Humility Check-up

How humble are you? Let’s say, on a scale of 1 – 10 … 1 being the extreme of arrogance and pride and 10 being Jesus Himself … where would you sit? It feels like a bit of a trick question really, doesn’t it? How does one adequately reflect on their humility levels … in all humility!?

Humility is the act of valuing the dignity of others more highly than your own. Beyond just ‘thinking of others before yourself’ it’s actually surrendering your dignity; your ‘image’ in the eyes of others. It’s laying yourself down for the sake of bringing dignity to those around you. In Philippians 2, Paul talks about us having the same “mindset” as Christ and goes on to describe Jesus’ humility … first, to come to earth as a man (even though He is God) and secondly, to submit Himself to death on a cross (the most humiliating of deaths).

It takes humility to admit a lack of humility … and it is also the nature of pride to blind us to the ways in which a lack of humility presents itself in our lives.

So, time for a humility check-up! Maybe some of these things will highlight the areas for us where humility is most lacking.

You might be lacking in humility if …

  1. You boast in yourself
    Proverbs 27:2 says “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth …” We all react negatively to someone blowing their own trumpet but a sign of pride at work in our lives is the need to self-promote. Do you find yourself boasting and bragging? Do you need to receive credit for the things you’ve done or said or the part you’ve played in another person’s success?
  2. You get defensive
    To a certain extent, defensiveness is just reactive boasting. We are defending an incorrect perception, justifying our own actions or acting to ensure we don’t appear wrong, weak or lacking in anyway. “I was not!” “It was her idea!” Defensiveness (which is different to working together to reach mutual understanding) is a form of appearance management that often comes out our mouths in sharp tones and biting remarks.
  3. You fight or get angry
    The substance of fighting is very nearly ‘always’ a sense of selfishness – beyond just defending ourselves we move to an aggressive desire to get our way, to be right. A lack of humility sees us convinced that those things are the most important – beyond caring for others. We very rarely fight on behalf of another person – we aren’t fighting for their dignity, we’re fighting for our own. Anger is a complete disregard for the heart of another person, it is to set your heart against them in hatred and aggression.
  4. You avoid confrontation
    On the flip side – avoiding confrontation can be just as much a reflection of a lack of humility as fighting. Instead of putting our own needs first and fighting FOR something we elevate the potential for our own discomfort, embarrassment, awkwardness or hurt over bringing resolve to interactions or relationships. When conflict is non-combative it is actually a healthy part of life and relationship. It’s in those moments of communication, compromise and negotiation that we bring about the best ideas and the strongest relational ties.
  5. You are impatient or intolerant
    STOP! I know what you’re thinking! “I wouldn’t be so impatient or intolerant if other people weren’t so annoying and intolerable!!” (Yes, I can read your minds – creepy isn’t it?) Impatience and intolerance are emotional reactions to things not happening like we would want or in the time frame we want. It is all about us. Humility requires that we care less about our own needs and our own plans in deference to care and concern for others.
  6. You make bad choices
    Humility breeds wisdom. Humility encourages us to seek wise counsel, to submit ourselves to another’s expertise or experience, to ask questions and admit that we don’t know it all or may not have all we need in and of ourselves to navigate life successfully. Humility sees us valuing the best decision over our need to look like we have it all sorted.
  7. You give in to insecurity
    There’s not a person on the planet who hasn’t had moments of feeling insecure, unsure, nervous, inadequate or embarrassed. It’s all part of the human experience!! But when we give in to insecurity in a situation, we have allowed the protection of our own dignity to override whatever the potential outcome might be. When we don’t go and speak to a new person at church or we don’t pray out loud in a group or we don’t offer to help in a team because we feel insecure, we are saying that the welcome of the new person, the ministry to others, the gift of serving other people is less important than our own dignity. Timidity and shyness are not synonyms for meekness and humility.
  8. You hold a grudge
    Our inability to forgive or to move on from offense can reflect a lack of humility. It is not to minimise the hurt or the wounding that we experience at the hands of others – either carelessly or intentionally – but we hang on to the idea that our wounding requires that someone else would pay, that they would be wounded also. Aside from the fact that often the objects of our grudges or un-forgiveness don’t even realise they are – we bind ourselves up in bitterness and offense which will only grow poisonous fruit in our own lives.
  9. You are a worrier (**mutters under breath*** “control freak”)
    Pride tells us that we need things to be how we need things to be and the only way to assure that is to do them ourselves. While we acknowledge that different people have varying capacity and skills to keep things in order and make them run smoothly, could it be that our need for control stems more from a lack of humility? Are we working to protect our dignity and serve ourselves rather than trusting others and trusting God?
  10. You are unteachable
    I don’t need to tell you how annoying those people are who seem to know everything about everything …always! Of course, I’m not talking about you – but I’m sure you know people like this! Or perhaps, just perhaps, you have an unteachable spirit yourself sometimes too. When we dismiss others as having nothing to teach us, when we are not open to input in our lives, when we mentally write people off for being too old, too young, too female, too something and don’t entertain the possibility that we could learn – we reflect a hardened heart and an unteachable spirit. Prov 12:1 says those who hate correction are stupid (yep, Bible word … “stupid”!!). A lack of humility can make us stupid.
  11. You are arrogant
    Arrogance is when a lack of humility seeps out of your pores! Those who are boastful, proud, haughty, self-righteous, never ever ever ever wrong (and even if they are wrong and they know they’re wrong they manage to twist and turn things around to make it look like they were not wrong!) are demonstrating a lack of humility that will inevitably be their undoing. We know people like that, right? But maybe, if someone ever intimates to you that you are appearing even the slightest bit arrogant, humility might cause you to self assess and make some corrections (rather than defend, fight, get angry, blame … etc).
  12. You have secrets
    What do you try and cover up? What are you desperately hoping no one ever finds out about you? What character trait, behaviour, addiction, relationship or action would you hate to have another person know about? When we are actively seeking to appearance-manage, to coordinate our own P.R. and Press we are protecting our dignity above even the truth! Humility doesn’t require public announcements in the local paper, but it also doesn’t allow for secrecy and cover ups.
  13. You are ungenerous
    Not just with your money or your things, but with your words and your time and your interest. Do you struggle to encourage others because you don’t want them to look better at something than you? Are you holding back on contributing to another person’s life – practically or relationally – because it will cost you too much, or because they will then have more than you? Humility requires sacrifice.

