Just Got 2 Tell

Anything & Everything I Feel Compelled to Share with the World!

Beware the Pedestal January 2, 2014

Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family have definitely become a household name recently. My family watches the show at least once a week, even if we’ve seen the episode multiple times already. I have to say when I first heard of the show, I wasn’t too impressed. I really just put them in the category of all the other redneck reality shows the networks have been pushing. I admit I judged them by the cover. Then K-Love started talking about them and about their faith.

Duck Dynasty Teens, pic taken from Winterfest website

Moving in with my parents, the cover of the Robertson book was thrown open, and I ran to catch the bandwagon that had driven past. I was impressed by their faith and the ways they have stood by their faith despite the media pressures to be politically correct or edgy or whatever.

As I mentioned in my last post, I and a friend of mine went to Winterfest, two nights of concerts to bring in the new year. The entire thing started with a Q & A session with Sadie, John Luke, Cole, and Reed Robertson. They were real. They shared their faith, favorite verses, but at no point did it seem like they were doing it because it was expected of them. They didn’t give church answers; they shared from their heart. They had taken the examples of Mamaw Kay & Papaw Phil, as well as their parents, and made their family’s faith their own.

Now another thing I noticed at Winterfest was the serious fan club that surround these guys and Sadie. The two girls sitting in front of us during the concert had gotten up. I didn’t pay any attention to their departure, but they returned giggly and excited, telling the rest of their group, “I’m never washing this hand again. I shook hands with John Luke.”

I just want to encourage everyone to watch out for this attitude. Yes, these guys are, and this family is, worth admiring. But do not place them on a pedestal. They are pretty awesome people. They live out their faith, just as each of us are called to do. And they have been blessed because of that. But it’s very easy to fall into people worship, praising humans for the great things they do rather than their Maker who gives them to gifts and talents to do those things.

I found myself following that trail this morning. I was thinking along the lines of “how awesome of John Luke to be able to stand in front of thousands, telling them to get quiet, this is serious stuff, and share his heart and his faith. I wish I could be like that.” God quickly reminded me that I could be like that, that I have exhibited those same qualities, that I have stood boldly before others and shared my beliefs even when I knew they were contrary to popular opinion. I did not have the opportunity to stand before thousands and share those beliefs, but I did not flinch from the audience I did have.

That should be in the front of all of our minds. We admire the Robertson’s for standing strong and using Duck Dynasty and the opportunities that have arisen because of it as a witness to millions, but we are each given just as important of an audience, an audience that needs us to be strong in our faith, to be real.

So even while we get excited about getting to see or hear them speak, we need to pay a lot more attention to their message and remember we serve the same God, and we are loved equally (unconditionally) by that God, none of us are better or worse.

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Another note: this same thing applies to any Christian speaker, writer, artist, performer. They do great things, but so can we because the same God is at work in all of us.

 

Perspective October 19, 2013

Honestly, so much has been running through my mind this past week, things I would like to blog about or on, but I’ve kinda been busy and haven’t had much time to blog lately. I guess it’s like most everything else in life, it’s not about finding time it’s about making time. But now that I am sitting here blogging, the question is what do I write about first. I find myself wanting to talk about how weird I feel using the word blog as a verb, but I’ll refrain as there’s no lasting value there.

I actually started writing this post with a different aim, but after the events of this evening, I felt just a bit more compelled to talk about perspective.  It’s actually been on my mind for a while. It was even something one of my focuses when speaking to teen girls last month. But in the last week, God’s given a new realization of it, and after watching Soul Surfer tonight with a group of beautiful young ladies, Perspective shouted out at me once again. So I’m pretty sure I should stop avoiding the topic and just hash it all out for all to read.

Perspective is individual. We all have our own take on everything. It’s something I try to teach my students. When there is a problem I always want to hear from all involved. Each story has two (or more) sides, those sides are perspectives. Perspectives can also often be limited to what we can see, to how we are looking, how we are feeling, etc.

The event I spoke at in September, held for teen girls, focus was be-you-tiful. It wasn’t just about finding beauty but on being you, the person you are. Speaking as a female, we as a gender have trouble finding beauty in ourselves. I’m still not sure how or when it started, but we are very self-critical and can rattle off a whole list of things that make us anything but beautiful. But it’s due to our perspective.

