Old Lessons New

s    “What is that you’re afraid of?”

Marty sits cross-legged on her couch, leaning toward me. I’ve had several invitations recently to speak to women’s groups, so I’ve come seeking her advice, knowing she has much more experience than I do teaching large groups of adults. Genuine friend that she is, she cuts to the heart.

I drop her gaze and squirm in my seat like a four-year-old.

What am I afraid of? Tears well and my heart gallops. Obviously something. Minutes tick.

    Breathe, Beth.

“I’m scared,” I whisper, lungs tight, “I’m scared of being known. I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing, giving the wrong impression, doing something that will damage my credibility and message.”

And a familiar dragon, long sleeping, raises its deadly head.

You see, for a lot of my life, I was my own manager. Everything I did, everything I said was carefully calculated to mask imperfections. And to mask the real me. Oh, how I would panic when the sticky ugliness would seep through the chinks in my armor. And all the energy I wasted in trying to cover it up…

I was a leper, diseased under years of filthy bandages.

And then one day a few years ago, quietly, quietly the bandages came off. I did nothing but let them go. Truth poured like liquid fire over me, raw, tender and healing. It burned and it cleansed and it opened my eyes wide.

    And now I remember old lessons new.

This is not about me. I am not in control. God hasn’t asked me to be likeable; he’s asked me to be faithful. He makes all things beautiful. Even my mess.

Down, dragon. Down!

So throughout this spring and summer, my mess and I will be showing up at women’s luncheons and retreats and wherever else the doors swing wide. And for a month in the early fall, we’ll travel with our groupies (a.k.a. the family) all the way to Papua New Guinea.

And I pray that I will stand before all of these precious ladies in my healing imperfectness, pink and tender and vulnerable to the Spirit of God. And, together, we will learn.

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