Back in our early years of marriage, my husband and I lived in Missouri. He was in medical school, and I was working as an RN on a Cardiac Unit in one of the hospitals in the city. We had been there for a few years and I was becoming very comfortable at the job. At that time, the Unit I worked on felt very stressful. There was a high RN-to-patient ratio and just overall, I remember it being very busy. It was a common weekly occurrence to find one of the nurses in the bathroom crying. However, I grew to love all things cardiac, the staff that I worked with, and found myself with a good relationship with the physicians whose patients I took care of.
I started to realize that despite the craziness of it all, I was feeling pretty confident in myself. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but as a nurse, there is a fine line between being confident and too confident. I knew that as soon as a RN started to feel too confident, bad things started to happen. It seemed that those nurses started to pay less attention to detail and unnecessary mistakes would be made. I never had great respect for nurses who felt overly confident, as it would show in their attitude and demeanor on the floor. Pride would take over them and it showed.
When I started to feel pretty comfortable and confident, I felt like I had one foot over the fine line and the other one on its way. I found myself thinking that I was better than some of the other nurses. I was being judgmental and comparing myself better than them, and knew in my heart I was looking down on them. I started to think about it a lot and felt convicted that I needed to pray for a little humility to put my feet back where they belonged.
So, one morning before work, I sat down on the couch in our little apartment. I said a brief prayer and it went like this; “Dear Lord, I’m feeling a bit too confident in myself at work lately and I know that my heart is not reflecting yours. Please keep me humble. Amen.”
And off I went.
The moment I walked into work that morning, I could feel the level of stress on the Unit was very high. I got my patient list, listened to report, and started my day. Immediately, I felt as if I was running behind. Patients seemed overly demanding and each room that I walked in to, I was dealing with issues that just put me even further behind. I was trying to get all my meds passed and there is typically a certain time frame that you did need to get the meds into the patients. One particular patients labs were not coming back. I kept looking in the computer to see if they were done, and for whatever reason, it was taking a long time. I really wanted to know what his potassium level was before I gave him the high dose of potassium that was ordered. But, I was in a hurry and time was not on my side. So, in my confidence of myself, thinking that all would be just fine, I did something I don’t normally do, and gave his meds anyways before getting the lab results.
Well, shortly after I gave his meds, the labs did come back and wouldn’t you know it, his potassium level was high that morning. In cardiac patients, potassium is something of great importance, and too high or too low can cause significant problems. I immediately knew I made a big mistake and am pretty sure I said something under my breath that wasn’t very Christian-like. I knew I would have to let the doctor know what I did.
A brief moment later, and he arrived on the Unit for rounds. Right there, at the nursing station, I tried to pull him aside kinda quiet like and to let him know what I did. I didn’t want to make a scene or anything and certainly didn’t want anyone else know my mistake. I am pretty sure my confession might have been the straw-that- broke-the-camels-back for him that morning because he just started to let me have it… loudly, in front of all the other nurses. I don’t mean just a little bit loud, but like SUPER-DUPER LOUD WHERE ALL THE OTHER NURSES STOPPED WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND WATCHED.
Only a couple hours into my shift that morning and the Lord answered my brief prayer. I was humbled. It was embarrassing. Pretty sure I was the nurse in the bathroom crying that day.
At that moment, I no longer felt overly confident in myself, and honestly, that stuck with me for years. I’m not saying that the Physicians response was necessarily appropriate, but it did cause an effect on me that was needed and ultimately, for my benefit. I am happy to say that I never had to endure another verbal spanking like that from a Physician again! Thankfully, the patient suffered no ill effects from my mistake and I don’t think I ever passed meds again in my nursing career without looking at what all the labs were first. It would become a teaching point that I used over and over again with future nurses that I would orientate as well.
Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Praying for humility might not be the top thing to pray on your prayer list. If you are like me, there is a certain level of fear that comes with actually asking for the Lord to make you humble. You never know what avenue He will take to make that come to fruition in your life. However, the Bible is very clear that the Lord will use the humble for great things. Christ himself was the ultimate example for humility and if we desire to become more like Him, then we absolutely need to make humility a priority in our prayer life.
Do you find yourself in frequent comparison and thinking you are better than your neighbor? Are you being judgmental towards others? Do you find yourself being selfish and thinking you deserve better than what you are getting? Do you feel like you should be the one being served instead of doing the serving? Do you feel overly confident about your spirituality and how you live your Christian life, comparing it to those around you? If so, maybe you need to take a moment and ask God to give you a little humility.
Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Let’s lay aside our selfishness and start to treat those around us with respect and love. Let’s get rid of the judgmental attitudes and realize that we are ALL made in the image of God. Let’s start serving those around us and lifting them up with encouragement, instead of expecting others to give us the attention and praise.
Having humility doesn’t mean you need to have depressing thoughts or to put yourself down. The Lord doesn’t want that. But He does want us to have an attitude that reflects His.
Philippians 2: 5-11, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Humility is not something that will come naturally to us sinful people and it is more than a one-time prayer. We absolutely need the Holy Spirit’s help in this area. Without it, pride will rise up and cause us to look like fools.
Now days, my humility comes fairly frequently, mainly thanks to my 12 year old son Ethan. The boy talks non-stop and with having High Functioning Autism, he doesn’t quite yet have the filter that I would like. (It is something that I work on him with constantly.) He’s slowly improving. However, just two days ago, he loudly let the lady cutting his hair know that he has had to wear his dad’s socks for the past two days and that he had the same outfit on as the day before because his mom was so far behind on laundry that there wasn’t anything for him to wear.
Um, sweetie, “Shhhhh”.
As I have learned to do, I just smile and try to remember to thank God for the built in blessings that Ethan gives me. 🙂
Yes – somedays, I have to remind myself that humility is a blessing.
So, whether your humility comes on a daily basis via the children God has given you, or else if you need to – confess your mistakes before the Lord. Either way, we need to remember to daily ask for humility. It will only be to your benefit and you will gain wisdom because of it.
In fact, I am going to stop and do the very same, right now.