We have a big festival here every year that celebrates the arts. James went downtown with a friend on Friday night. Later, I decided I would go downtown and search for some creative inspiration. Having already arrived at home, James offered me the pass that he had purchased and used earlier in the evening.
I just couldn’t bring myself to use it. It isn’t a numbered pass … just a little pin that you wear on your shirt. No one would know we were “sharing” it. But, it seemed to me to be dishonest. Using it might be the same as his sharing a movie ticket with me …. for a movie that he had already seen. Right? He paid to get in – but now, I must also.
I’m not sure why this authenticity/honesty thing is so important to me … but, it is. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched people be dishonest and hurt people they love. Maybe it’s because I’m always evaluating my own actions and reactions. Maybe it’s because I’m seeing my oldest children stretching their wings …. strengthening their muscles …. stepping into their adult personas and I want to above reproach.
With this adult freedom, choices have been made that …. well, that a moma’s ♥ might not choose. Both my kids have picked up cigarettes. I don’t like cigarettes. They know that. Glory has since stopped … and James … well, he’s not sure if he really wants to or not. But, I’m not going to disown them because they spend their hard-earned money on Marlboro’s any more than if they spend it on bubble gum.
A perfect example: the two of them went to the grocery store together some weeks ago. They were sitting in the car smoking cigarettes just before they went into the store, when a mother of a friend pulled into the parking space beside them. They slouched down in their seats and hid themselves AND their cigarettes.
So, in their heart of hearts, they knew that what they were doing was not … good. Because, if they had been holding a coke and knew that this mom didn’t like coke, but preferred pepsi, they still wouldn’t have hidden their drink. But, this was more than that. I think they know that cigarettes are a bigger decision than the “coke or pepsi” debate.
Turning the spotlight on myself, I’m also struggling with an internal brawl. My iPod looks like it belongs to a schizophrenic. I have music from Veggie Tales, Pit Bull and James Taylor, Josh Groban, The Black Eyed Peas and Crosby, Still & Nash on my playlist. You can find Ella Fitzgerald, Lyle Lovett, DJ Khaled and Toby Mac in my band list. I have classical, country, folk and alternative choices galore. There are a few songs – very, very few …. but still some – that I don’t want Joy singing. There are several songs that I couldn’t…. well, wouldn’t want to sing …. in front of … a Bible study group.
So, there I am ducking down in the car hiding my ….. cigarettes …… I mean my ipod ….. and hoping that the mom driving into the parking space next to me in the Kroger parking lot won’t see/hear my contraband.
I’m just being honest here.
If I were to choose a verse of scripture to have Jesus personally explain to me, I would ask Him to tell me HOW I can do what Paul instructs and be “all things to all people.” (1 Corinthians 9:22) Because, to come alongside a Mennonite, I must wear a modest dress and head-covering. But, in doing so, a student sitting next to me in class at school would not be able to find any way to relate to me. How can I be “all things to all people?” I’m not sure. This verse has been perplexing to me … for decades … for.EVER.
But, what I do know, is that I must be comfortable with who I am today. I must let the Spirit of God lead me and remain open and teachable … wherever I am. In the past, I have worn only dresses, home-schooled my kids and ground my own wheat to make our bread. At other times, I have done well to find clean shorts for everyone and get Kraft macaroni and cheese on the table. Right now, I’m a single mom in school with two young adults stretching their wings and a pre-teen with an irreverent mouth who is spending her days in the halls of a public school (cringe).
And right now, as never before, it means more to me for my kids and I to do our best to be authentic. If we’re going to smoke, let’s do it in the open. If we’re going to have a margarita, let’s not hide it. If we’re going to listen to Uncle Kracker, let’s be comfortable with it.
Or let’s not do it at all.
Own it. Be yourself. Be real. Be authentic. Be honest.
So, may I ask you a question? Where are you struggling right now? What are you hiding from others … but enjoy in private? And more importantly, do you hide it because the Spirit of God is convicting you that it’s not okay? Or do you hide it because of fear of man?