ugh. i loved that pink blouse-looking shirt. it was one of my favorites.
well – meet 2nd grade etley.
the no-teeth smile gives the perception that i’m a quiet girl, maybe even a little shy. semi-mature for my age.
don’t let the smile fool you. i was a talker. you couldn’t get me to shut up.
& who knew you could get in trouble for talking. daily i was sent to a new seat in my class for chatting way too much.
i soon realized people were zoning-out when i would talk. i had to fix this. how does a young, 2nd grader with very little life-experience get her other 2nd grade friends to listen to her? tell em’ liesssss! that’s right. i quickly learned an easy way of embellishing the truth . . .
for instance, on bus rides home from school, i would point to this mansion of a house & tell my friends that i actually lived there, but only on the weekends.
see, it was never anything harmful. just a little white lie to get my friends to think i was extremely cool & even rich . . . i blame fresh prince for this.
the psychology behind this is most likely very deep – deeper than i truly want to admit, but nevertheless, i was an embellished talker.
every report card would have comments from my teachers:
“her grades are great, but she has a hard time staying quiet.”
“i’ve had to move her seat a couple times this month. we need to set up a meeting.”
“she has the correct answers, but she shares them while i’m trying to teach.”
sounds like a young girl seeking some serious attention, yes?
i soon learned that lying was bad & if i wanted to keep my friends, i would need to just be me.
& if i wanted to stop all the parent-teacher conferences, i would need to zip-it.
oh the joys of growing up. by the grace of God, i learned the beauty of honesty & the refreshing break of silence.
but this didn’t come easy. it still doesn’t, actually.
fast forward 18 or so years.
something really, really, really cool happened to me this weekend.
friday night i was hanging out with jen – one of the most insightful, supportive & gentle friends i have.
she wanted to get together to share some really awesome god-moments that just couldn’t be explained over text. so that’s how we spent the evening – i did a lot of listening & processing the words of a very eager, inspiring woman.
then it came time for me to talk. i really didn’t have much to say. she wanted some updates on personal stuff & once that short report was through, i suddenly felt less-than. i didn’t have any amazing god-moments to share. nothing spectacular. nothing.
i suddenly wanted to revert back to my embellished talking days; i wanted to fill this awkward spot with words, even if they had no meaning behind them. i do this a lot. rather than sit in the silence, steep in the awkwardness, i choose to talk.
i say things that don’t need to be said & honestly, i just waste a bunch of energy trying to feel worthy. it’s almost like if i don’t have a cool story or a sweet ephiphany, than who am i? get outta here with your less-than self.
what a lie.
i know better than to truly believe that silence is less-than.
so rather than fill the space with words, i just sat there.
this is when the cool stuff started to happen.
jen whipped out her journal & her bible & just started to read what god had been teaching her. it was from the book of joshua.
long story short: jen read me the verse that had been the most eye-opening to her:
“do not be afraid. I am with you, I go before you. do not be afraid. I will fight for you.” – joshua 1:9
god told joshua this three times. & this was after 40 years of wandering. i can only assume that wandering was quite scary, most likely very silent, & just plain frustrating. but joshua remembered god’s promise & he wasn’t going to forget.
god wasn’t gonna let him either.
i love that part of the verse: “I will fight for you.”
well i went home friday night refreshed. i appreciated jen’s sweet joshua verse & the fact that she shared its impact on her, but it didn’t really hit home. i just wasn’t feeling it . . .
saturday morning i woke up early, not bright, but early for a work conference. busied myself with work & then i get a text from jen.
it was the verse from joshua again. i smiled . . . i kinda disregarded it again but i did appreciate the reminder.
then, as i walked into the conference, the speaker finished up her presentation with these words:
“god put something on my heart this morning. it’s from the book of joshua, after he had been wandering for 40 years. god said to him, “do not be afraid. I am with you, I go before you. do not be afraid. I will fight for you.” god didn’t have to say it three times, but he did.”
yep. out of allllllll the thousands of verses in the bible. the exact verse jen had been sharing the past two days. at this point, all i could do was surrender.
god clearly needed me to hear that He is with me. & He needed me to hear it three times.
i don’t think i’ll ever be able to fully explain how incredible god’s timing is. it’s quite amazing.
should i have listened to jen the first time? the second time? of course.
but i needed the third time. & sometimes that’s just the way it goes.
it’s nice to be quiet & listen.