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Humble Pie

By Catherine Pavia

Lately I’ve been tormented by something stupid that I wrote on a friend’s Facebook wall that I meant to personal message her. It wasn’t anything mean and didn’t involve any other specific person, but I expressed frustrations that didn’t belong on Facebook and that I didn’t even belong in a personal message but should have stayed in my own heart. I’ve been tormented by this post of mine because it did involve possible future employment for me, and I can’t stand thinking that I may have jeopardized that with a thoughtless post.

This isn’t an isolated incident. I’ve said many stupid things in my life, and I always relive them numerous times. You may think I’m being overly hard on myself, but I’m not so sure. Some of my finest moments have ventured into the realm of thoughtlessly cruel. Like the time my good friend whose daughter had just gotten married told me, excitedly, that her daughter was expecting a baby. “What?!” I responded, shocked at the speediness of the pregnancy announcement. And right then and there, I counted on my fingers backwards to her wedding date to see if it fit within the 9-months. Yes, that’s right, I counted! Right in front of my friend! What was I thinking? I obviously wasn’t.

Situations like these tend to torment me for a long time. (I still cringe when I think about counting on my fingers, and it was hard for me to type it out and admit it in public!) I’ve wondered why, when I seem to forget everything these days (those darn kids, killing my brain cells!), I remember in detail these kinds of interactions and why I replay them in my mind. I think I must need these memories to keep me humble. Maybe it’s better for me to replay the stupid things I’ve said than to fixate on my smart and witty moments.

In Alma 32, Alma talks to the poor Zoramites about humility. He promises that they will be blessed because they have responded to their afflictions with humility—their trials have compelled them to be humble. Alma then distinguishes between being compelled to be humble and the process of humbling oneself without being compelled. He says that this latter kind of humility is a result of faith and of a lack of stubbornness of heart.

We can get more insights into how to humble ourselves without being compelled by looking at Moses’ experience. Moses “never had supposed” that “man is nothing” (Moses 1:10) until he obtained some perspective on the world and his place in it and until he experienced and realized the magnitude of God’s glory and his reliance on it. So one key to humbling ourselves without compulsion is maintaining a relationship with God and a daily awareness of His plan and His grace and glory.

As much as I hate the replay in my mind, it does compel me to humility as I regularly realize that I’m constantly in need of repentance for the things I say and think and as I realize how dependent I am on God for helping me in my weaknesses (one of which, for me, is communicating via speech).

Do you also replay your weaknesses and moments of stupidity in your mind or are you able to let them go? What things compel you to be humble and in what ways are you working on humbling yourself, rather than being compelled?
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About Catherine Pavia

(Prose Board) has worked as a cherry sorter, file girl, piano teacher, writer, editor, and college professor. She currently works full-time as the art director, events planner, chauffeur, and referee for her four children. She spends a good deal of her time running—be it down the supermarket aisle after an escaped child, around the living room in a heated game of flag football, or on early-morning runs/therapy sessions with her neighborhood friends. She earned her BA and MA in English from BYU and her PhD in English from UMass Amherst.

3 thoughts on “Humble Pie”

  1. I do this to myself a lot. Run through all the times I have put my foot in my mouth over the decades. Something that helps me is realizing that I am ashamed at what I did or said then because I have grown and know better now. Also, I never sit and think about what others have said that may seem thoughtless. It may hurt me for a moment, but I forgive and forget for others far more easily than I do myself.

  2. Hey are using WordPress for your blog platform?
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  3. I do this all the time! And I cringe and want to hide. Rehashing those things in my head has actually kept me up at night. And I'm sure that the people I said them to don't even remember them! I never thought about the reminder as a way to be humble. That totally makes sense for me 'cause I can kinda be prideful and arrogant about somethings. Ha, then I get that little reminder that I'm not even close to being perfect. Thanks for pointing that out.


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