Humility was bred into me. It was the status-quo. But what I can vividly remember it that it was freeing! Hardy and common. Like the general low expectations. It was often declared with decisiveness from the school pedestal, that we are not special! I was born during communism after all.
Yet. Telling our kids that they are the very best, the most wonderful (by comparison), the greatest gift to humanity, it’s not doing them a service either. On the contrary. Our worth and value are intrinsic because the image of God is reflected in us. We only ought to keep the mirror clean.
Personally, I only suspected my parent’s admiration and faith in me. I could see it in their eyes. I overheard them talking. In hindsight, that made it more real to me, and less addictive.
In Jackie’s book I write about her being special in the context of adoption. Because she calls mother another woman, me, not the one that gave birth to her. She is also special because she has special emotional needs, for me to assure her that I will never forsake her. Special because of the unusual talks we will continue to have for the rest of our lives, about loss and redemption.
Here is the downside to freeing-low-expectations of self. It’s not related to the drive to strive, mind you. I simply can’t wrap my mind around why people are drawn to me. I don’t feel I deserve such attention, such lavish love. It actually overwhelms me at times. I had to work hard on accepting people’s generous trust, belief and appreciation.
But with the danger of spiritualizing it too much, I believe any extreme is dangerous. To believe too highly or too low of ourselves. Whatever the devil can use to stop us from being who God created us to be, in His image, brave and daring, he will use. So when we become stuck, too low or too high, we ought to remember to not take ourselves too serious. We are just tools in the Master’s hands.