The Bible is filled with verses that speak of our beauty, as a daughter of the King, so if I believe the Bible is the Spirit-breathed Word of God, then I have to believe that I am beautiful, even if I don’t always feel it.

Last year, after reading Stasi & John Eldredge’s Captivating, I began to pray for Jesus to show me my beauty, for Him to help me to see myself the way that He sees me. And He has. He’s done it in little ways over the year, revealed things about my character, my body that previously I had seen negatively.

Somehow it really seems to have culminated recently. It’s like all of a sudden I see myself so much differently. I’m also realizing that certain people have been telling the truth for years, even though I didn’t believe them. For instance the boldness I spoke of in It’s Finally Happened.

My best friend in the world lives all the way on the other side of the country. Bummer, I know. But we keep connected with 3 to 8 page emails, and I still have one she sent me detailing things I had done that she saw as bold and brave and courageous, no matter how meek, timid, and shy I feel I am. Perspective. Those things she mentioned such as spending a summer serving God in South Carolina and again in Texas, I had never seen them as bold. To me they were just the natural course of action for what God had told me to do. When I went to Guatemala in March of this year, so many thanked me for being brave enough to fly to far from home. It wasn’t scary. I didn’t feel courageous doing it. It was what I was supposed to do.

Now I see that what I have seen as ordinary things, others see as something so much different.

So I pose this question for you to ponder. How accurate is your perspective?

 

Watch What You Say July 31, 2013

Last week a good friend of mine, the author of The Adventures of Samuel, wrote a new post entitled “Chuckling with Children”.  He told of his week working with his church’s annual VBS, giving an account of several comical anecdotes of his time with the children.  Let’s admit it:  kids say the darndest things.  The largest percentage of my time spent doing one thing, is spent working with young children.  I love it, especially during moments when they say or do something that would fall into the category of “the darndest things”.

However this week, I was horrified at what came from the mouth of a student.  No, it wasn’t a curse word, those don’t frighten, nor surprise, me.  It wasn’t even a child telling of something shocking that their parents did.  We had just finished getting wiggles out before our Learning Circle, and one of my girls said, “My legs are ugly.”

Her Legs Are Ugly?!?!

What preschooler thinks that way?  I mean, we kinda expect teenagers to say things like that, young women, older women.  I’ll be honest, I enjoy being female, wouldn’t want to trade genders for the world. But women as a whole, at least as I’ve noticed in our U.S. culture, are terrible self-critics. There is a constant degrading of something about our own physical body.

I’m sick of it.  I can’t stand it.  This is something that I can honestly say that I abhor. Maybe because it takes my mind back to my most insecure years.

I love doing missions, serving others, loving on children.  Not just telling kids of God’s love but showing it to them because you don’t care that they haven’t bathed or brushed their hair/teeth recently, you hug on them and let them sit in your lap anyway. But I have to say my 10 weeks serving as a “Critter” with Mission Centers of Houston was not one of my best experiences, and it had nothing to do with the work we did or the people we served. It more or less boiled down to the 15 high school and college girls I shared a bedroom with. It was like the bedroom from Madeline, beds lining both walls, everyone sharing two bathrooms. What made it so difficult for this 200+ pound, recent high school grad was listening to much thinner girls saying “I’m fat”, “My face is too round”, “I hate my butt”, “Oh look at my bat wings”. Hearing these young women, who to my eye were much more beautiful than my fat self, berate their own body, my thoughts remained along the lines of, “Heaven knows what they think of me” the entire summer.

And I’m sure they never even considered the damage of their words, the effects it could and would have on others around them. Which leads me back to my beautiful, bright-eyed 5yr-old who said,

“My legs are ugly.”

This is not something a child just decides on her own. It is conditioned, and I highly doubt someone told her, “Those bug bites make your legs ugly.” No more likely a mom, grandma, or aunt made a thoughtless comment about the status of her own legs, something maybe along the lines of “Ugh, I hate these veins; they make my legs so ugly.” And my student’s mind connected the imperfections in the other persons legs to the blemishes on her own and equivalated that her own legs must be ugly as well.

