>This is a video clip from the drama group One Time Blind. I like their style and artistic approach. I will post a few more of their clips this week. Blessings, Angela
>(Updated: If you are just now reading this post, you’ll see there is an award of sorts in it…I want to clarify that the award was the one I chose for myself…not the one Linda chose for me. I have been learning a lot about myself this week)
Some days, I write well (just to warn you, this is not one of those days). Other days, I can barely write a cohesive sentence. Some days I write insightful posts, other days, I’ll just give you a link. But, there is one constant you can count on finding here at Becoming Me: Honesty. I’m not going to lie to you…ever.
So, please do not come up to me while wearing black capri pants patterned with florescent pieces of fruit and ask for my opinion, because I will tell you to change your outfit. I use those pants as an example, because I once owned a pair until someone begged me to never wear them again. And that’s one of the reason’s I started Becoming Me. No, not because of the pants that nearly landed me on What Not to Wear, but the part about learning from my mistakes and sharing the gleaned wisdom with others. I cannot do that without taking an honest look at myself and coming clean when I mess up.
During the past three weeks I have been inspired to take better care of my body and also to go on a spiritual journey of sorts. I began a 21 day Daniel Fast and then after Linda posted the 30X5 challenge on her blog, I told her that I was game… I thought the two went well together. And they do. But I didn’t do a very good job with either. Oh… I stuck to the fast, but I encountered some issues that I’ll post about tomorrow…or next week.
As for Linda’s challenge? I got this award:
I did not start the challenge.
I had good intentions and a decent plan of action, but I also welcomed every single excuse I could find to get out of those plans. When my kids got sick, I reasoned that they needed the extra time with me and even asked Linda if holding a 30 pound two-year-old on my hip for 30 minutes while swaying to soft music counted, because I was, afterall, moving. I also thought about asking her if I could count the 30-60 minutes a day I spend playing “Crash and Roll,” with my little boy. It is a game where he crashes his little body into mine and then we roll on the floor and repeat the fun insanity for about 500 to 1,000 times. But as far as actually getting myself in gear to excericise. I didn’t, because I really didn’t feel like it.
In the book of I Corinthains, Paul writes how the body of a follower of Christ is a temple/dwelling place of God, and how it should be taken care of and honored. Have you ever walked into a church building and heard someone say, “be on your best behavior, because this is the house of God?” In reality, every person who has accepted Christ as Lord and Savior is the house of God.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” I Corinthians 6:19-20
As I reflect on those verses, my unwillingness to exercise, and my attitude regarding food and some other issues, I realize that I do not always do such a good job of taking care of God’s temple. Lately, instead of doing the heavy-duty cleaning that needs to be done…I’ve been sweeping crumbs under a rug instead and saying, “Hey, this place doesn’t look so bad afterall.”
(This is another re-run, but if you started reading this blog after July of 2008, it will be new to you).
My husband’s grandmother, Mema, has filled several china cabinets with antique glassware. One cabinet in particular contains milk glass, which was very popular in the 1950’s and 60’s. Some of Mema’s collection always belonged to her, while other pieces she acquired at various sales. Some of the bowls, pitchers, and creamers in Mema’s cabinet are valued at more than $250.00, yet she never paid that amount of money for any of them. In fact, she bought several items for a few dollars each at local yard sales.
Whenever we visit Mema, she delights in showing me her newest treasure. It reminds me of the PBS program Antique Road Show where people wait for an expert to assess the value of their secret treasures. I once watched a lady nearly faint when a little glass egg she purchased for 50 cents was appraised at $2,000. I couldn’t help but think about the person who unknowingly exchanged a precious heirloom for pocket change.
Just as we don’t always know the value of material items, we don’t always grasp the value of our fellow man/woman. Several years ago, I volunteered at a local children’s hospital and spent time playing with and holding children who were victims of their own parents and guardians…the tiny baby addicted to crack; the little boy with two broken arms, and a 13-yr-old girl who attempted to end her life because she could no longer tolerate living with abusive parents, were children who my mind will never erase.
It is not only children who are abused and discarded. Broken hearts and lives take residence in every city, small town and village in every part of our world. Were you ever one of them? Have you ever walked around feeling as though you had a sticker on your back that read, “Free, just pick it up and take it away?” I have.
Rejection is everywhere. It lurks on the playgrounds, bus stops, school cafeterias, college campuses, workplaces, nursing homes, and churches. Sometimes the rejection is blatant and mean spirited dealt with a cruel remark or disapproving glare. And other times it is unintentional. Regardless the circumstance, it hurts.
But just as there are experts who, because of years of study and experience, are able to assign value to antiques, there is one expert who knows our worth. He has studied the human race from the moment Adam sat up and brushed off some of the very dust that was used to create him. Our expert knows every inch of us because He is also our creator. And the sign He puts on our back does not list a price, instead it boldly states “sold.”
We have been bought with a price that included two wooden beams, large nails, a crown of thorns and the blood of the mighty Lamb of God who was rejected by the ones He came to save. Anyone who tries to convince you that your value is lesser than priceless just doesn’t know what he’s looking at.
