Have you ever had anything embarrassing happen to you?
I shouldn’t have to wait long for you to say yes.
Ahh embarrassing moments. I usually hate them in the moment, but they sure can build character in you. That doesn’t mean I like going through them, for the most part, but they do have a way of revealing what you are like under your skin.
You can feel pretty confident in your day, and then one of those moments comes along. All of a sudden, you are put into a position where your true identity kicks in. What will you do? Will you react and deflect, trying to blame someone, or will you boldly laugh at yourself to allow others to enjoy the moment as well?
Either way, it’s hard. Let me share with you one of those moments I had, that I feel went beyond embarrassment to down right shame.
My Bad Moment.
To say high school was hard for me would be an understatement all to big. I think I could be the star of one of those movies where the kid gets picked on so badly that the watcher feels uncomfortable watching. Then they get redeemed in their adult life, only to go back to their high school and be forced to work out their memories.
You know how it goes. The main character has to decide how they want to act. Do they get back at the bullies, or do they take the high road?
Well this happened to me. But let’s just say, what happened took a twist.
After High School
After high school, I went to Bible College. After graduation, I became a youth pastor. It was my big moment. I had dreamed of being one for years. My first church was a small one, but I got to know everyone quite well. It also just so happened that the students in my youth group attended my old High School.
Youth ministry was about doing life with the students. I loved it. “Never do anything alone” was my discipleship tag line. If I could do something in my life, I would take a student, for them to see how Christians should do things. I was no where near perfect by any means, but I tried to live a life worth following.
What this meant was I also wanted to get in the lives of the students. So now that many of them were in my old High School, where my past had been rough, I had to find myself entering into that life once again, meeting them at school and even interacting with many teachers and students.
One such opportunity was different. One of the leaders from the Christian group on campus, (Thanks Inter-varsity Christian Fellowship for all you have done for so many), asked me to speak at a big rally they where having, during school hours. I was apparently the big pastor guy that came out of the school, so it was as if I had a story to tell. Well I did. I accepted the opportunity, and with prayer and preparation, I went to speak on the memorable day.
The Moment 😬
Feeling that God had brought me through much healing to this point, I stood up in front of the students. Only a few hundred. I started to speak to them by introducing myself. I had this great outline to show how God can help those who struggle in High School to have a great future ahead, such as I was living. But it only took a few moments to get into the talk, explaining my difficulties in the very school I was in, when the moment would get me.
I guess that I had not healed as much as I had thought.
As I described my high school life, standing in the large cafeteria where I had faithfully been picked on by so many students, the reality of my past life and present came together.
I flat out wept. I started crying uncontrollably in front of many students and teachers. I was a weeping mess. I know now that my identity was so wrapped up in those moments of insecurity, that as soon as I opened the can, all of the worms of my emotional torment came back.
I must have cried for a million hours that faithful lunch day. But at one point, I just finally pulled the curtain on myself and left. It was probably the worst speech in history.
What I Learned.
This was not only embarrassing, but terrifying. My identity was completely up for grabs. I didn’t know who I was anymore, and any confidence I had grown in, went flying away. I was at ground zero of identity.
But God was faithful. He clearly needed me to go through this to develop me. It’s the sucky part of growth. It’s a tension with growing and learning that we all must go through.
He needed to wipe away the things I had grown in by my own confidence, and re-establish me in how He views me, not in what I can prove to others.
My Challenge For You.
Perhaps on this journey with me, you have felt confronted with needing to go back in time to when you had fears about who you are. I want you to know, that I want to journey with you. But let’s be honest, I’m only a guy typing. I love you, but I’m not God.
God wants to safely walk with you back into your darkness, to help you see that He is the light. He will walk with you and care for you to heal you.
My challenge to you, is to accept Jesus’ help in this. Let Him take you to a place where you need to go. Let Him show you how He sees you. Let Him care for you as you heal.