Maybe this is just a continuation or rant of In the Pursuit of Happiness, but whereas that post was more or less geared towards changing our own thinking about our appearance, which is extremely important for our own well-being, we have got to start watching what we say out loud. Others are listening.  We never know what the person across the room, who is well within hearing distance, is struggling with, and when we make careless comments, such as “I’m so fat, I wish I could lose fifteen pounds,” you may not only be publicising your own poor self-image but also inlfuencing another’s.

Please make an effort to encourage and uplift one another, and also to encourage yourself.

And please know that You are BEAUTIFUL!!

 

In the Pursuit of Happiness July 24, 2013

Filed under: Christianity,Love & Life — Anna @ 11:24 PM

Oh the things that we, especially Americans, do in the pursuit of personal happiness. Granted, the majority of us do pursue our happiness without infringing too badly on others. But at what cost to ourselves?

We constantly fall prey to the adage “If you don’t like what you see, change it” most specifically in regards to what we see in the mirror. If you don’t like your face, throw some make-up on it. If you don’t like your body, hit the gym harder, or better yet try this ‘fool-proof, new, magic diet pill’. Don’t like your hair? Cut and color. Viola! And hey! If you happen to have money, there’s nothing you can’t change. Get fuller lips, smaller butt. You can even change genders.

I know. I just dove into shark invested infested waters, but hopefully I can clear my point before drowning or losing too much blood. The other day I found myself thinking about why someone would prefer to be the opposite gender that they were born. It’s just unnatural (obviously). Of course I cannot speak for anyone who has chosen this, but I’m pretty sure it really comes down t0 the fact that they are not happy with themselves the way they are and feel that they would be happier by changing their gender.

Yeah, I know. Incredibly profound. But think about for a minute. How many of us are constantly trying to change something about ourselves? No, it’s rarely anything as big as our gender, but a little concealer here to hide a wrinkle or a freckle, spandex there to hide some extra pudge.

Why can’t we just be happy the way we are? Or at least content. Happiness is not eternal. Joy is, and contentment can be, but contentment is a choice. Choosing to be content instead of wasting time, money, and energies chasing after what is only temporary.

Contentment is also an understanding. An understanding that what is happening to you, what you have (possessions or physical description), there is a reason for it. An understanding that God made you the way He did for a purpose. And since He made you the way you are with a purpose in mind, why try to change it. Instead of trying to change the way we are, why not try to change what we like?

Don’t like freckles? Learn to like them. Yes, it is possible to learn to like something. I absolutely HATED raw tomatoes for over 20 years (I would say my entire life, but mom says I did eat them before I started school). But slowly in the last few months, I have come to enjoy them. Changing our likes is not easy, but when does God ask us to choose the easy path?

I challenge you. Learn to love you for who you are.

 

**Disclaimer. Wanting to lose weight to be healthy and take care of your body is completely different from the desire for change described above. God calls us to be good stewards of what He has entrusted to our care, that includes our earthly vessel which is also His Temple. As Christians, His Spirit resides in us. So lose weight, get fit, not because you think it will make you happy, but because God has called you to.

 

It’s Just A Number April 29, 2013

I’ve always struggled with my weight. Since kindergarten, when a boy called me “slow-poke”. I’ve been through many failed attempts at getting healthy, though “healthy” was not always my goal. Many times I just wanted to be ‘skinny’ or at least ‘not fat’. But see, I’m cursed. I love to eat and I live in the South. And I grew up in a Baptist church. And my mother and grandmother are fantastic cooks. And I hate sweating and being hot, or at least I did growing up. And my favorite hobby was reading as opposed to athletics.

I admit, I cheated in P.E. when we had to run the mile every Friday. I usually only ran 3 laps instead of the required 4, but taking longer than 15minutes to finish meant running again on Monday. I didn’t like to run, not unless it was to get away from my brother or chase him down for some reason I felt was important then.

One of my biggest problems has been what I call ‘stick-to-it-iveness’. I’m really not sure if it’s a word or if others have used it as well or even claim a copyright on it, but I use it. I start something and do good for like a week then the motivation wanes and I fall back to old habits. The most I was able to stick to ‘getting healthy’ was in college. Oddly enough I didn’t have a problem with the Freshmen Fifteen, I’d already gained some from spending a summer as a missionary in Houston (those church people fed me well). Gym on campus was paid for by tuition, so I might as well get my money’s worth. By the time I had moved home Christmas ’07, I had lost 25lb. But being back home where their eating and activity habits hadn’t changed, those pounds slowly came back.

