Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!!

Today was an interesting day.  Read:  weird.

I ran to the store to get a few things because I was feeling crafty.   I decided that I was going to make myself a shirt (getting weird already, huh) and so I picked out a couple of fun prints I thought would work well.   The lady at the cutting counter is someone that I have encountered before and lets just say that she tends to come across as a person with an attitude.  She tells you what she thinks and usually it isn’t super courteous.   Today she asked me what I was making and I told her – a shirt.  She told me how awful this particular fabric was to work with.  As much as humanly possible, I try to be constantly focused when I am out and about on making sweet conversation with people I cross paths with – the check out people, fellow shoppers, etc.  I maintained my composure and assumed that though her delivery was rough she meant well by giving me a tip on handling this kind of fabric.  When she got to the next fabric she cackled out loud (truly, it was a cackle – there is no other word) “Obviously you are using THIS one for some kind of Halloween costume!  Hahahaaaaa!!”  Umm, no – a shirt, was what went through my head.  But at this point (see the weird!) I just giggled and said “Yes” so as to diffuse it all.  I got all my pieces, I thanked her and wished her well, then turned around to almost run into a bird sitting on the handle of the shopping cart next to me.  Weird is now off the charts.  I was so in awe (I can say that I in all my years I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bird at a store before.  Ever.)  that I circled back around to get another look and snapped a picture on my phone.  A bird?  A bird.  Huh.

Then I did something weird.  Now here, you read:  dumb.  I posted the picture on Facebook asking “Is this ok?”  Honestly truly with every shred of my being I tell you that my intention was not to judge this woman, make fun, or look to stir the pot — I just really wanted to know if it was ok to bring birds in the store!  Has anyone seen this?  Is it common and I have just never noticed?  Then weird which led to dumb went to the whole next level.

I think my Facebook photo is up to 30-some comments.  Some bird lovers, some bird haters.  Some bird haters calling bird lovers odd.  Animals were compared to kids and kids to animals and before I even got home from the shopping trip I had stirred a pot that I never even wanted to put on the stove.  Ugh.  All for a shirt that is going to look like a Halloween costume.

So, here is what I learned from all this today.  Because there are lessons everywhere if you only look.

I really am on Candid Camera.

When I choose to be sweet to the check out people, the shoppers and even the not super courteous lady at the fabric counter – who sees that?  They do, I do, and He does.

When I post a picture of a bird in a store and start a fire storm on Facebook – who sees that?  I do, He does and so do 487 of my good buddies.

The intentions behind those and other actions of mine.  Who sees that?  Just Him and me.

No matter if it is something I do in front of 1000, 10, 1, or alone – it is seen.  It matters.

This reality doesn’t make me walk around looking over my shoulder, worried to keep up good appearances, to keep a smile on my face no matter what.  He knows my intentions anyway.  He knows my heart.  He knows when I am doing it for show or doing it for real, so why do it for show?  Who am I trying to impress??

This reality weighs a lot on me also in the fact that my kids see.  And actions often speak louder than words.  My friends see.  My neighbors see.  And if I say that my purpose is to reflect His glory then where the rubber meets the road I had better be doing just that.  Because don’t kid yourself….we’re all reflecting something.

There is a beauty in this as well in that He sees what no one else does.  When I sacrifice for someone else, when I hold my tongue, when I choose what’s right, when I toil away at something that no one notices…He does.   And His reward is a joy I can’t seem to get anywhere else.

So leaving the fabric store today I couldn’t help but say under my breath on the way to the car, “Smile!  You’re on Candid Camera!”

 

Published in: on October 23, 2012 at 7:21 pm  Comments (2)  

What is ‘pride’ spelled backwards? PRIDE

Friends, when I am forever and a day between posts, rest assured that something is brewing.  And some of these things take longer than others to percolate.  I have had this post idea in my head for a good month – thought I was going to write it last week – and then got a new revelation on it this week that just had to be added.  So before any more earth shattering life lessons come my way I am putting pen to paper (…no wait…fingers to keyboard) and pecking out my post on Pride.
Pride is like a 4 letter word but with an e on the end.  Yucky.  No matter who you are or what you believe you probably agree that it doesn’t look good on anyone.  We can spot a prideful fool a mile away and like a bad car wreck you want to turn away but sometimes you just can’t.  You watch – you shake your head – and you wonder if they even realize that its oozing from every pore.  (and then look in a mirror, because now you’re oozing pride spelled backwards!  Reverse pride.  Ugh)  In desperately trying to avoid the former I more often than not fall into the later.  Swirl it together with my tendency to be judgmental and as my friend JL would say, I am a hot mess.  Ok – let’s start dissecting.

