Last month, as a result of my poor planning and a sour attitude, I had to eat a heaping helping of humble pie. I even called and apologized to someone not involved in the situation because I felt so convicted about the state of my heart on the matter. Without being too revealing, I over-booked myself and was asked to serve someone who was in need. Even with being over-booked, I don’t normally have an issue with this. But the person in question had offended my sense of justice at our last encounter.
After the incident, I sat back to question how often I gripe when asked to serve. Do I sign up and hope to never be called upon… only wanting my name to sit on the list of volunteers and look pretty? When asked, do I only serve if I like the people around me? And do I make note of how awesome MY actions were when later asked how things went?
Now look, there isn’t anything wrong with needing a thank you from time to time, but to do something and then run around lauding your work isn’t cool. I love this quote from Jodi Detrick in her book:
“Unlike Jesus, who was willing to wait for His good deeds to be exposed at the right time, I want others to know what I did now – I’m so quick to trade the approval of God for the praise of people.”
I read this right after my own incident and I felt really, really convicted. I’ve been trying to get away from this mindset that I need to be praised and cheered for each little thing I do in volunteer organizations. Because, um… if you’re volunteering, it should be with a pure heart. And foolishly, up until a few weeks ago, I thought I was doing pretty well! While complaining about all the work I put into a newsletter I write, only to have “no one” read it, a friend pointed out to me that I took the position to be a member of the ministry team. Not to get published. Ouch. She was totally right. And I was embarrassed that that was how she thought I was viewing it.
I sat back and thought over my commitments and really took stock in my motivation for doing things. And I’m glad. Every now and then you do need to reassess and I realized that I had let myself take a little too much of my self worth from all the things I was involved in. That’s not where it comes from. I feel like every time I reassess, I find something about myself that is in need of work. But then, that’s the whole point of taking the time to do this. Now, when I catch myself getting disgruntled about volunteer work or service, I know it’s time to check myself. Which, because I’m getting smarter about it, the internal ick isn’t where it used to be. Hey! Progress! And progress is the ice cream that goes along with my humble pie. I like ice cream.
“… but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2b