Father God, I want to grow to be more like Jesus – open the eyes and ears of my heart – reveal the areas of my life where I lack humility. Amen.

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a lesson from tap dancing lessons

A most exciting development occurred at Monday night’s Tap Dancing Class.

A new girl joined!

Do you appreciate what that means? It means that am no longer the new girl! I’m not the least experienced. I’m not the most lost!

It came alive for me when we started doing warm up drills and I was in the “you girls keep going” group – not Miss Abbie’s “let me walk you through that in slow motion” group.

Looking across at the deer in the headlights expression on the new girl’s face I was awash with empathy. I know that feeling, I know that fear!

But the second wave of feeling was the growing realisation that I had advanced in my own skills – not just when compared to the new girl – in and of myself. I could do the drills that Miss Abbie was giving us. I could look ahead at where I was going not just down at my feet (to check if they were doing the right thing, you can never be too sure!) I was able to go fast enough to work up a sweat and feel the strain in my muscles. The clickety clack of my taps were vaguely rhythmical and consistent.

Yay for development! Yay for progress!

We went on to practising the routine and, although happy with my recall and general ability to keep up, there were still those parts that I haven’t quite got right yet. And we’re not even half way through the song, there is still much more choreography to learn, remember and master. But it was a nice little moment to pause and reflect on how far I’ve come.

There’s this week’s encouragement from my tapping adventures. Pause a moment. Take a quieting breath. Look around. There still might be lots to learn and more to improve – but look how far you’ve come! Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, just compare you then to you now – you last week, you a year ago; you this morning.

Philippians 1:6 He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.

Happy tapping! 🙂

do all things really work together for good?


I have this verse (Romans 8:28) on my wall. 


Because I walk by the wall so frequently, I am constantly reminded of this promise and affirmed and strengthened by it. 

