unself-conscious concentration

Last night we heard Dr. Tim Keller talk about the parable of the two sons … and he had many good things to say.  But sometime during the evening he talked briefly about humilty.  That word has stuck in my mind today … and as I spend a few minutes quiet and still I seek to understand humility better … to lay myself down … to be grounded … 

Mirriam-Webster says humility is the act of being humble … not proud or haughty, not arrogant or assertive … instead reflecting, expressing, or offering a spirit of deference, submission.

Madeleine L’Engle mentions humility in my favorite of her Crosswicks journals … The Circle of Quiet … she says …

 … timidity itself is a form of pride … The moment that humility becomes self-conscious, it becomes hubris.  One cannot be humble and aware of oneself at the same time.  Therefore, the act of creating–painting a picture, singing a song, writing a story–is a humble act?  This was a new thought to me.  Humility is throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else. … When we can play with the unself-conscious concentration of a child, this is: art: prayer: love.

Child-likeness … Jesus spoke of it … unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself (becomes simple and elemental again) like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

You’re calling me to lay aside
The worries of my day
To quiet down my busy mind
And find a hiding place
Worthy, you are worthy …  Of a childlike faith …

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  1. I believe that L’Engle, in another book, says that humility is like integrity, that it is something you can only see in others because the minute you acknowledge it in yourself it ceases to exist. She was so wise.

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