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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