Christ is the living Stone. People did not accept him. But God chose him. God places the highest value on him. You also are like living stones. As you come to him you are being built into a house for worship. There you will be holy priests. You will offer spiritual sacrifices. God will accept them because of what Jesus Christ has done. (1 Peter 2:4-5 New International Reader’s Version)
(Due to a copy editing deadline, I will be reposting some of my older pieces for the next few days. This story is special to me, because it is the first story I wrote when I decided to begin writing again. I think that the subject matter (our words) is one to which all can relate. Although I do discuss some painful high school memories in this story, I’d like to stress that I harbor no old wounds. I’ve learned so much from those experiences and share only to offer comfort to others and assess how I have grown. It is all part of the journey to becoming.)
The burst of cool air was the only refreshment I felt when entering the auditorium. Anxiety over which puce plastic chair to choose overwhelmed me. I was careful not to sit near the “in crowd,” as I knew I was not welcomed. It was also important for me to not sit anywhere I could be spotted by class comedians, “Clown-Around Cal” and “Sarcastic Sam” (names changed to protect the guilty), for I was one of their favorite targets. I resigned myself to a chair close to the back of the room and near an aisle. If a quick escape needed to be made, I was sure to be ready.
“Today is the first day of the rest of your lives and when you are old, you’ll remember the next four years as your days of glory,” said high school guidance counselor Mr. D.
My life has got to get better than this, I thought as I crossed my legs and slumped forward, hoping not to be noticed.
Growing up in a small Northern town, I attended 13 years of school with the same kids. Those who shared crayons and blocks with me in Kindergarten became those who hurled insults and food at me from the fourth-grade until close to graduation. I identified with underdog characters in Hollywood coming of age movies like “Lucas,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “Never Been Kissed.” You know the movie, there’s always at least one kid who stands out like a blue velvet tuxedo complete with ruffled shirt. In my high school, I was one of those kids. Only for me, there was no day of redemption. No tearful apologies, no dream date to the prom, no first kiss after a football game, and no convicting speeches given in the cafeteria that ended with thunderous applause and a renewed spirit of unity.
For years, I spent most of my time trying to fix myself. I would wonder what was wrong with me and then go to extremes to amputate the culprit. I stopped wearing my glasses and I lost more and more weight until my size one jeans were loose around my waist. Since trying hard not to be noticed didn’t stop the verbal barrage, I tried to earn approval by excelling. I worked hard in school and earned leadership positions in various student activities. I joined the drama team and co-starred in plays. I even volunteered to serve on several outreach projects, after all, how could “they” hate someone who is good to others, I reasoned. I even tried to bargain to those who bullied with their lips; for exchange of just one day free of scorn I would do their English homework or clean their lockers.
Despite my efforts, daydreams, prayers, and pleas, the teasing didn’t end, not even for a day, not even for an hour. Books were still thrown off my desk, signs that read “I’m a dork” were taped to my back, feet continued to trip me as I walked to the front of the classroom, and worst of all, taunts echoed in my ears and in my heart.
I graduated high school with two goals: Number one: Get as far away from that town as possible; and, number two, find out what was wrong with me.
My life took a turn for the better at the Christian college I attended. It was there when the Lord provided me with friendships that last still to this day. Friendships that have drawn me closer to understanding the character and love of Jesus.
After college graduation, I moved to Orlando, Florida to pursue a career in public relations. This is a move that can be credited only to the grace and love of God. It was in Orlando where I continued to blossom into the woman God created me to be. There were many moments that can be written about, but one, very simple moment had a significant impact on my future.
My roommate and I were hosting a gathering of church friends and the subject of high school reunions was broached as several yearbooks were passed around. I mentioned that my fifth-year reunion was just around the corner and I had no intention of returning for the festivities. When asked to explain my strong feelings about skipping the reunion, I briefly shared that I was the local outcast.
My friend Eric, raised his eyebrow and incredulously questions “You?” “Kids made fun of you?” When I confirmed his suspicion, I braced myself for his next questions. Here it comes, I thought, he’s going to ask me what was wrong with me back then. When Eric started his question, I cringed, because it seemed like he was going where I thought he would go…only he didn’t. Instead, he shook his head and emphatically spat out the words “What was wrong with THEM?”
I gasped and it took every ounce of pride I had to refrain from leaping into Eric’s arms and hugging his Alabama neck. It was then on the living room floor of my first adult home when the truth behind the ugliness of high school finally pierced my heart. There wasn’t anything wrong with me. Sure, I had gone through a gawky phase. I walked funny in elementary school, and I made my share of social slips; but I did nothing to warrant the harassment I received. There was nothing wrong with me. There was, however, something wrong inside the hearts of my tormentors. Whether it was fear, insecurities, anger, grief, or pride, there was something wrong in their lives that enabled or propelled them to wound another individual.
It hurts to admit this, but there have been many times in my life when my words were no cleaner than the words spoken to me by my high school nemeses. Matthew 12:34 (NIV) states “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
So every time I speak a harsh word to my husband in the heat of an argument, every time I let a sarcastic comment slip out in a moment of frustration, every time I bellow in anger in the presence of my young daughter, in those moments there is something wrong with me, because there is something wrong with my heart. Regardless of how provoked or justified I may feel, I am still responsible for my own words. Words that I know are not easily forgotten.
Matthew 12:33-36 – New Living Translation
A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.