As with all scripture, this verse has the potential to be misinterpreted or misapplied which can lead to disappointment and disillusionment. 

Here’s three truths that are essential for understanding this text correctly. 

1. All things work out for good – even if they aren’t good now. 

This is a future promise not a present guarantee. Paul does not say “all things ARE good for those who love the Lord”, he says, “God WORKS all things for good”.  There’s a big difference. 

Our faith and trust in God allow us to interpret our current trials and pains through the lens of a future hope we have that these hurts will not be for nothing – that they will be caught up in God’s big picture plans for our lives and His glory. 

To look at some of my own life experiences – death of family members, family breakdown, miscarriage or a painful divorce are NEVER good in and of themselves. This verse doesn’t suggest that for those who love God divorce is good or for those who love God death and loss are good; not for a minute. It does promise us that in the hands of a loving Father those experiences can be redeemed and we can learn, grow, mature and flourish through them, because of them and inspite of them. 

2. All things work out for good – but sometimes even that good doesn’t feel good. 

Because we are not God and because of the many shortfalls in our character and ability to know the future, what we think is good for us and what God knows is good for us are not always the same. 

God’s plans to redeem all things for good may include the good of doing without things that He knows aren’t healthy or helpful for us – even if we want them. They may include us being humbled or learning painful lessons that ultimately grow and refine us. 

To fully appreciate the “good” God is bringing about we need to ask Him for HIS eyes to see and appreciate what He has in mind for us. It may not look good to us, but He is a perfect Father who only gives good gifts. He invites us to trust His big picture plan. 

3. All things work out for good – but the timing of the good is not ours to know or control. 

My maternal Grandparents were killed in a car accident together when I was 11 years old (and they were only in their early 60’s). Our family treasured the promise of this verse as we absorbed the news of their tragic death and prepared for the funeral and life without them. We learnt it as a song! At the funeral, a family member came to faith! The witness of Grandma and Pa’s lives and the confrontation of their death brought this lady into an eternal relationship with God. See, we said, God is even using this for good!!

I love that story. I love the grace of God to make this promise so tangible for us. It stood me in good stead for future trauma and tragedy that was ahead for us as a family and me personally. But the more common story is that it can often take more than a few days for the “good” to evidence itself. Sometimes it may be years in the making. Sometimes it may even remain unknown to us. 

Just because we haven’t seen the good yet doesn’t mean it’s not coming. God’s timing is always perfect. 

How have you seen this promise at play in your life? When do you find it hardest to hold on to? When has it been most encouraging?

Comment below or email me directly at kimberlyrsmithministry@gmail.com 

8 questions to ask in every season


Our lives are a series of stages and seasons. Sometimes they pass faster than we’d like – when things are great it can seem like time moves too quickly (like holidays, for instance!). Other seasons just seem to go on forever – sickness, waiting, uncertainty, grief – these are seasons we’d love to skip through and yet they can seem interminably long.

Much of this is out of our control. We’re at the mercy of our age, our ageing bodies, the decisions of others or God’s sovereign (but ‘secret’) plans. So the only thing left for us to do is maximise the season we’re in.

Here are eight questions to ask to ensure that whatever season we’re in – however we feel about it – we’re not wasting this time.

1, Where is God?

There is no season in our lives that God is not present. Even when He feels distant – He is not. Look for Him. Be aware of how He is making His presence known – as teacher, comforter, defender, peace, joy … God is always ALL of those things, but in specific seasons we experience different aspects of His character in new or increased ways.

If there is a season for everything, then God is in every season. Look for Him.

2, What can I learn?

Each season holds opportunities to learn new things. What can I discover about myself? What can I learn about other people? When we are forced to walk a path we didn’t want or intend to we often meet people or experience things we might not otherwise have encountered. What can that teach us? What can we learn about the world around us and the character within us?

3, What can I develop?

Some seasons feel like they are ‘on hold’ seasons but they can actually be opportunities to develop skills and character we might otherwise not. Maybe part of the purpose of this season is for you to grow in patience, confidence, empathy, trust, compassion or a particular skill.

4, What does it reveal of me?