Moved out again two years later, was going to start afresh. Tried walking and running on the road, taking the dog with me. Beagles do not make good running companions. They always want to follow their nose, and plus my oldest (who was my only then) does great on the way out and most the way back until he realizes we’re close to home and then stops, refuses to walk. I thought at first he was just tired by then, but no. He didn’t want to be inside or on the chain. Can’t let him loose, too stubborn to come when called.

In September, I joined a gym that’s not far from the house and despite spraining my ankle and the typical overeating during the holidays, I’ve lost 29 pounds. Most weight I’ve lost ever. And I feel great. My right ankle is still weak, but it has come a long way from where it was. In November 2011, I started having problems with my knees, an annoying clicking sound when going up hills and stairs and pain after extensive use. Mild arthritis was the eventual diagnosis. I can’t remember the last time I took a pain pill for my knee, though the clicking is still there.

It’s different this time. I know it is because my focus for getting in shape is a lot different from just looking good or being ‘not fat’. My goal as I burn calories and push myself to run farther than I ran the week before is so that I will be ready and able to do that which God has called me to do. How can I be a wife and mother, taking care of others, when I can’t take care of my own body? There is no limit to what God may give me, to what He may ask of me. So if He asks me to take His love to the top of a mountain, will I be able?

It’s still a hard battle. Day by day. (step by step, day by day…..theme song to Step by Step from ABC’s TGIF, stuck in my head now) It’s a conscious choice every moment, and yes I fail. Still have failures everyday, but it’ll get better. One day I’m going to enjoy raw tomatoes, though I’ll always have to pass on that “mater samich” slathered with Duke’s mayo.

** Update July 31, 2013. I DO enjoy raw tomatoes now, though it is still better not by itself, and I have eaten a “mater samich” with a very small amount of Duke’s mayo.

 

I Left My Heart In Guatemala, Part II March 24, 2013

Filed under: Christianity,Jesus Christ,Love & Life,Missions — Anna @ 10:51 PM

DSCF2582I did not go on my trip alone.  I would have in a heartbeat, but I talked one of my closest friends, Suzanne, into going along with me. We went through World Help, an organization that partners with Christian organizations already in place in many countries in order to better provide the needs (physical and spiritual) of those there.

On Monday, March 11, our moms dropped us off at RDU for our flight out. Delayed almost an hour getting out of Raleigh, we had to book it across the terminal in Atlanta to barely make our flight to Guatemala. The adventure had begun. Upon landing, we met some of our group, the others coming on later flights. All in all there were 31 of us in our group. At least seven states represented, ranging from college students, to a mom and her daughters, to cousins+2dads. I commented later in the week how amazing it was that God used so many different situations, reasons, and motivations to bring us all there for the same cause.

Group Hospital Pic

We arrived at Hope of Life in Zacapa, Guatemala Tuesday around lunch, and got to work soon after handing out food bags in a village called Modelo, a village that came as a result of displaced families after a hurricane. We heard so many amazing stories of groups, organizations, churches that had raised/donated money to provide church buildings, schools, wells, etc. I cannot even begin to describe how overwhelming at times God’s power and provision were. Hearing Carlos (founder of Hope of Life) tell of how the money for St. Luke’s Hospital was raised, there is no doubt we serve an amazing God.

*I am finding myself wanting to give a detailed list of everything that we did, the order we did it in, where we went, etc. It’s part of my personality, all the parts are important, to not spare any details. It comes in handy when writing stories/books, but not as much when talking to other people, and it can make a blog seem wordy, though I’m pretty sure all blogs are wordy, unless they only consist of pictures, then they are ‘picturey’. Okay, bad joke, but in trying to give the details, it would come across more as a news article and the emotions would be lost. I do not want to lose the emotions of this trip, not at all ever. I think I experienced the full-range of human emotion in the three and half days we were at Hope of Life.

DSCF2697 Tuesday night I had the opportunity to meet my sponsored child, Greisi Yaneth. Greisi is pronounced the same as Gracie, which was my great-grandmother’s name. She & I both share July birthdays, and she wants to become a teacher, which I am proud to be. I will be honest and say that as amazing an experience as it was, it was still on the awkward side. It was my first night there, and my Spanish didn’t start rolling off my tongue until Friday, so communication was broken. But after praying for her for a year, I was able to hug her and look into her eyes and tell her I loved her.

