Not My Proudest Moment
Today I got one of those calls. You know the one, you answer the phone and listen while someone yells at you because they misdialed and think you’re someone else.
The poor man on the other end of the phone was huffing out his disgust and anger at how some software he’d got didn’t work, and I couldn’t get a word in to stop him. When he’d run out of ways to say how dumb the product was, he started throwing in completely irrelevant facts like how he was a goat farmer. I can only guess that he believed telling me he was a goat farmer would stir some deep empathy in my soul and further my belief that he had been deeply wronged.
I smiled. I was pretty sure his issues were deeper than the difficult time he’d been having on his computer – goats are not easy to deal with.
Most days my sympathy level would have been pretty low, but today was different. I’d had my own meltdown on Monday; and in some weird way, I related to this poor farmer of goats.
At the time of my own crisis, I blamed the ugly mass of leaves in my backyard, but in reality the leaves had very little to do with why I had been sobbing uncontrollably earlier in the week.
My real reasons, whether valid or not, had a lot more to do with something called life:
Number 1: I’d had a toothache for nine months. (This involved a long journey for tooth #13 which included all manner of torture. My poor little chomper had been ground out, filled up, shaved off, pushed, tapped, frozen, nerves sucked out, filled up again, and finally capped. NOW I had a sinus infection; so that whole side of my face STILL hurt.)
Number 2: My hair stylist went on maternity leave, and her replacement over processed my hair. NOW my hair was cracking off 2 ½ inches away from my scalp, and what hadn’t already broken felt like a pile of straw that’d sat out in the wind and snow all winter. Every time I thought about the two years it was going to take to grow my hair out, all I could picture was me two years older. (I insert this note only because I know you all expect me to be bald. They have this amazing new product in salons called synthetic cuticle which can be put into your hair to repair it. I was praying for a miracle, and my faith was smaller than a mustard seed, but God answered anyway. I still have hair.)
Number 3: The wall in my living room was leaching some old glue stain through the paint, and NOW I’d have to seal and repaint it. I hate painting!
Oh the list went on and on, but these were the toppers; and I started bawling. In the middle of it all, I felt ashamed of myself. This was not my proudest moment, and I’d be totally embarrassed for people to see me in full swing at the crying thing. So I tried to stop. Here’s how I tried to stop. I heaped on guilt by telling myself the following things:
Number 1: You big baby. Your teeth don’t hurt that bad. Think of all of the prisoners of war who had to sit in agonizing pain for years without so much as an aspirin.
Number 2: You’re lucky to have any hair at all. What if you had cancer and all of it fell out?
Number 3: You have a house, and yet you complain about the chores that go with it.
Number 4: Remember that article you read about child brides? Why do you EVER complain about anything?
As the pile of self-reproach pushed me down, my sobs increased. Now I could add guilt to feeling overwhelmed. Then God whispered, I didn’t create you to live in a state of guilt. I love you even when you’re not perfect.
I don’t tolerate people who feel sorry for themselves very well, and so more than ever, I needed God to love me in this, my most ugly stage. Like a drowning woman grasping for a life preserver, I dried my tears. God in His great mercy loves me EVEN when I’m unattractive and pitiful. He alone has the power to pull me out of that state of self-pity and make me beautiful.
I wanted a verse to hang these thoughts on, and here is what I found. “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.” I John 3:20 – 21
Even when my heart is telling me I’m rotten, God is greater; and my salvation is secure. My condemning heart can be silenced, and I have the privilege of going to God with confidence that He will and does hear and answer my prayers. Even when I have a hard time loving myself, God still loves me and calls me His own.