My Best Humility Teacher: The Balance Beam

My Best Humility Teacher: The Balance Beam

Erin Facer

“How did I get here?!” Surrounded by foam pits, balance beams and parallel bars, I found my less-than-flexible-self signed up for a semester-long course in gymnastics.

At some point during my college career I got the bright idea that I could learn more from my classes than what was outlined in the syllabus. A course on Scandinavian history taught by a 95-year-old man with a low gravelly voice, for example, could help me learn attentiveness and endurance. Every math class would undoubtedly test my optimism and patience. At the end of my schooling I didn’t want to just walk away with a history diploma; I wanted to walk away a better, stronger person. So, each semester my schedule included one class specifically selected to teach me a character-building attribute.

Hence, here I sat in a large gym, ready to embark on a journey toward–humility.

F is for Fail

Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. – Andrew Murray

According to the above definition, my first day in humility 101 would have earned me an F. Mere moments after my arrival on the first day, the humiliation began. My teacher pulled me aside and said, “don’t you know you are too tall to be a gymnast?” I smiled and tried to brush it off with a joke, but as the other students discussed their prior experience in dance, tumbling and other gymnastic pursuits, I started to sweat. I had no quietness of heart. I was not at rest. My heart raced. “Do you think he knows I also can’t do a head stand, cartwheel or even touch my toes?”

If at First You Don’t Succeed…Hide from Your Neighbors

People of integrity do not hide their reactions or opinions, they do not manipulate others through deception and they do not pretend. – Unknown

Our class was organized around stations where we could develop specific skills. Stations included the bars, balance beam, and the vault. Eventually, we would all have to display our skills to the class for our final exam. All my classmates seemed to pick up skills quickly and attempted increasingly challenging stunts. I, on the other hand, worked on the same basic skills over and over again with little to no improvement.

What bothered me the most was not how bad I was, but others knowing I was inept. Each class I expertly sought out the station no one else wanted in hopes of hiding my abysmal attempts. It was lonely, frustrating and tough on my self-esteem.

Humility is Confidence

Humility is not self-deprecating, rather it is the quiet internal confidence allowing you to accept things as they are, especially yourself. – Casar Jacobson

All too soon, the day of our final arrived. I awoke feeling sick. I lay in bed and jumped through all kinds of mental hoops to try and justify why it would be okay to skip. “The test is not really important for the grade.” “There probably won’t be enough time for everyone anyway.” And finally the real kicker, “it will be humiliating!”

Then the obvious struck me, “of course it will be humiliating. This is your humility class after all!” In that moment I set my jaw, rallied my courage and marched to class determined to show what I could and could not do.

Well, as suspected, I was the worst, but it was not humiliating. Humiliating implies a loss of self-respect and in this instance my self-respect actually increased. It did not ultimately matter that I was bad at gymnastics. I would soon be done with the class and never have to attempt the balance beam again. What mattered was that I could face my fear of other’s derision head on. I could celebrate the success of others while acknowledging my own limitations. Despite a poor grade in gymnastics, I ended up with good marks in humility.

So, next semester, sumo-wrestling here I come!

Erin Facer is a graduate of Brigham Young University and proud southerner. Contact her at facererin@gmail.com

His Plan Over  My Plan

His Plan Over My Plan

Megan Miller

his plan over my plan
I’m writing this article at a desk surrounded by two calendars, a planner, and a to-do list angrily glaring up at me. I have never been a person that likes to “wing it.” When I’m stressed, I make even more lists to help me organize my rushing and jumbled thoughts. I make plans to help manage stress, but when they fall through or don’t go as planned, I become even more stressed.

We can all relate to this. Besides all of our day-to-day tasks that we plan for, we all have a plan in our heads of how our life should be. We imagine a big white wedding dress, a new car when we graduate, a job that pays well and getting to retire early. I thought for sure I would get married right out of high school and never have a career. This isn’t wrong by any means, in fact, these plans give us hope for the future. Hope that after a bad day we will still have good days ahead. But we aren’t perfect, and our plans fall through. Things change, people change and life is unpredictable. We CAN’T plan the way we wish we could.

But there is someone who can.

There is someone who knows all things and knows us each personally. There is someone who is perfect, and who has a perfect plan for each and every one of us. Why would this perfect being, who knows us each so well, leave us on this earth to plan for ourselves? Why knowing all he knows, would He leave things up to chance?

And the answer is simple. He doesn’t.

We all feel lost, confused and battered at some point in our lives. We all wonder how we can possibly go on from loss, sorrow, heartbreak, and disappointment. we wonder, how in the midst of all the war, terrorism, hatred, and intolerance there could possibly be a plan for us.

In a world that is so unpredictable, we can focus our faith and energy on finding the path that our God has laid out for us. He knows our thoughts, our hopes, and our prayers. He knows what makes us happy and loves us so much, that he would do anything for us to be happy.

But he can’t force His plan on us.

We have to have faith and be constantly seeking guidance and inspiration from God to truly gain understanding about what He would have us do. And sometimes the path isn’t clear. Life is hard. Things change. And we wonder how these events could possibly be for our good and help us. We may not know in this life, but I know with certainty that we will know. We just have to keep trekking. We have to keep walking down the road less traveled and know that our God will never lead us astray in His perfect plan.

Megan Miller is a BYU student with a passion for social media, writing, and her dog. Contact her at meganjomiller@gmail.com.