Saturday, February 5, 2011

Modesty vs. Humility

Sorry it's been a while between posts.  I was sick last week and when Monday came around I had to catch up on all of the things I wasn't able to do the week before.  So, as you can imagine, Monday and Tuesday were spent cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping and all of the other little things I wasn't able to do before.

Then, Wednesday afternoon, my son got sick again!  Another totally different flu bug with a high fever, chills, and body aches  Poor kid was suffering Wednesday and Thursday, then we thought he was getting better on Friday and the fever jumped back up again!  So, he's still lying on the couch and I'm still trying to take care of him, my lingering cough, and do everything I can to keep my husband and myself from catching this latest bug.  It's been one of those winters!

Even though I haven't been posting I have been thinking about it.  When I saw this graphic it made me think about modesty and humility.  The big thing now is "self esteem" which for years educators thought was so important to inculcate into our children.  Well, now they've discovered that it might not be the be-all and end-all they thought it was.  Turns out the people with the best self esteem are in prison!  So much for that concept.

I'm not particularly ancient, but I remember being taught modesty and humility.  Modesty is a difficult concept for many people.  It isn't about knocking yourself down, it's about knowing your worth, but not bragging about it.  A person's modesty about their acheivements isn't an indication that those acheivements have less value.  It's actually the opposite.  A person is modest because they're pleased with themselves but are polite enought not to lord it over others.  A modest person will accept compliments easily, but won't go on and on about how great they are.  They're confident in their abilities and let them stand on their own without embellishment.

Humility is different.  One is humbled by the realization of their good fortune.  If, for instance you're involved in a quilting competition with many talented artists, you may be humbled by being chosen as the winner.  Humility comes from our very real human sense that we are not entirely responsible for our good fortune.  That's why when someone wins an award they thank others, and sometimes God for assistance to get to that place.  So, we're humbled by our feeling that "we're not worthy" because we appreciate the talents of others and all of the help we've received to get where we are.

My son loves to watch the American Idol auditions.  In past years I thought they were exploiting people and making fools of them, but this year the tone has changed a bit.  We have noticed that whenever there's a contestant who is convinced they're the next American Idol, they usually have no talent at all.  It's generally the quiet ones who come out and blow everyone away. 

I believe that there's a difference between those who are gifted and those who are not.  A gifted person views their gifts as part of themselves, they may struggle with how to deal with the results of their gifts, but the gifts are accepted by them for what they are.  It's those that don't have those gifts that have to puff themselves up and make pronouncements about how great they are.

That's why you'll notice that the least talented people are the most vocal about their talents, while those who are talented take it as a matter of course.

Remember this when you're dealing with other quilters.  If you're the timid sort you might be intimidated by the loudmouths, who always know better, and always have something negative to say about everyone else's work.  These people are rarely talented.  They may be able to execute well, but it's doubtful their quilts "sing." 

It takes a modest and humble heart to receive the gifts of inspiration.  A person who is always tooting their own horn is usually desperately trying to get the attention they crave.  Let your work speak for itself.   That doesn't mean that you have to sit there quietly and let others walk all over you.  It means that you can hold your head up, confident that you've done your best, and humbled by the other real talent around you. 

Quilt on!


1 comment:

Staci said...

Lovely, thoughtful post, and oddly timely for me, as it is a topic that has been on my mind as well.