I’ll take this time to plug in my awesome students. I love my job, even though it has it’s trying moments. Our theme before my departure was “Helping Others,” with a focus on helping parents, friends, and even people we didn’t know. They were excited to learn about Greisi and how Ms. Anna was helping her and was going to meet her. They made cards/pictures for her, which I was able to give to her, and have loved looking at this picture of me with her.

Wednesday, Carlos gave us a tour of everything at Hope of Life, a 3,000 acre campus/compound. Listening to him talk is something I could do all day, listening to what God has done, everything Carlos has done for the Kingdom. “First pray, Then act”.  “Cats don’t fall from heaven”. Great stories to hear, but would never sound right if I tried to type them. But to hear how it all started with a single vision to help the elderly, and now it serves thousands of people, elderly, orphaned, hungry, needy, battered, abandoned, hurting.

DSCF3014 DSCF2999

In one crazy long sentence, our team in Guatemala had the privilege of distributing 600 pairs of Toms shoes, washing little feet for them, packing and delivering 100,000 servings of food for 800 families, working in the warehouse packaging hundreds of pounds of toiletries, painting the inside of the baby rescue center, holding orphan babies, throwing a pizza/piñata FIESTA for the children at the orphanage, ministering to the elderly, loving on the special needs children, rescuing six children who needed medical care & most importantly….Spreading the love of Christ because He loved us first.

 

I Left My Heart In Guatemala, Part I March 19, 2013

So, I had every intention of  updating this blog before I left for my six day trip to Guatemala, had wanted to make it somewhat of a series.  A before and after kinda thing, but so much to do in so little time, and the blog became the last thing on my mind as the clock was ticking down.

I had been waiting for this chance for years, the chance to go to Guatemala on a missions trip. It’s a hard thing to explain, but I do know it’s a God-thing for sure. In high school I felt God calling me into missions, definitely a push towards more missions even as a student, but also towards foreign missions career. I don’t know if it was because of my intensity for studying Spanish in high school, but Guatemala somehow planted itself in my mind.  The idea of serving as a career missionary in a Guatemalan orphanage kept sticking in my head. By high school graduation that was the 20 year plan for my life: attend & graduate from Liberty University, meet Mr. Right, mission field to Guatemala.

Life never happens as we expect it to. I’m still single, and have yet to go out of the country on missions for longer than a week. I’m not saying God changed His mind about what I should do, or that I misinterpreted Him. Nope, I’m afraid to say that I chickened out. It probably wasn’t the type of cowardice normal people would expect me to have had, like afraid of being away from home, family, friends for so long, afraid of dangers in the foreign country. It was more of a fear of fundraising. I don’t know why, but I don’t like having to ask others for thing. I’m “Miss Independent, Miss Self-sufficient” (Kelly Clarkson). I guess it’s a pride thing, but I think I’ve come to see it as a self-worth thing as well, not seeing myself as important enough to warrant the giving of others. Anyway, God’s working on me with that. But long story short, I chickened out of an opportunity to go on missions to Guatemala and learn Spanish through immersion for a summer, and took the easier challenge of Summer Internship at the daycare I was already working at. Which probably started the chain of events and choices that led me to where I am now: lead teacher of an NC-PreK classroom, working to earn my B-K teaching license, etc.

But Guatemala has never been far from my mind, no matter what I’ve been doing, where I’ve lived, etc. I often think about it, pray for the nation as a whole, for the people, and specifically for its children. For the last year I’ve sponsored a little girl from Guatemala through World Help. And last March, while looking on World Help’s website, I found information about how to GO, a trip in March 2013.

Fundraising didn’t scare me as bad, but still there’s the whole “everyone’s always asking for support for this or that, they might not want to or be able to give to this” But I did it. I faced the fear and pushed through to the other side and was immensely blessed even before flying out of the country. Never did I expect to receive the support that I did, the care, encouragement, and prayers.

I’ll be updating again to share about everything that happened during the week. So stay tuned.

