On the one hand, you can’t do anything you put your mind to. Some things aren’t possible just because you believe they are. That’s why superhero movies are so popular – we get to watch fictitious characters do all the impossible things we wish we could do.

On the other hand, you can do way more than you probably realize. You just can’t do it as fast as you probably want.

Humility isn’t denying your value, worth, or ability. Humility is serving the highest possible good for yourself and others while holding onto a realistic picture of who you really are. You’re capable of more than you think you are.

Here’s the problem. While we tend to underestimate our ability to achieve things, we also underestimate the amount of time we’ll need to invest in trying.

In other words, when we do finally exercise enough faith to launch out and attempt something seemingly beyond our grasp, we then tend to sabotage our own success with our impatience. When the results don’t happen fast enough, we assume we’ve failed. But it’s possible that success was right around the next curve.

My old pastor, Rick Warren, used to say that we usually overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in ten years. And he’s right.

There is a passage in the Bible I used to quote to myself before getting up to preach. It’s from Peter’s first general epistle and it reads:

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

~ 1 Peter 5:6-7 NRSV

I quoted it to help calm my anxiousness and to remind me that the speaking moment wasn’t ultimately about my charisma, skills, or popularity. It was about delivering God’s message to other people for their good and encouragement. (Pro tip: Focusing on the needs of the audience will always alleviate nervousness more than focusing on your speaking performance.) But what about the part of the passage where the author says, “so that he may exalt you in due time”?

Here’s how I paraphrase verse 6. Remember who you are – particularly that you’re not God and you’re not in control – trusting God to handle your arrival at success instead of rushing it and forcing results that aren’t ultimately the best.

Walking humbly means moving forward and being intentional, but trusting that God will decide when you’re ready to enjoy the splendor of success. And knowing the way God seems to work, your moment of exaltation will have far more to do with your character development and internal readiness than with your outward popularity.

You can walk. Believe it. Get up. Take a step. Move forward. But walk patiently, because patience and humility go hand-in-hand. One cultivates the other.