Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I am thinking of that scene from Charlotte's Web, when Charlotte is explaining what the word humble means.  Low to the ground was one way of explaining it.

As a mama, I am often low to the ground.  Just today I have squatted pulling weeds, kneeled scraping off stickers from the floor, sat on the bathroom linoleum and read books aloud.  All these things lower me physically, but they don't necessarily  make me humble.

I think mothers struggle as much as anyone with humility.  C.S. Lewis said :

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less."

 In my experience, there are many ditches along the humble road.  One ditch is to think your way of _________ is the right way.  How you put your baby to bed, how you feed your family, how you handle TV, church, school, etc.   All these have the potential for a mom to feel she has the answers and that others need to know the truth.  These moms are no fun to be around for much time because inevitably something you are talking about will run into an area of their expertise and advice will be freely given, whether you want it or not.  I have been the mom on both ends of that exchange. 

 Another ditch is despair. Its refrain is usually something like "I never do anything right."  The house is a mess, the laundry is piled high, the bills are late, dinner is burnt, my kid cant read yet, my kid throws tantrums, my friends don't call me.  On and on the vortex of despair goes down and down.  There is nothing good to be seen and all the bad is glaring in my face.  And as Lewis said so wisely, this person isn't truly humble because when you are in that spiral you are thinking about yourself all the time. Yup, I have been that mom too.  

These ditches can both come under the dangerous habit of comparing ourselves to others.  I really admire my friends now who are skilled at really listening in a conversation and not comparing their children or house or family to the speaker's situation.  It is hard to do, our bent is to see if we measure up to others.  But a friend once told me, when you compare, it never comes out even.  Either you will be raised up higher or brought down lower than the other person.  

So how can we be humble?  Again, some wonderful words from CS Lewis:

Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, swarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seems a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

 Its simplicity is daunting:  don't spend so much time thinking about myself.


  1. This is really good, Monica. I struggle all the time with feeling compared or by comparing myself to others. The reality is that if I could just humble myself these things would not bother me. Thanks.

  2. it is a struggle. I will pray for you and you pray for me too.