<>< Anna

 

God will answer January 18, 2013

Lately I’ve been convicted over and over regarding my pining for a husband, not just a husband, but the one that God has been planning for me since before I was born. God is a planner, an awesome planner, and I do love to look for His hand in things. I love that even when the first sin occurred God was already revealing parts of His plan to us for restoration to Him. (Yes, I get sidetracked. A lot.)

But friends and others around me are getting married and having children. Others are in relationships. Some I admit I feel no jealousy toward at all, but some do make me yearn and wonder when it will be my time.

Only God knows how many times I have given it over to Him. Again and again. The reason I have to keep re-giving? Because I keep taking. I let Satan worm his way into my mind, believing him when he says I’m all alone, I have no one. That I am incomplete without that ring on my finger. In the garden Satan convinced Eve that God was holding out on her, that there was more for her outside of His will for her, that it would be better if she took control of her life and made her own choices. I do NOT want to fall prey to Satan any longer. I will not search for my own way, search for my own romance, my own husband.

This morning as I felt the longing for marriage again, it hit me. Really hit me. Whenever I find myself pining for that man, for that human relationship—intimate & good and godly as it may be—I am telling God that He is not enough.  In that moment, I’m telling Him that His love for me is not enough for me, that I need more.

And as I confessed this to Him, and asked forgiveness, He answered. Not the answer that many would expect to hear, but an affirmation that I was/am heading in the right direction.

How did He answer? Two songs back to back on Pandora.

“None but Jesus” by Hillsong United

There is no one else for me.
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

and then “All I Need” by Shawn MacDonald

All I need is Your love
To come and fill this heart of mine.

All I need is Him. All we need is Him. Nothing else. Nothing but Him can make us whole. Nothing but Him can make us complete. Only God and His love can fill the longing, the cravings, the desires that are within us. Because that is how He created us, to need Him, to long for Him. To crave Him.

 

Proverb 31 Woman, who could possibly be? January 2, 2013

Filed under: Christianity,God,Jesus Christ,Love & Life,Spiritual Growth — Anna @ 11:15 PM

Let’s see if I can get something coherent from my minds ramblings. Sometimes when I’m thinking on something, something I’m not so sure of, or not certain how to interpret, understanding sometimes just washes over without being in clear words or coherent paragraphs. Trying to get a handle on the Proverbs 31.

This woman described in Proverbs 31 is busy, from pre-dawn to most likely post-dusk. We know she sleeps at some point, as it says “she rises early” thus she got a few winks of sleep. She buys land, plants vineyards, makes clothing, cooks for her family, gives to the needy, etc. She does SO much. But I think it’s also important to look at what she doesn’t do or doesn’t have in order to see the correct context.

She didn’t have TV, cable/satellite, movies, computers, internet, sports, team practices, phones (much less cell phones), or books. Now please do not think I am trying to suggest throwing these things out and living a simplistic lifestyle. There are good and bad things with each of these advances in society, but think of the time each of them take up. How many TV shows and movies do we get caught up in? How long do we spend chatting, emailing, browsing facebook? How long are we on the road traveling each day?

This woman would have most likely traveled by food, therefore never traversed as many miles as we trek daily in our SUVs and compact cars.

There were no books. Scriptures and other writing was done on scrolls. These were not available in every home. There were no weekly Women’s Bible studies. No Beth Moore, Angela Thomas, Kelly Minter, or any of those. She wouldn’t have spent the time that we do, or are told we should in personal Bible study. I’m not saying she didn’t have quiet times, or prayer time with God (though it’s not explicitly stated And which do you think is more important, studying God’s Word or making a dress?).

She wasn’t concerned about foreign affairs, missions in lands she’d never go to. She didn’t worry about the rising gas prices, health insurance, college tuition. She wasn’t able to encourage a friend living 3,000miles away or pray for people/situations outside of her immediate circle.

It seems like she does so much and yes she does. But what do you do? Everyone of us do a lot. We live in a busy an hectic world. We are constantly pulled in multiple directions, our attention needed by work, friends, family, spouse, children. We wake with ‘to do’ lists running through our head and probably never make it to bed with those lists completed. We read Proverbs 31 and think “wow this woman had it all together” and don’t you think that’s exactly what Satan wants us to think?

