Dealing with Embarrassment: A Full Moon on the 4th of July
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9
Cussing at Bible Study
This few weeks ago, I said a bad word. At bible study. In front of fifty high school girls. I didn’t even realize I knew that word until it came flying out of my mouth and was greeted with a roar of laughter. I’m usually extremely thoughtful with my words and attempt to present myself as a classy (yes, Audrey Hepburn-like) individual, so this surprise cussing came as quite a shock, especially to me!
For days, I was utterly mortified. I literally could not let it go. It was like a cloud of shame followed me the entire week afterwards, even after I had apologized. So finally, I prayed and begged God for forgiveness. I asked him to please take away the shame that I was unnecessarily consumed by.
As I journaled (prayer time for me usually involves journaling), I was gently reminded (once again) of how much I put my self-worth in what others think of me rather than who I am in Christ. I was reminded that God’s grace is plentiful (even for bible study cussers) and that sometimes our greatest embarrassments and worst failures turn into the most valuable lessons. And usually they become really good stories!
So in light of this important reminder, I thought I’d share a story with you…
A Full Moon on the 4th of July
Growing up, my family, along with several other families from our neighborhood, had a tradition of celebrating the 4th of July at the lake. My absolute favorite part about these weekends was driving the jet skis. The problem was, there were only two jet skis and at least 10 kids — all fighting for their turn. We quickly learned that getting to ride a jet ski required strategic planning, fast swimming, and tattling on Mark Goldblatt for hogging it.
One year (probably in 7th grade), my sister and I derived the perfect plan to make sure we got our turn. We ate lunch as fast as we possibly could. Then, with our hands still dusty and orange from the handful of Cheetos we had just stuffed in our mouths, we jumped off the dock. With the intensity of Michael Phelps we swam the 20 yards to where the jet skis were tied up.
Just as soon as we climbed onto that glorious, two-seater Kawasaki, we heard Mom yell from the dock, “Mallory, Morgan, you may not leave until you’ve let your food digest at least 30 minutes.”
30 minutes? In thirty minutes, everyone else would be done with their lunch and would want the jet ski too! We technically obeyed, because we didn’t drive off, but we refused to move. We had to guard the prize what we had rightfully earned.
So to pass the time, we decided to take turns sliding down the nose of the Jet Ski like a mini waterslide. After a few slides on my butt, I decided to try to slide down head first, on my stomach.
This seemed like a fabulous idea, until about halfway down when the waistband of my swimsuit bottoms got caught on the valve of the gas tank. Now, if I were to have just slide out of my swimsuit bottoms into the murky, brown water, that would have made a decent story. Unfortunately, I was not that lucky.
My swimsuit bottoms did not come off. Instead they hung on for dear life. To me and the jet ski. As I slide down towards the water, they rolled tighter and tighter. And tighter. Until I was suspended, upside-down by a wet, tangled swimsuit that was cutting off the circulation at my ankles.
If I were smart, I would have quietly asked Mallory to untangle me.
I was not smart. I was distracted. My face was 2 feet underwater and a large boat had just pasted by, sending Maverick caliber swells to attack me. (Ok, so maybe the were more like midsized ripples. Nonetheless, it was unpleasant.)
So, I panicked. I screamed and flailed, until my little sister could free me.
And I manage to successfully command the attention of the entire crew having lunch on the dock (which included mostly boys my age, one of which I had a huge crush on).
Very Audrey Hepburn, classy of me. Right? Not so much. I was mortified, tearful, and sick with embarrassment for the rest of the weekend.
I learned a very important lesson from my Dad that 4th of July.
He told me to laugh at myself. He told me to embrace my mistake and make a funny story out of it. And he even encouraged me to share it with my friends. So I did. (And I guess I still do!)
A Servant of Christ Laughs At Herself
Life is way to short to be embarrassed. We have been given a much greater purpose than to spend our days worrying about what other people think of us!
In Galatians 1:10 Paul ask this question: “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? … If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Personally, I think a servant of Christ rejoices in her mistakes. She is not ashamed to share stories of past failures and embarrassments and she laughs at herself when she moons the entire neighborhood on the Forth of July!
So what’s your story? Have you made a mistake recently that someone else could learn from? How has God been made stronger in your weaknesses lately? What have those experiences taught you?