My friend, Debbie, issued a challenge to me last week.
(At least that’s how I interpreted it – because I’ve always considered her challenging…ahem).
The whole fiasco started because she evidently thinks I’m "stylish" – (there’s just no accounting for taste!)
She asked me to share seven random things about myself. That didn’t sound too challenging, I thought. Seven interesting random things? OK, that’s a bit harder. But here’s the real "gauntlet" throw-down:
"Sharon would somehow manage to turn it into a devotional."
Ooooo, I just love it when she gets sassy.
So, here we go…
I’m going to share seven – yes, count ‘em – seven random things about me. And since Debbie is a teacher, I’m going to make them all school-related.
1. When I was in kindergarten, one day at recess there was this pesky fly that wouldn’t stop landing and crawling around my forehead. I kept swatting at it. My horrified friends persisted in telling me to stop, because (they said) it was a bee. I didn’t believe them. Consequently, I "smacked" a bee sting right into the middle of my forehead.
Lesson: Be careful to listen to the still, small voice. And when He tells you to avoid something, you’d better believe Him. He’s probably trying to protect you from something that’s going to hurt you.
"He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him." (Proverbs 2:8)
2. When I was in 2nd grade, my teacher put me in the remedial reading group because she didn’t think I was a good reader. My parents promptly set her straight. Evidently, I was just shy and didn’t like to read out loud. When she discovered my actual reading level, she wanted to "skip" me ahead to 3rd grade (my parents said, "No").
Lesson: Don’t worry about what others think of you. Know that God sees you as you really are – and He loves you. With His power, you are capable, and strong, and well able to accomplish His good purposes.
"For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him." (Philippians 2:13)
3. When I was in 4th grade, I was in a spelling bee. My whole class voted for me to represent us, because I was an "ace" speller. I remember getting up in front of ALL the upper grades to await my word. "DELICIOUS." That was the word - my word. I smiled to myself, because I KNEW how to spell it. I said it slowly, out loud – with a smug, satisfied smirk. I waited for the applause of my class. I only heard groans. Yup, in my cockiness, I had been careless, and spelled – "D-E-L-I-C-O-U-S." The irony of it all? The one letter I left out in my moment of pride? "I."
Lesson: Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Don’t think you’ve got it covered alone. Don’t lean on your own understanding or your own wisdom. It is often when we think we "know it all" that we make the dumbest mistakes.
"Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."
4. When I was in 5th grade, I starred in a school play. My role? A clumsy cousin from out of town. My first moment on stage? I was to walk on from the wings, say hello to my relatives, trip over a table, knock over a lamp, and fling dishes and magazines everywhere (on purpose!) Everyone gasped when it happened, until they realized that it was part of the act. I was very quiet in 5th grade, but I LOVED playing this boisterous, comical role. Evidently, the "ham" in me was just waiting to be born.
Lesson: The Holy Spirit has given each one of us special gifts. We need to discover them, and ask God for the courage and wisdom to use them. Others might not see our gifts – sometimes we get slotted into other peoples’ perception of us. But, fear not, God has a stage for you, a role for you to play. Get out there – don’t be content to "stay in the wings."
"A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other…Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part…and God has put each part just where he wants it." (1 Corinthians 12:7, 14, 18b)
5. I was on the drill team in junior high and high school – back when it was actually a "drill" team – as in marching routines – not fancy little dance numbers. I logged many, many miles marching behind the school band in crazy little outfits. In junior high I was a Spartan (complete with golden slippers and a laurel wreath) – and a Highlander, after we moved (complete with tartan skirt and a fancy little Scottish tam). In high school, I was an Apache (complete with feathers, fringe, and tomahawk). Not to mention moccasins – can you imagine marching for 2-5 miles in moccasins?! I had calves of steel.
Lesson: It is important to learn how to follow – how to obey the rules and regulations of God. It’s important to stay in line, and march in formation. It’s important to practice and be disciplined. And most of all, it’s crucial to keep on going, even when you’re exhausted and feel like quitting. There are awards to be won at the end!
"But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it." (James 1:25)
6. In junior college, I once got an "F" in volleyball for ditching class so many times - (a boyfriend – long, sordid story). I panicked. My mom somehow finagled a medical excuse for me (said boyfriend had mono – she got our doctor to agree that I had been exposed to it - awkward – and he wrote a note excusing me.) Though I don’t agree that this was the most "upstanding" thing to do, I was grateful I didn’t have to suffer the consequences of this one.
Lesson: Oh, isn’t this one so obvious? Because of our dear Jesus, we don’t have to accept the consequences of our many sins. He gave His life for us, to "excuse" us from all unrighteousness. He wrote over the big, fat "F" of our lives with His blood. We were freed from the "blot" of sin on our report cards.
"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (1 John 1:9)
7. I graduated from Westmont College with a B.A. degree in English Literature. Finally. After four years of "messing around" in junior college – (including an ill-advised year trying out the dental assistant program…another story, another day). So, six years after high school, I finally had that diploma, and my parents finally got do the family "WOO HOO" from the stands.
Lesson: Persistence pays off – even if you mess up along the way. God teaches us many things when we meander – yes, that’s true. But oh, if we just follow the right path in the first place, we’ll save ourselves a LOT of time!
"Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised." (Hebrews 10:36)
That’s about it – phew, hope it wasn’t too long-winded.
Oh, and for the record…
…be careful what you ask for, Debbie!!
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"