The Most Self-Conscious Person I’ve Ever Met

self

After 77 years of getting to know myself, I’ve recently realized something I haven’t analyzed before. The most self-conscious person I’ve ever met is me.

Perhaps this is why I struggle so with a lack of self-confidence. The truth is, somewhere deep within my psyche, I harbor an on-going fear of embarrassing myself.

As I look back over my life, I remember numerous incidents that have helped to instill this fear in me. They may add some comic relief to your day, as well as mine. But believe me, I did not find them funny at the time.

When I was a young girl, I took dancing lessons. A group of us were invited to perform at the Junior/Senior Banquet from the high school. I know; in light of today’s Senior Proms, that’s both unbelievable and hilarious. But you must remember I grew up before the earth’s crust hardened. Before teenagers became so sophisticated.

In the middle of my dance, my skirt fell to the floor. Fortunately, it was a costume and it’s malfunction revealed nothing except my embarrassment.

Later, when I was blossoming as a teenager, our church invited me to present an Easter reading at our Sunrise Service. It went well. I was then invited to give it at the morning service of a much larger church. No problem, I was happy to do it. In fact, I was so certain I knew the piece by heart, I had no notes with me. When the time came, I stood and faced the huge congregation. At that moment, horror struck. I couldn’t remember one word of what I was supposed to say. Not one word! What did I do? Mortified, I sank down on the front pew and cried.

A couple of years later, you’d think I had outgrown my propensity toward embarrassing antics. Not so. I remember too well the time I visited my good friend from another town. She arranged a blind date for me. When Al arrived to pick me up, I stood at the top of the stairs and stared at this gorgeous young man with curly black hair. Was I dreaming? Was this real? Suddenly everything became painfully real. I tripped and fell all the way down the stairs and landed at his feet.

I thought I would die of embarrassment. I wanted to die; the sooner the better. But I didn’t die. The only thing hurt was my pride. I suppose I survived the date but I don’t remember one thing about it. Except possibly the most embarrassing moment of my life. Up to that point.

But alas, it gets worse. And it happened to me as an adult, a grandmother no less. My family was celebrating my husband’s birthday brunch in a very swanky hotel. We were all laughing and talking. I hadn’t really noticed the beautiful, colorful floral place mats. When the food arrived, I began to serve what I thought was my plate. Much to my horror, everyone started to laugh hysterically. I had placed my food on the mat, not a plate. If I ever wanted the floor to open and swallow me whole, it was then.

As you can imagine, I still haven’t recovered from that one. It still pains me to think about it. I hate the thought of having become an absent-minded, senile old woman. Mortified, I begged everyone in the family not to tell anyone about it. However, I thought it might be therapeutic if I shared it with you. Yes the jokes on me. Surely, nothing will ever top that one. Da ya think?

Needless to say, self-oriented fear is a lack of faith. And more than anything in life, I want to be a Christ-conscious person rather than a self-conscious one. God knows this well. So He keeps giving me opportunities to trust Him in situations where I could potentially be embarrassed.

A few weeks ago, one of our pastors texted, asking me to join two others to pray for our Serve the City project. Every few months, the church suspends our Sunday service to go out to various venues and homes in Wilmington to share Christ by word and deed. Before leaving, everyone gathers together in the church for instructions and prayers to send us out.

When I read the text to my husband, my self-conscious nemesis reared up in protest. “Why did he ask me to do this? I can’t do this! I won’t do this!” And then, the Lord answered as any parent of a rebellious child will do. “Yes, you will!”

With God’s help, I stood before those 250 people and prayed the prayer He had put on my heart. BUT you better believe I used notes. I’m a recovering self-conscious case, not a cured one.

faith

There is a healthy side to this. God’s grace doesn’t allow me to curl up in a ball of useless self-talk. Instead, my fear of embarrassment and lack of self-confidence drive me into God’s presence. For I have discovered that’s the only place I can be reassured of who I am in Christ. It’s the only place I can find God’s comfort and understanding. It’s the only place I can rest in peace, knowing God has allowed my weaknesses so He can perfect His power in and through them. And it’s the only place I can run to when I need to once again confess my sins and ask Him to fill, enlighten and empower me to be the person He wants me to be. Not a self-conscious babbling idiot, but a faithful witness of all He’s done in and through me.

There’s power in the name of Jesus. Even for me. And no question about it. Every time He grants me the power to deny self and bear witness for Him, I will give Him all the glory. How could I do anything less?

inspire

What are some ways God stretches your faith? How do you overcome fear?

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