We live in a society where self- promotion is an essential component to success. If you can’t summarize your passions in life in a few sentences, you may discover that people will move on to someone who presents a more accessible sales pitch of themselves. In order to market yourself successfully you may need to project to others a self which slightly exceeds your own self view. You may or may not find yourself able to live up to this idealized projection of yourself that you are selling to the world. But does this need for self- promotion mean that you must believe in a view of yourself over inflated by pride? Is the path of humility a handicap that Christians cannot afford to take if they want to experience career success?
I believe self- promotion can be accomplished as a spiritually honest action. In fact the spiritual practice of humility can serve to refine your presentation of self for the better. As a pastoral counselor I find that the spiritual practice of humility is essential to keep me from becoming overly prideful in my own abilities to the point of the manic belief that I can personally guide those I counsel away from all future hardships and difficulty.
Humility also keeps me grounded in the fact that if my ability to make life better for others has its limitations, then God’s providence and provision to others is what is truly sufficient for the setting of counseling to bear fruit. Humility helps me to see that the very existence of success or happiness in my life is not a result of my striving and accomplishments, but instead God’s gifts to me. God’s gifts are inexhaustible compared to my imperfect striving at success.
Psalm 131 provides a picture of humility in Christ for the professional and those of all roles in life.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.