Monday, March 24, 2008

More Than I Ever Needed to See

Reading through an old journal page recently, I laughed as I found an entry concerning a Sunday night trip to Taco Bell after church. Now don't misunderstand, we don't go to Taco Bell because we like the food so well; we go because we like the prices of the food so well. (Although I gotta say, those Gorditas are quite delish.)

Anyway, on this particular trip, we'd just finished our fine dining experience and were simply talking with our friends Misty and Patrick, when behind us a group of four women began making their way toward the exit, laughing and talking. Their voices caught my attention, and when I turned around, I got more than I’d bargained for. Taco Bell suddenly became PG-13. 

The fourth lady, lagging behind her friends, was, well, exposing herself, but not by wearing a skimpy tube top or daisy duke shorts. In fact, she looked like she might have just come from a church service herself. Her dark brown blouse was carefully tucked into a full-length, richly ornamented, peasant skirt . . . . . . . which was tucked into her panty hose on her backside. Yes, I now know more about that woman’s derriere than I ever wanted or needed to know.  

Now, before you begin to think me cruel and uncaring or that I’m mocking this woman’s misfortune, please bear in mind that it would have drawn more attention to her if I’d jumped up from where I was in the middle of the restaurant and run to her aid. By the time I saw her, she was close enough to the door to make a somewhat un-observed escape. The funny thing was, as we watched her walk to the car, she still didn’t notice her predicament. I guess the wind wasn’t blowing hard enough to create a draft. 

While Misty and I giggled at the poor woman’s expense, the question came to my mind that I, too, sometimes walk around like Ms. Skirt-in-the-Pants. I’m exposing my least desirable aspects without realizing it. I’m “letting it all hang out” when, honestly, most people don’t want or need to know that much about me. It might be in my attitude, or a condescending manner, or simply reactions from a "bad mood" that inflict my misery upon them undeservedly. Sometimes, simply treating people as though they are furniture, not human beings made in the image of Holy God, is the least proactive of my offenses, but the most damaging to their souls and spirits. Then, suddenly, while making excuses for myself ("that's just how I am" or "I was so busy"), or completely oblivious to how I appear, a north wind blows over my soul, and the Holy Spirit reminds me that the way I’m acting is a poor representation of the Christ I claim to serve. 

Certainly, we are to be authentic and transparent with others (I'll cover that later this week), but to what degree? I think the answer comes when we consider if by our transparency we are glorifying our flesh and sin nature, or if by our transparency we are glorifying the God who created us as unique individuals. The created vs. the Creator, so to speak. 1 Corinthians 6:1 says that everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial; we should not be mastered by anything. If our "transparency" is not beneficial to the Kingdom of God (which is what we should be seeking first), or we have become mastered by our need or desire to express our emotion or thoughts, then I'd have to suggest that people are seeing more than they ever need to see. 

Not a comforting thought, I know, especially when it takes an extreme amount of self-control to keep from saying things that would make us feel better. But that's where the problem lies. In wanting myself to feel better - selfish pride rearing its ugly head. And that's more than anyone ever needs to see.

1 comment:

Misty said...

Couple of things...

First, I totally appreciate your point in this post. I am so guilty of letting people see more of my self than I should. Thank you for writing this.

Second, I am laughing because I remember that night at the Bell!

Third, I miss those meals the four of us would have together. We especially remembered them this Easter as we thought about the past several Easter meals and times spent with family.

Love ya!