Humble pie, anyone?

I know the recipe, I can give it to you if you’d like it.

I know the phrase is normally used in a sarcastic context, but I’m talking serious humbleness here.  I just had a conversation with a famous actor from Quest and humble pie was definitely being served (with a side of strawberry sacrifice).

I am someone who has a hard time saying “no” sometimes, but in general, if I’m commited to something, I’m there all the way.  I tended to do a lot of behind the scenes, backstage stuff in theatre in college and high school.  That’s my niche.  I absolutely love putting something together that is in pieces and in the end seeing it put together for others to enjoy.  I can’t stress enough how much I LOVE that.  I’m not looking for the applause, the glory, the fame, the compliments, etc.  I’m looking to help bring a smile to someone’s face, to bring something of quality to someone in the audience, to take care of the minute details so that an individual or group of people can enjoy the product without any distraction.  This is why I spent hours coming up with a house management manual for Eastern, this is why I went to weekly production meetings for shows, this is why I checked bathrooms to make sure they were clean, why I stacked my car with cookies and drinks from Costco, this is why I scrubbed coffeemakers, this is why I endured paper cuts while folding hundreds of programs for shows…for the end product that I might not even know about, but affected someone.

Likewise, this is why I do what I do in Quest.  For the kids, their parents, for God, for the volunteers, etc.  I send out a weekly email to our team with the schedule and small group lesson for the coming Sunday.  I try to put in some kind of challege from something Pastor Steven said in a blog or his sermon or something that happened in our room that makes what we do worth it all.  I don’t do it to make myself sound eloquent, I want these volunteers to feel like they are appreciated and they matter.  I feel like this email is almost a part of my ministry to others, to the volunteers.  I take is very seriously and since I do enjoy writing, I love doing the email and apparently they are good enough to be examples for other team leaders.  I don’t say that to boast, but to put it out there that a compliment, a word, anything can go a long way in personalizing something that feels huge and impersonal. 

Back to the humble part of it all.  I take compliments hard.  I accept them willingly and freely and happily, very appreciative of them.  I just sometimes add on “I’m just doing what I need to do.”  or “It’s not a problem.”  And I’m serious about both of those addendums to my acceptance of a compliment.  I mean them with my heart and soul – nothing ever involving kids or God are a problem and I will always try to do what I need to do.  The thing is, I’m not “just” doing anything.  I’m doing something to help save a life, further faith, bring peace to someone, etc.  Likewise for any other volunteer out there.  You’re not “just” working on the parking team, you’re not “just” setting up or tearing down, you’re not “just” greeting people.  You’re doing something the Lord empowered you to do in His name and no one should say otherwise.

My point is this: believe in what you do, feel appreciated because you are by me even if you don’t hear it personally or from anyone else (and if you do hear it from others, take the compliment well!!), and remain humble.  Find that balance.  For myself, I know with my personality, I’m always going to give 100% and when a compliment might arise, I’m still going to feel like I’m giving my all, that it is nothing out of the ordinary.  I need to learn to take them better and REMOVE the word “JUST” from my responses.  I need to realize for myself that while I am doing what I do for others and for the Lord, I am using my abilities and gifts to do so – these are things that I have been gifted to do.  It isn’t “just” something I do.  This particularly applies if you have found what you do best and where you best fit with.   If you have found that colunteer position where you feel you can use your abilities and can help accomplish the mission of that area, that ministry, then you are not “just” doing something.  You are a huge and important part of something larger than yourself (keeping that humbleness in check!) and you help make it happen.

So:

Take the compliments well, accept them with a smile and know you are appreciated.

Don’t respond with “I’m JUST doing what needs to be done.”  You aren’t “just” doing anything.  You’re working hard to accomplish something for an eternal reward. (Sidenote: If you’re feeling like you’re “just” doing something, you’re probably feeling obligated, so get out of it and find something you love!)

Pass on a compliment to someone else this week.  It feels good.

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2 thoughts on “Humble pie, anyone?

  1. Grandmother says:

    Good message, Lindsey. I should have learned it earlier in life (I’m 72). I find it hard to graciously accept a compliment. Hopefully I’ll learn from your article.

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