I am aware of something I haven’t felt in a long time. I am worried my underbelly will be exposed. Maybe it is showing already?
I am worried that people will see me for who I really am and not like me anymore. I am worried that I will come to disappoint them or let them down or anger them in some way.
And, then it hits me, we are not moving this summer.
We have either moved or had a deployment every single year since 2009. And for the first time in 5 years, we are not facing a major life transition. In many ways, I am completely relieved and nearly giddy to know that I do not have to pack up a house this summer or say goodbye to my hubby.
But, there is something else that is rearing its ugly head. I am realizing that the longer I stay here, the greater my fear is that the people who like me now may change their mind. As I stay longer in one place, the initial first-impression wears off and I feel the pressure of continually having to prove myself. What if I fail? What if they don’t like what they see anymore? What if I anger someone unknowingly? What if I disappoint them?
It is kind of like those fabulous pair of new shoes that you wear the first couple of times and feel like a million bucks. After the 4th and 5th time of wearing them, they seem to have lost their novelty and charm and begin to blend into the other pairs sitting on your shelf.
What if the novelty of me wears off?
What if I just begin to blend in and people don’t want to know me anymore?
Wow! It is powerful for me to write this all down and get this into words. And, I must admit, I am surprised by my feelings. The fact is, I don’t generally grow self-conscious until someone begins to get too close. Meeting for coffee once or twice feels comfortable, but then during the first long dinner conversation I begin to feel tense and uncomfortable worrying that I am going to to say something that offends or that reveals that I am just as common as everyone else. Do you ever feel this way? Or, am I the only one?
I guess, when it all comes down to it, I like being the new person in the crowd. It’s a fresh start. A chance to make a new first impression. No one knows my history or who I was before or whether or not people liked me. They get to garner their own impression of me. And, hey, my fears of those first impressions go out the window knowing that usually it is often the new person that gets the biggest welcome! (I am speaking from my own personal experience here, your experience may be completely different.) My novelty wears off after we have been around for a while.
And yet, I am a child of God. None of that should matter! What I am to be has not yet been made known! There is more to come. I am promised that I shall become like him!
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And, that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But, we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:1,2
God sees my underbelly. He sees my ugly, my dirty, my messy, my out-of-control. He sees me in the darkest of moments, the moment when I am most raw and vulnerable. The moments when I have made, just maybe, the biggest mistake of my life! The moments I am too ashamed to talk about, and too weak to admit even to myself.
But, I am a child of God! He loves me anyway! Can I accept that? Can I truly accept His gift of grace?
I belong to His family. He is saving me a place in His mansion! He has created a room just for me!
My sweet 8-year-old and I just had a conversation recently about heaven. I am going to try my best to get it right, but seriously, I just melt at my sweet boy’s voice, dimples, and sheer enthusiasm for everything eternal, so I may not be able to capture it fully.
“Mommy, did you know that when we go to heaven we get to do whatever we want!” “Oh really? Well what would you do?” “I would play video games all the time!” “Well do you think God will allow video games in heaven?” “No, probably not.” “Yeah, I think you are right. It says in the Bible that we are going to worship and sing and prasie His name alongside the angels. Won’t that be amazing? We will be too busy spending time with God to play video games.” “Yeah! And I am going to ride on a Peregrine Falcon!”
Even my 8-year-old gets it! Eternity means no video games and taking flight on a Peregrine Falcon. The Peregrine Falcon is his favorite bird. He can tell you everything about it and even spot them miles up into the sky. He knows that God is saving a place just for him where he can worship His Creator and ride a Peregrine Falcon high in the sky.
May I have the faith of a child. May I believe today in the deepest parts of me that I am loved just as I am, and that I am a child of God. That even though first impressions wear off, and underbellies are exposed, He will still hold me close and call me His beloved. Amen