When it comes to eating humble pie, I’ve had more than my share. If I never ate another slice, I’d be okay with that. But that possibility is highly unlikely. In fact, just the other day I was told by a friend – who happens to be a therapist – to expect something humbling to find its way into my life every day. His insight came right after a piece of humble pie had come my way just a few hours before.
I had just finished the main part of my morning routine at the gym when one of my friends asked if I was done with my workout.
“Na, not yet,” I said. “I’m on my way to swim some laps.”
“Really. I’m impressed,” my friend remarked.
“Don’t be, I only swim 6-8 laps.”
“Wow, that’s great!“ my admiring friend replied.
With a new found sense of my greatness, I headed off to the pool to finish my workout. I was feeling good until a thought hit me somewhere around length three. That’s right – length three. Not lap three.
You see there’s a difference between a length and a lap. A length is swimming from one end of the pool to the other end. A lap is swimming to the other end and then back again to where you started. A length is half of a lap. I don’t actually swim 6-8 laps. I swim 6-8 lengths. Half of what I had told my “Wow! I’m impressed” friend.
By the time I hit length four, that still small voice (that I’ve written about before and I’ve told you to listen to!) spoke to me about how I had exaggerated my accomplishments. Something inside me that looks to others for affirmation had misrepresented my abilities. It wasn’t intentional, and it wasn’t a big deal, but still… it was a lie. I don’t swim eight laps in the pool. I’d probably die if I tried!
Now the question became – what would I do about it?
I decided to keep on swimming. I passed my usual limit of eight lengths. It was my penance. I put in ten lengths hoping for relief from my little white lie. But relief didn’t come.
I stopped after ten lengths and hung onto the side of the pool knowing I was faced with a choice. Would I let pride or humility take control? Would my love for God show itself in my words and actions? Would I be a person of integrity? Would I take the Lord’s brother’s advice when he said, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up” (James 4:10)? Would I eat another hard to swallow but nutritious piece of humble pie?
It was a good moment for me. Before I left the gym, I texted my friend and wrote: “Correction. I don’t swim 6-8 laps, I swim 6-8 lengths. “ Simple. To the point. But conscience-clearing and integrity-building.
Immediately my friend wrote back and said, “Dave, the distinction didn’t even register with me…”
Even though it was a pretty trivial thing, God is pleased when we do what’s right after doing something wrong. And progress is made in becoming the person God longs for me to be.
by David Gudgel