At the beginning of each year I ask God to give me one thing to focus on for the year to come. There are times the subject comes to mind quickly and other times it takes weeks to discern. Last year the answer came quickly much to my disappointment (I’ll explain).

The answer was clear and it came quickly, the subject for the year to come (2009) was humility. What would you think if God gave you that subject matter for the coming year? And don’t tell me you would be excited!

I thought, this is NOT good; this is going to be a LONG year! How do you learn humility? You don’t want to know! I’m being truthful. I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. However, at the very same time I thought, I want whatever God wants for me. And I know He is loving in all His ways! He knows exactly what I need and if this is what He wants then there is something important about to happen. With most of the year in review, I can confirm, it was both the positive and the negative I expected.

How do your muscles get stronger? You push or pull against resistance. The more often you do it and the more weight you lift the stronger your muscles. In a similar way, the more you have to depend on God the greater your humility. I had many opportunities to develop humility. I found many reasons to thank God for the sense of trust and confidence I was developing in Him.

Here is what I learned, humility isn’t being down on yourself and thinking you are nothing. It is being totally aware that even at your best you are nothing without Him. Humility is dependence on Him with the understanding that you can do EVERYTHING He wants you to do. There isn’t a bit of self-condemnation in humility. Humility is evidenced by a willingness to pray first, to wait, to listen and to trust your Master—even being willing to suffer if that is what is required. Humility isn’t concerned with people pleasing, it is so focused on the will of the Father that only the applause of heaven satisfies.

I don’t claim to have this down. There is probably plenty of work to do in the year to come. But after 363 days, I know can say, I’m really glad God chose the humility lesson for me this year. I can also say that when I started praying about the lesson for 2010 and I heard, “be a lover of God.” I was thrilled.

What are you learning?