A humble brag is a “self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud”. We have all likely been on both the giving and receiving end of a humble brag. Here are a few examples:
- I have no makeup on, my hair’s a mess, and I’m trying to figure out why guys are still hitting on me. Seriously? I look awful.
- Still not sure how it’s possible I got accepted to Yale! I demand answers.
- Watching myself on TV and cringing. Is that really what my voice sounds like?
Humble brags mostly serve as an attempt to hide the fact that someone is bragging. For the most part, they end up being more annoying than actual bragging. As Twisted Sifter puts it, “Just tell us you are at an exclusive party. Don’t hide it behind a complaint about your dress not fitting.”
The question is, why do people feel the need to humble brag? Why are our Instagram and Facebook feeds so often filled with “I’ll probably delete this later because I look awful” photo captions? When did self-deprecation become more desirable?
Even the term “Humble Brag” implies that anything negative you say about yourself is “humble” while anything positive you say is “bragging”. When we want to say something positive about ourselves, we feel the need to add a disclaimer.
I think this belief, so ingrained in our culture, is why sometimes our immediate reaction to seeing God’s power at work is to deflect. My last post was on intercessory prayer and the importance of praying for others. If we pray for someone, and whatever we are praying for takes place, how often do we shrug if off or try to find a logical explanation instead of proclaiming the power of our prayers? I think sometimes we don’t want to “take credit” for a prayer because we mistakenly believe the power of prayer rests on us and we think that the humble thing to do is not draw attention to ourselves.
The very fact that Jesus calls himself humble goes against our definition of humility. Or, how about in Numbers, when Moses calls himself the most humble man on Earth? God says that when we are humble, we are free from pride or arrogance. That doesn’t mean that we think less of ourselves; it means we think more about Jesus. Humility is not about thinking less of yourself; it’s about literally becoming less of yourself and more of God. Biblical humility doesn’t deny that we can be used by God; rather it is a reminder that we have no power except through God.
It’s true that we aren’t supposed to claim the glory that belongs to God ourselves, but, in trying so hard to divert that attention, we are often denying God the credit as well. Don’t let your idea of humility deny Jesus His power. When something we are praying for happens, we should always point to the power of prayer. Prayer is not about the person praying; it’s about the One they are praying to.