Frustration Teaches Me True Humility

image courtesy of https://ihberkeley.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/the-power-of-humility/
image courtesy of https://ihberkeley.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/the-power-of-humility/

 

During my young adult years whenever a person asked how I was doing my response would always be “fine” even if it wasn’t true. This is actually common practice while making small talk [1] but this response had dealt with my view of humility.

 

In my mind part of humility was “making sure that other people aren’t burdened by my own problems.”

 

This was built upon a belief that everyone was struggling with their own challenges (which is healthy) but over time it evolved into a belief that my problems weren’t as important as everybody elses, so it was selfish of me to burden them with my unimportant problems (obviously unhealthy).

 

This message is strengthened by a culture that encourages us to “take care of our own drama” through movies, tv, and role models.

 

The problem is that isn’t real humility…

 

Oh saying “my problems aren’t important enough for you to worry about” sounds like humility. But in reality it’s a attempt to gain the love and approval of others.

 

The thing is people can tell when we are struggling. So when I say I’m fine (when I am really not) a part of them wants to help me MORE. And the fake humility [2] will result in their paying MORE ATTENTION to my needs.

 

So instead of allowing people to deal with their own problems I am putting a huge spotlight on mine.

 

True humility instead looks something like this:

  1. We are honest about struggling [3]
  2. Have one thing the person can do to truly help [4]
  3. DO NOT share specifics about the situation (this is just as bad as the fake humility because we are focusing attention on the problem so people will feel sorry for us)
  4. Meet at a later time when you aren’t so emotional about the situation
  5. Own up to your weakness, and allow them to help in a loving way

 

True humility can also involve sharing a struggle with close friends.

 

The Need for Coffee and Community from John Wilburn on Vimeo.

 

While your steps may be different from mine, the main idea is pain must be shared in a way that glorifies God.

 

And this is how frustration leads us towards true humility, for we all have a breaking point where the pain cannot be held inside any longer. This results in a volcanic explosion of emotion (usually at the worst possible time).

 

So the Lord brings frustration into our lives

 

Because pain is meant to be shared

 

Primarily this sharing of pain would be with our Heavenly Father, but we are should share it with Christian friends.

 

For me personally frustration led to the creation of a private Facebook group where ministry updates can be shared with people who I invite into this community [5]. This allows me to take steps towards true humility.

  1. By sharing updates from the good and bad days
  2. By thinking about my words (while typing them) so that communication isn’t done in a moment of emotion
  3. By making sure only a close circle of friends knows my struggle (not looking for pity)
  4. By seeking the Lord’s wisdom before sharing updates

 

Finding true humility takes a very difficult balancing act between over sharing and saying your fine when you aren’t. However we can be thankful the frustrating experiences of life are used by God to help us take steps towards a healthier view of sharing weakness.


  1. most people are just making light conversation and aren’t intrested in hearing about everything that’s going on in our lives  ↩
  2. oh you already have enough problems, mine aren’t important enough  ↩
  3. yea I’m having a bad day  ↩
  4. pray for us, or meet up sometime later that week  ↩
  5. anyone who wants to be part of the group can send me a direct message on Facebook  ↩

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