This past week I got to eat not one, but two slices of humble pie. And if I'm honest, they didn't taste all that great, at least not at first.
With the first slice, I thought I had some wisdom to offer a friend who was going through a hard time. But it turned out that I had completely misunderstood the situation, and my insights were so off the mark that they didn't really relate what she was experiencing.
(She was very gracious.)
For the second slice, my quartet was preparing to sing in front of small audience. I had prepared well, so I thought, and was really starting to feel confident about my part. I hadn't given much thought to what might happen if I got nervous.
However, I now know what happens when nerves hit: I can't sing. At all.
(Gratefully, toward the end of the song I was able to find a few notes to eek out, but I'm now back at the drawing board trying to learn how to sing in spite of panic attacks.)
Neither experience was fun, but I gleaned some takeaways from both situations. I discovered three ways to make that inevitable piece of humble pie more appetizing:
Accept the pie with grace.
I don't know about you, but most of the times I find myself humbled, it takes me by surprise. I can get huffy and indignant - that's my knee-jerk reaction and an easy path to take. Or I can accept the situation with grace and composure. If I'm willing to graciously come to terms with being humbled, it makes the whole experience easier to accept and to learn from.
Learn from each situation.
After my first slice, I learned that I need to better listen to what people are saying rather than assuming I know what they're going to say. (Seems like I have this same issue with my spark plugs; this time, though, I was the one jumping to conclusions. Ouch.) I need to be a better listener.
With the second situation, I realized I hadn't taken into consideration factors that might affect my performance. I've played piano in front of audiences over and over; nervousness has been my nemesis for decades. It really shouldn't have surprised me to find that I get nervous singing as well as playing. I need to be better prepared.
Pray for wisdom.
Both of these issues arose from my lack of wisdom. Although James 1:5 is one of my favorite passages of Scripture ("If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him"), I don't pray for wisdom nearly as often and steadfastly as I should. My hope is that these situations will remind me to pray more fervently for wisdom in all areas of life.
Although the things I shared with my friend were Biblical and would have been timely under different circumstances, I could have prayed for wisdom before answering. It might have spurred me to ask better questions before jumping in with an answer. Had I prayed for wisdom before our singing engagement, perhaps I would have realized the possibility of fear and thus been better equipped to handle it when it hit.
In our imperfect state here on Earth, we'll never be able to fully anticipate or prepare for everything that comes our way. We're going to be humbled. There's no avoiding it; it's simply a part of life.
But even though it's not enjoyable, it's something that God uses to make us more like His Son. Jesus was the most humble Man on Earth, and as Christians, we should desire to be like Him. And eating humble pie is one way to do just that.
Being humbled isn't very fun. It can range from being mildly uncomfortable to downright embarrassing. But if we accept the humility with grace, learn from our mistakes, and pray for wisdom moving forward, we can benefit from those times of humbling. Perhaps we can even get to a point where we can appreciate the unique flavor of humble pie.
Your turn: What do you do when you find yourself served a slice of humble pie? Do you have specific verses or methods that help you gracefully accept the situation? Share in the comments!