Isn’t it just like us as women to get a glimpse at another woman’s life and think she’s so much better than us? Our own insecurities and failures keep us down so much, we forget that the other woman and ourselves are equally and immensely loved by the same God, no matter what our lives look like.

How much do you want to bet that if she actually existed that Proverbs 31 Woman would have thought she was failing drastically in some aspect of her life (if not many other areas)? I think that’s in our nature, to always be striving for more. In a way I know that’s how God made us. He wants us to strive for more. More of Him. He wants us to want more of Him. We are imperfect people in an imperfect world, loved by a perfect God who tells us ‘be holy for I am holy’, who calls us to follow Him. Therefore we strive to do more, to be better.

We can and we should aim to be better, but we will never attain perfection. Not in this lifetime.

 

Embarrassment October 6, 2012

Filed under: God,Love & Life,Spiritual Growth — Anna @ 10:44 AM

After a particularly embarrassing snafu I made recently, I found myself wondering about that particular emotion. What is the purpose of embarrassment? Why does it come with that strong desire to run and hide from everything & everyone? Being a preschool teacher, one of my hugest responsibilities is to teach young children about emotions and also how to manage them. Yes, I feel this is even more important than learning their ABCs, 123s, and how to read or write. My first goal is to make learning fun, to inspire a love for learning, but my second goal is social skills. If a child is unable to appropriately deal with his anger, he’s going to miss a lot of learning time, not only that but he’s also probably going to have problems making friends. And everyone knows that school is no fun when you have no friends; thus he’s going to hate school (yes it’s a strong word, but very appropriate) and hate learning, and when you have an attitude like that your course is set for failure.

So all of that to say that we recently explored feelings in my classroom, and whenever we do that I analyze the subject deeper than the children can quite understand. I’ve got to get out of the vagueness that we typically define emotions as and find something concrete for the four-year-olds to understand.

And now I was thinking about embarrassment. Well the answer to my question came just this past week. Embarrassment can be is humbling. That I do know. Embarrassment usually comes after being wrong or doing something wrong or the wrong way. It’s not just after a mistake, but after you really thought you were right and also when someone points it out to you that you were wrong or the mistake was done in front of others.

Not everyone experiences embarrassment to the same degree, and of course mistakes themselves vary in degrees as well. It is my belief that those who struggle with perfectionism and also pride (anyone who does struggle with ‘have to be right, have to be perfect’, also has a pride issues, it’s just a given), these people have the worst time with embarrassment. Insert me into the picture. God is working with me on this, but it’s a long battle.

What to do about embarrassment? Learn. Learn that it’s not the end of the world. Learn that mistakes happen; no one is perfect. Let me repeat that: NO ONE IS PERFECT (except of course Jesus Christ).

One of my more embarrassing moments of middle school was tripping over the metal track in a door frame and falling flat on my face. Not that one was not just embarrassing, but when all those around me laughed, was made humiliating as well. I was the smart kid, the good, well-behaved, star student. I didn’t fail. And failing to walk properly did not work for me and perfectionist mindset. I still remember my face getting tomato-red and walking the rest of the way to class with my head hung low.

Fast forward twelve years. People in my life are not as mean now. Sure the world is full of mean people, but we’re not forced to share the same space anymore, not like we were all required to go to school. So when my feet/body/ankle recently forgot how to walk, humiliation was not a factor in my emotions.

The concern and compassion of those around me when I fell shouldn’t’ve surprised me, as I was at church (We as Christ-followers should have compassion on others, as Christ had compassion on others). But still, I’m used to showing kindness to others and giving help. It’s an entirely different thing to be on the receiving end.

It’s humbling to have to rely on others to get the car, or to get inside the house, etc. Embarrassing? Yes, especially if you pride yourself on your independence, on taking care of yourself. But it’s better when you can make light of it and laugh about it. I’m sure those in the emergency care waiting room thought I was crazy or doped up on pain killers as giggly as I was hopping in there Sunday morning & leaning on mom for support. But better laughter than tears.

For anyone struggling with embarrassment (I’m probably writing this more for myself than anyone else), remember it’s going to be okay. Mistakes are part of life: forgive, forget or learn from, and move on. Don’t dwell on your past mistakes. Don’t allow Satan to keep bringing them up just so you’ll feel horrible and miserable. One last thing:

Don’t take yourself too seriously, no one else does.