For better or worse, various seasons will show our “true colours”. In some situations you might discover that you are stronger or braver than you thought – or it might reveal that you’re NOT as strong or brave as you thought. A season might reveal impatience or intolerance. It might uncover a heart or passion for a cause or a specific group of people. It may reveal a deep trust in God or a strength you didn’t know you had.

5, What is it preparing me for?

Sometimes that’s a bit self-evident. If you’re studying something in Uni it’s probably a preparation for you to USE that study in some sort of work. (That’s the hope, anyway!)

Maybe it’s not quite as clear or obvious as that – but something of this season will be a preparation for a future season. Nothing is ever wasted. Some of your darkest seasons can be preparing you for a unique ministry to others who will go through similar experiences. Some of your greatest joys can be building reserves to draw on through more challenging times ahead.

6, What am I tempted by or to?

In seasons of struggle – of loneliness, grief, sadness, frustration, rejection, or difficulty – we are often tempted to self-soothe or distract to avoid facing them. When we are experiencing dissatisfaction or disappointment, when there is a sense of hopelessness in the season we are in we can turn to things like food, exercise, approval, pornography, alcohol, work, perfectionism, relationship – all manner of temptations or ‘escapes’.

Any of these things can lead us to addiction or to patterns of unhealthy behaviour when we try to avoid or ignore the realities of our season rather than face them.

7, What needs to be resolved?

Is this season you’re in the result of something that is unresolved? It may not be – but it’s a question worth asking. Is your broken relationship with your family because there’s forgiveness that needs to take place? Is there conflict or disconnect to resolve? Do you need to forgive? Do you need to ASK for forgiveness? Do you need to stop blaming someone for something? Do you need to stop blaming yourself? Do you need to get outside or professional help? That’s not to suggest that all our difficult seasons are our own doing, but it is a good question to ask to make sure we’re not being our own worst enemy!

8, What can I give or enjoy?

The uniqueness of each season – difficult or otherwise – will also hold unique opportunities to bless others or experience joy. Sometimes the joy will be harder to grasp and sometimes blessing or serving others will be the last thing we want to do, but maximising the season often comes on the back of taking a posture of focusing on others.

5 things every kid needs to grow in faith || someone else

#2 someone else 

My favourite part of a baptism is hearing the God-story.

I love when people stop to really reflect on how God has been at work in their life and they share the ways He has revealed Himself to them and drawn them to Himself. It points to a very creative and loving God. Each person tells us a different story of a unique encounter or series of encounters they had that made clear God’s call on their life and led them to respond. God is so good.

On one such occasion I witnessed, a 14 year old girl was sharing her story. She had been raised by Christian parents and attended church all her life but, when she was 13, she had attended a state wide youth camp with our church youth group. There were several hundred youth there from all parts of Melbourne and beyond; from various denominations and church expressions. She talked about her experience of that weekend and the impact it had on her developing personal faith, “I didn’t realise there were so many other people who did this Christian thing, I thought it was just our church.”

It seems almost comical to think that she might not have known, but her church experience had been limited to just our church and we were the only Christians she knew. It was significant for her to discover there were more. Because, as much as youth culture talks about the drive to stand out and be different, there is a deep yearning in our young people to find belonging and acceptance in likeness. Whether it is in shared fashion style, music tastes, sporting interests or leisure pursuits; young people find connection and comfort with others who affirm their style, taste, interests and pursuits.

Kids who are developing their own faith need SOMEONE ELSE (or multiple someones) who hold to the same core beliefs they do. They crave the affirmation that the faith they hold and the values they’re ascribing to are held by people other than themselves (and other than their own family). Christianity is, by Jesus’ own description, counter-cultural and as our society becomes increasingly pluralistic it is ever more likely that they will have friends and family and people in their basketball teams and neighbours in their streets that would not hold to the same beliefs.

It is one thing for their parents and grandparents to believe. It is significant for them to have leaders and other grown ups who believe similarly (more on that next blog). But it is also important that they have peers who share their beliefs. It reminds them that God is bigger than just their own family’s experience of Him (and #1 of the 5 things every kid needs to grow in faith is a really big God) as it continues to inform their understanding of who God is and how He operates.