2 great quotes on pride came upon me as I was noodling what it meant and how to avoid it:

  1.      

Herein lies the illustrious ‘thin line’.  Talent is God-given.  To deny it, not use it, or dampen its potential is a slap in the face to our Creator who wired us with said talent.  The key – be humble about it.

2. a quote from CS Lewis:

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.”

Merely having a talent and enjoying it is not a crime.  But when we compare ourselves and our talent against others…BAAM!….Pride.

I’m using ‘talent’ here but you can sub in gifts, abilities, wealth, possessions, relationships, etc.  All of these areas fall prey to pride.  And just when I think I have an area or 2 licked and pride eradicated – don’t look now – its reverse pride.

Here is an example.  Part of me doesn’t want to give this example, but my transparent side is very feisty and won’t take no for an answer.  I really did type this next bit as part of my blog!  Then I re-read it, caught the stench of reverse pride, gasped at my stupidity and hit delete.  Then decided to resurrect it to prove my point:

Wealth and possessions can be areas of pride but for me they are areas I tend to stumble less in than talents and gifts.  If you know me at all you know, I buy cheap stuff!  So no pride there!  I drive an old car, I don’t wear name brands, and last year we even tried to downsize to an older home.  For whatever the reason we are able to hold material possessions in a loose grip, realizing that it is luck of the draw whether we have these things or not.

Blaaaahhh.  I hate that in a post about pride and how I’m trying NOT to be prideful I laid out a big batch of reverse pride for all to see!!  You see, here is what I am coming to know:  Anything that says ‘Look at me!’ and doesn’t say ‘Look at God!’ is a form of pride.  So my little rant there about how good I am at not focusing on money is still a focus on me!  That is the point!  Reverse pride….same thing, different costume.

I try and think through this pride thing especially as a parent.  We are blessed with smart kiddos.  They have gifts and talents that could lead them and me down yucky roads of pride if we let it (Yeah, but have you seen MY kid…) but at the same time I feel that it is important that we recognize gifts of talent as gifts from God and that we have a responsibility to use those gifts to their full potential.  So we stay humble…..we have lots of gratitude….we try and use them to serve others around us…

And in comes my dear hubby (of 15 yrs today – I love you RD, I really really do) and gives me what my ADD-letsfigurethisout mind needed.  KISS.  Keep it simple, stupid.  We are called to 2 things:  Love God and Love Others.  In that order.  Period.

In loving God, I will see my talents as gifts from Him.  I will be grateful that He thought me worthy enough to have them and look for ways to turn my attention and the attention of others to Him as the author of those things.  I play no part but as the recipient and steward.

In loving others I put them first.  So why would I compare myself to them?  How could that possibly benefit them?  And if my gift/talent/wealth could serve them well somehow then of course I should use it to that end.  And give Him the glory all the while.

It sounds so easy.  In practice it is so hard.  So why on earth do I try and complicate it any more???

This is all part of the greater theme that seems to always run through my blogs and my life – if you read back you’ll see it in Confessions of a Control FreakIt’s not about _____, and Swapping out Lenses.   There is a bigger thing going on in this life.  It isn’t about the day to day, it is about me & Him.  He is changing me, molding me, transforming me and all these things are just steps on that path.  What is truly BEST for me, is obedience to Him.  He is for me.  He is after my joy.  And when I can focus myself on those big 2 –> ‘Love Him, Love others’ it begins to happen.

CS Lewis is right, Pride gets no pleasure in having something….but gratitude sure does!  I’m moving to gratitude in my kids gifts and talents, gratitude in our possessions, gratitude for my relationships.  And gratitude that you all put up with a hot mess like me! 🙂

Published in: on October 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment