Green: The pain of finding out (once again) I'm not perfect

Renae Green column

A couple of days ago, I discovered something about myself. I’m not perfect.

Actually, I’ve discovered that before. Many times. Too many times to count. One of the great things about living a long life is that there’s always time for new discoveries. In my case, there’s always time to screw up. Again.

A few days ago I said something to another person that hurt her feelings. And it totally would have hurt my feelings if someone had said it to me. I didn’t say it to be hurtful, but of course it came out that way, and of course she was offended. I wish I could push the rewind button and make those words not come out of my mouth, but I can’t.

So, I did the next best thing. I apologized. I owned up to my mistake, took responsibility for my actions, and asked for forgiveness. I’m sure she’ll grant it, eventually, because she’s amazing and kind and gracious. In the meantime, she’s still hurt, and I feel like the lowest amoeba that attaches itself to the most disgusting, green, slimy scum at the bottom of a garbage can.

One good thing about being me, and jumbling things up so many times, is that I’ve nearly perfected the art of the apology. Once upon a time, I’d just get defensive if anyone dared be offended by anything I did. I’d pull out a laundry list of the other person’s faults and throw them like hand grenades. I’d cry and play the victim and do whatever I could to deflect the attention from my blunder.

But then, life humbled me.

One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is that, one way or another, humility will come my way.  I’m supposed to do that myself. If I choose not to humble myself, life will do it for me. It’s a whole lot harder to be humbled by our circumstances than it is to just suck it up and admit our flaws. 

Why is it so hard to just admit we’re wrong? We have lapses in judgment. We get confused, we miscalculate. We lose our tempers, cram both feet in our mouths, and make awful boo boos. More often than not, our flub-ups affect other people. When we own up to our mistakes, most people are willing to forgive and move on. Even if they don’t, we’re less likely to repeat our bloopers if we acknowledge them.

One of my favorite least-favorite verses in the Bible is found in Romans 12:3. It reminds us to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to, but to be modest in our self-judgment. So right here, right now, I’m announcing to the world: I’m a hot mess. I’m more likely to screw up than to get it right. I may make it to the finish line, but I’ll probably come in last place, skinned knees, out of breath.

The good news is that the more often I admit my weaknesses, the more often I actually get it right, where it counts. Because at the end of the day or the end of my life, it’s not about how great others think I am. It's about how great others feel about themselves, when they’re around me. It’s not about how much I’m loved, but about how well I love. Humility helps me put others first instead of myself, which helps me love them better.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up,” James 4:10.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com