords us the gift of seeing a grace-filled and beautiful life unfold. Our Savior enriches our life and spiritual walk as we trust Him and begin to understand the power of humility and the wisdom that only comes from Him.

A modest walk is not something to despise or desire to change.

Humility is a quality that we need to savor and treasure as we labor to retain and build upon it. It does not mean we have no confidence; on the contrary, it means that we have full confidence in Him and in what He is accomplishing in and through us.

As we seek to live each day with more eternal perspective, a humble spirit is essential to develop and grow as we release prideful attitude and actions in order to adopt a Christlike mindset. Then our children, whether young or grown, will see Christ at work within us. They will see the need for Him in their own lives and grow the desire to serve Him and others with powerful humility that only comes from Christ.

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