We are all no doubt familiar with that powerful feeling of finding others with whom we find that “Oh, you too?!” connection. There is something profoundly validating about finding a like-mind, heart or soul. Our children need that too. It is significant to their faith development. Regardless of how independent and unique they might want to be they also crave the sense of being understood and affirmed for who they are and the choices they make.

5 things every child needs – Think Orange.

#1 a really big God 

#4 uncommon sense 

5 things every kid needs to grow in faith || a really big God

 #1 A REALLY BIG GOD 

I love giraffes. They’re so graceful and elegant. And tall. They’re really tall.

Not only are they great to look at, they’re also incredibly intricate in their creation.

In order to keep blood pumping through their long legs and neck they have a heart that is TWO FEET long!! They also have valves in their neck that stop blood from exploding their brains when they lower their head to drink.

My favourite of their amazing features is a sponge like collection of veins (the rete mirabile) that is at the base of their brain. It expands to fill with blood while their head is lowered so that when it is raised (potentially a height shift of over 12 feet) they don’t pass out. The blood slowly releases to keep the brain oxygenated while the heart works to stabilise the blood flow. How cool is that?

[hear more about giraffes in the podcast of my sermon from Sunday Feb 14]

Knowing all this, every time I see a giraffe I remember again how clever God is! How His creation is so intricate and complicated and ingenious. It’s amazing. Ahh-maze-ingggg!!

But then I think how the giraffe is just one of hundreds of animals God made. And animals are only one aspect of God’s created world. There’s the birds and the plants, the oceans and the mountains, the planets and the solar systems, and then …then …there are humans!! Our bodies are so complex and so functional and there are so many different types of us! Wow! Like really, wow!

He is a big, powerful, creative, loving and active God.

When it comes to supporting kids growing in their faith one thing they need is a REALLY BIG GOD. They need to know that everything about Him is bigger and better than we could even imagine. He made the giraffe, and the tiny ant, and the infinite galaxies, and you. His story is long and big and we have just joined it for a small part. He has been making and loving people for thousands of years. Guiding them. Helping them. He has been faithful to people who have not been faithful to Him. He has used children and kings; people who made really dumb decisions and mistakes, as well as people who were humble and seeking Him. For thousands of years He has had people talk about Him and wonder if He’s real or not. He’s had people wonder if He really made the earth or if His promises are actually true. And He has kept loving and pursuing us and using us to write His love note to the world.

He is a really big God!

Sometimes, in our attempts to explain God to our kids we inadvertently shrink Him (only in our minds – He can’t actually be shrunk). We try to describe and define Him and we are limited by our own understanding and our ability to ariculate the revelation of God to us.

Our kids need to hear about a God who is big. Big enough to know and be everywhere. Big enough to always be in control. Big enough to know every star in the universe AND their names and thoughts and fears. Big enough to have their future in His hands and to not be scared by their questions or doubts. They need a God who can be trusted at all times.

What might it look like for us to consciously consider the language we use? To be intentional in the ways we respond to our kids’ wonderings. To not limit them in their questions or shut down their doubts. God is big. He is big enough to handle whatever you are thinking, feeling or fearing.
5 things every kid needs – Think Orange

#1 a really big God

#2 someone else

#3 another voice

#4 uncommon sense 

#5 nosey parents 

old dog | new tricks 

“KimmE!?! Now tell me the truth! Is this a joke or are you for real?!”

That was the response from my little friend (6) when I told her I was starting tap lessons. I’m not sure which part of the idea she found more unbelievable but she asked many more times and many other people and I’m still not sure she believes me. 

But it’s true. I’m taking tap lessons. I ordered tap shoes on line. Things are getting real. 

So, “why tap lessons?” I hear you (me) ask. Well firstly, why not? But the other answers include for the fun, for the fitness, for the improving of my “pretend” tapping skills (although I think they’re pretty convincing) and for having something in my week to look forward to and connect me with others. Not to mention the joy I will bring the previous worst dancer in the group to know that mantle can be passed along to me, or the entertainment of those who will get to witness me in all my tapping-glory. 

