Devotion: Straddling Confidence & Humility

“My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.

But I have calmed myself and quieted my ambitions.  I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”

A few years ago I went with my roommate from college to pick up a bottle at the local grocery store for his month-old niece.  Dumbfounded, two men in their early thirties stood staring at the childcare section.  After five awkward minutes of watching him struggle to understand what nipple fit which bottle for the appropriate age…I let go of my “coolness” pretense and grabbed the appropriate setup and left.  I realized having raised a daughter and triplets, I’ve sorta become an idiot savant in this arena.  So with confidence I let my “cool” exterior crumble, and with humility I allowed my roommate to pay for it.

So while it’s not the most manly of analogies, when I read Psalm 131 this morning, it struck a chord.  Because it blends two of my core virtues: Humility & Confidence.

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These are two pillars that men must straddle; and we can learn it from our children.

This weekend, I took my boys to the mountains to begin teaching them the core values of being a Barry:

  1. Integrity
  2. Perseverance
  3. Confident Humility

The first line calls us to Humility; for humility acknowledges that God is greater than we are.  Like a child, we are not capable of doing everything on our own.  As Matthew 18:4 reminds us, Christ praises the humble child: “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

The second line calls us to confidence; for confidence is a weaned child who trusts that his mother will provide solid food.  Rather than being a demanding infant crying at the first hunger pain, a weaned child can sit patiently beside his mother.

If our foot slips from one side or the other, we will loose our balance for confidence without humility is pride; and humility without confidence is self-loathing.

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