Down to Earth or Feeling Like Dirt?

Humility is the recognition that our gifts are from God, and this lets you sit relatively loosely to those gifts. Humility allows us to celebrate the gifts of others, but it does not mean you have to deny your own gifts or shrink from using them. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy, p. 211

The Dalai Lama was reminding us throughout the week not to get caught up in roles, and indeed arrogance is the confusion between our temporary roles and our fundamental identity. The Book of Joy, p. 209

Humility: living with our feet planted on solid ground. Not trying to stand above anyone else, we live humbly.

Humiliation: being made to feel worthless by the thoughts, words, expressions, or actions of another or our own.

Knowing the difference between these two is critical. The first is being down to earth – a wonderful expression and an invaluable trait. The second is feeling like dirt: losing sight of our true identities (God’s beloved).

Aim for the first. Leave the second alone, either its giving (arrogance toward others) or receiving (losing sight of our own fundamental worth).

Not one of us is perfect, but all of us are beloved and precious.

[Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Abrams; The Book of Joy: lasting happiness in a changing world, New York: Avery, 2016]

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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