But it does tap into (see what I did there?) a more fundamental value I have to always be learning, always growing; always stretching (literally and metaphorically). 

Learning a new skill, placing ourselves in a room where we’re not the smartest or most experienced, submitting to the leadership of others (rather than being the leader), being humbled by our inadequacy or in circumstances where we are less sure are all acts of discipline. The kind of disciplines that keep us moving forward in an upward growth trajectory. The kind that halt the stagnant regression that is the natural gravitational pull of our unattended selves. 

Tap classes start Feb 1st for me. When does your next lesson begin? 

Did you have a good day?

We ask and answer that question all the time – “how was your day?” Our answers can range from “Awesome!” to “Terrible!” but probably most commonly land somewhere in the middle – “good” or “fine.” 

Behind our answer is a process by which we assess and determine how our day actually was. How we measure is based on our own priorities, expectations and circumstances. 

  • Today was awesome because I didn’t have to get out of my pjs!
  • Today was the best ever because I signed three new clients. 
  • Today was terrible because it rained. 
  • Today was a success because the kids are all alive and the house is still standing!
  • Today was great because I won at tennis. 
  • Today was awful because I fought with my friend. 

Our definition of success (or failure) is unique to us and our particular life circumstances – and it can change from day to day.  

However, without consciously considering those yard sticks; without intentionally determining what defines a successful day, we can find that each day just rolls into the next. We can find ourselves disillusioned by a seeming lack of accomplishment or meaning. We risk letting days slip by unmarked or acknowledged for the gift they are and the fact that each of them added together is painting the picture of our lives. They will become our history – the story we will tell. 

When I ponder the question “how was your day?” I do it through the filter of these three categories. 

MAKING and DOING

We have a natural leaning towards being productive and creative because that gives us purpose. Some of you don’t consider yourselves creative because when you hear the word creative you think artistic. Not all people are artistic but, made in the image of a creative, creator God, we all bear the capacity for creativity – to make things better – be that aesthetically or practically. Pleasing to the heart or eyes or pleasing in terms of efficiency and sensibility. A balanced account, a streamlined distribution process or practical storage solution are the marks of creativity – just as a sculpture, dance or poem might be. The sense of satisfaction found in a task completed, a list ticked, a system maintained, all testify to our bent for purposeful, meaningful engagement. 

A good day involves making and doing. 

LEARNING and GROWING

When we stop learning and growing we stagnate. And stagnant things are smelly and gross and not the stuff “good days” are made of! 

Trying a new recipe, learning a new computer program or other skill, growing in God’s Word, increasing in patience and tolerance, understanding another’s perspective, engaging in study or training, and receiving coaching or mentoring all serve to stimulate our hearts and minds. They contribute to our ongoing transformation and maturing. 

The concepts of ‘learning and growing’ also empower us to redeem otherwise frustrating,  hurtful or meaningless experiences because we can always ‘learn and grow’ from them. When we reflect on a day of disappointments or challenges we can claim it as a “good day” for what God might use it to establish or develop in us. 

A good day involves learning and growing. 

LOVING and LAUGHING 

Some people can be hard work and annoying. Not you, of course, other people. Many times the success or failure of a day can largely rest on the nature and outcomes of interactions with others. Introverts and extroverts respond differently to highly social situations and times of isolation but – in the end – it’s the people that matter most. In the image of a relational God and in the love of our Heavenly Father our hearts are wired for intimacy and relationship – with God and with one another. People matter more than things or tasks. Relationships matter. 

Was it a good day? Who did you get to love? Who did you express kindness to? Who did you serve? Who did you encourage or comfort? Who did you help? And what of those things did you receive yourself from others? Who did you laugh with?

A good day involves loving and laughing. 

For me, the success of a day considers each of those three categories. If a day includes all three it’s off the charts!! That’s a red letter day right there!! And as for a bad day? Well, I’ve come to discover that they are normally more to do with me not looking hard enough rather than these three things being entirely absent. This checklist then provides a lense through which I can reinterpret the events of a ‘bad’ day to see that it hasnt been wasted or futile. 

So, how about you? Did you have a good day?