Have you ever felt like every direction you turn, you keep screwing things up? I made a mess at work recently – both literally and figuratively – and I felt that way. I wanted a do-over for the whole day.
The die-hard coffee drinkers usually beat me to the punch in the mornings and brew a big pot of caffeine first thing. However, I noticed when I went to the break room that the pot was empty, so I thought I’d be helpful and make a fresh batch. What I didn’t know is that the machine starts brewing as soon as you pour in the water; there is no Start button. I bet you can see where this is going: I poured in the water and then turned away to fetch the filter, when all of a sudden, hot water started spraying all over the counter!
Later, I made a mistake on a budget spreadsheet, and just when I was inwardly chastising myself because it was my fault entirely, a colleague encouraged me and said, “Relax, there are very few things that can’t be fixed.” And, sure enough, it was a relatively simple matter to reverse my error, just like it wasn’t the end of the world to sop up spilled water from the coffee maker.
We have a choice about how we deal with setbacks. We can throw up our hands in frustration, wallow in self-pity, or we can approach situations with an attitude of humility. Various translations of the Bible use the words humble, meek, gentle, and content interchangeably, but I like the way the New International Reader’s Version translates Matthew 5:5: “Blessed are those who are free of pride …” Humility is the opposite of pride.
Pride can prohibit us from being receptive to what God is trying to say or do in our lives. When our pride is wounded, it can stop us in our tracks when God wants us to move. It takes humility to own up to our mistakes, and I would suggest that it takes a healthy sense of humor to learn from them, as well. I don’t always do that well, but it helps to have reminders from others that there really are very few things so dire that we need to stress out about them.