Jan Johnson

Wisbit - July 2013

A Simpler Way to Live

For a class I teach, my students get to read Jeremy Taylor’s 19 rules for humility. You may think: Rules? Ugh. Humility? Any shred of humility is near-miraculous, who wants rules?

I thought that at first, but then I looked at them in light of Andrew Murray’s idea that humility is being occupied with God instead of being occupied with self. That takes a lot of the confusion and burden out of humility. It now sounds logical and likeable. Maybe it’s even in my best interest. So to help my students (and myself), I rewrote them for today’s reader and added a prayer to each in italics. I’m soaking in them, which usually results in an organic, natural sort of obedience. Here are a few of my faves below:

I don’t think better of myself because of some outward circumstance that happens to me.
         I’m grateful to you, but I understand that I didn’t earn this.

Humility is not about criticizing myself, but about being realistic about myself.
         I have blind spots, and You and I are working on them.
          And there are many You have not yet revealed to me.

It’s OK that others are realistic about my faults.
          Others can see my blind spots--more easily than I do!

Doing good things in secret where no one else can see what I do is an adventure in being with God.
          As I do those things, I will be grateful to partner with You. This can be fun!

When praise is given to me, I will rejoice that God is blessed.
          I am grateful to You that You use me well. I want You to be glorified most of all.

When I am slighted or undervalued, I will accept it instead of harboring resentment.
          I look only to You for love and value. I am learning to be content with whatever I have.

Listening to little whispers of pride about how well I’m doing will trip me up.
          I will stay preoccupied with You, O God.

I will enjoy actively praising others.
          It’s fun to see how well You work through people!

I can be content when others do well (even if I don’t).
          The goal is that You are praised, that the Kingdom is manifested and advanced.

I will stop comparing myself with others.
          Comparisons and judgments are silly and irrelevant.
          Only You know all the facts. I’m not omniscient so I don’t judge.

Confessing sin straightforwardly keeps me from harboring blind spots and playing games with deceit.
          Help me always to speak forth my mistaken words, actions and motives.

I can be thankful for weaknesses, faults and imperfections because they help me see that we are all human.
          My mistakes make me so much more merciful to others!

Exposing others’ weaknesses is not caring. And I don’t need to congratulate myself when I do things better than others.
          It’s not my role, O God, to point out others’ shortcomings.
          Besides the fact that I could be wrong, I’m judging and condemning,
          which is something only You do well.

Surrender to God involves enduring whatever comes, being content in any state and being ready for every change.
          The only way I can fully surrender is to lean on You every moment.
          Then I can persevere, return to a state of contentment,
          and be flexible as the way ahead curves.

Living this way is easier and simpler. I stop sweating what other people think. I live to an Audience of One.

Grace and peace,
Jan Johnson

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