Life is full of humbling moments, and I seem to be "enjoying" my share these days. You know, the ones where you call someone out for a mistake and then make the same mistake the next day? About that.
I am ever learning to keep my words sweet, lest I need to eat them later. The challenge lies in calling out the best in others without coming across as though I, myself, am perfect. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Proverbs 27:17 reads, "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." As much as I want to be the iron that sharpens others, sometimes I, too, must be sharpened. And that's humbling. I learn best from those sharpening experiences which leave me feel as though someone has imparted wisdom to me - not the ones where I leave feeling embarrassed or like I just screwed up one more thing.
And I'm learning. I'm learning that it's OK to be on both sides of the sharpening tool. I'm learning to be careful with hearts. I'm learning the power of words - something we start learning at a very young age, but don't fully understand until many years later. I'm learning the value of friends who call out the best in me and invest in me.
Another verse that comes to mind is 1 Corinthians 10:12, which says, "If you think you are strong, you should be careful not to fall." I picture a runner falling on the track, or a bodybuilder suddenly dropping the weights previously lifted so easily. Can you imagine how humiliated they might feel? How important it would be in such a moment to have members of your community who can say, "I've been there!" - and mean it!
Last week, I wrote here about my disappointment with the support my daughter received/didn't receive. And within days, I learned that I had failed to support a dear friend through a very hard chapter. Sure, I noticed her absence in our usual circles - but when I asked, I was told she was investing some time in relaxation and yard care. And I assumed she had chosen another circle on Sundays. There's that word "assume" again ...
The truth is, she lives less than a 5 minute drive from my home. The truth is, I should have knocked on her door and asked her directly where she'd been. The truth is, I need to be better at sending text messages instead of using my phone for social media. The truth is, I am now on the other side of the sharpening knife. And it stings a little.
So I continue learning. I'm learning the true definition of grace. I'm learning that grace must be given before it can be received. Last week, I rebuked the spirit of bitterness, knowing that I may well be the next person to let my community down. This week, I am so grateful that grace is like the water in a decorative fountain: it is continuously drawn up and poured out again.
To all of my "sharpening" friends: Thank you! Thank you for grace, and for seeing the shine underneath my rough exterior. You are treasures, buried deep in my heart.
Blessings to each of you today.