Have you ever done something embarrassing? If not, why not?! But seriously, do you have a painful memory of the time you opened your mouth and put your foot in it or had a little too much to drink and lost one too many inhibitions? I often hear my husband sighing ‘Oh dear!’ in the next room as an unbidden memory of a past mistake causes him sudden acute discomfort. As for me… you can’t imagine how embarrassing it is to be me! I have to laugh at myself or I would shrivel away to nothing: I have so many “Oh good grief what did I do that – or say that – for?” moments! I just can’t dissemble or mince my words – including telling insecure British people straight out how great they are and that I love them. That reminds me of the time in a meeting when we were challenged to do something ‘wild’. I had done most of the wild things others were trying out – dancing, shouting, whatever (though not stripping down to underwear and emptying out rubbish bags as one group of men did… that really was a bit tooo wild!) Instead of making my usual song and dance, I went round throwing my arms round all my male friends and colleagues and saying, I love you! Strange, scary, inappropriate woman! Only 3 of them didn’t really cope with it though – the rest said they loved me too 🙂 And it’s only afterwards that I cringe at myself…
But I do like to have fun and I like being me – life is too short to be overly self-conscious and there are more important things to worry about… I’m obviously a bit of an extrovert and exhibitionist or I wouldn’t be writing this blog – or posting photos like the one above! What is my preference for this hair colour all about anyway? Not exactly shy and retiring! So it didn’t matter at all that when I burst into song at our Christmas party on Saturday evening, in an attempt to reprise my Florentine Puccini solo in front of various of Martin’s senior colleagues, I started in the wrong key and croaked to a halt on the first high note: I was in a safe environment, cushioned by the wine and camaraderie 😉 I do have to say I am very glad that didn’t happen at the actual performance in July, which was a great success and a personal highlight of 2011. But what is wanting to do that performance at all actually about? Surely there is more than a small amount of ‘showing off’ involved: “Look at me singing, look at me singing!” Very nice to be admired and praised up afterwards by the over-awed choir members, of course, but no wonder I have now had to leave their company and move elsewhere to sing: I’ll now be a small fish in a much bigger pond.
Perhaps it is easier to feel confident as you get older anyway – these days I don’t generally care what people think of me – perhaps especially because we have been through so much as a family. I usually feel bold to say what I think because living through such fire gives one authority: who is going to be in a position to argue in the face of our journey? However, like most of us, I hate disagreements and confrontation and there is a big chink in my armour when it comes to serious criticism or rejection – in particular from close friends or family. Actually to be honest, I don’t think I have any ‘armour’ to speak of and getting hurt is such a risk when you have a big mouth like me… I certainly do think how strange I must appear to others at times, talking about God speaking to me through numbers or insisting we face up to the reality of death – “You will either repel or attract others” was the specific word of the Lord on this. Hmmm – me no likey; but thank God for good friends who pray and protect.
I also know over the years I have made some crazy choices to step forward or speak out – I have never held back from going up to the front and saying things in church and some of my attempts at preaching left a lot to be desired, especially in their length! When I was in the busy years of travelling with prayer teams I packed in far too much, sometimes going away for 2 weeks out of 4, forgetting to factor in the cost in terms of time, energy, emotion and repercussions on those left at home. Looking back I really don’t know how we all did it… but I was never one to hold back on opportunities and perhaps that was not always for the purest of motives. What was a younger, greener me thinking?! How did the Lord let me get away with that? Oh dear! Yes there has always been grace for my mistakes and I have reaped so much out of all the seed I scattered… that doesn’t stop me feeling foolish though.
Because my biggest problem now seems to be self-rejection as if I haven’t reached some self-imposed standard. Do you go down that road – a downward spiral into self-condemnation? If only I had been wiser, if only I had listened to advice – or even my own body! Like the day exactly 11 years ago this month when although overwhelmed with end-of-term tiredness and not feeling too well, I was determined to keep a lunch appointment with 2 old friends. Daydreaming and losing concentration at 70 mph isn’t a good idea… the traffic in the fast lane of the M25 had slowed down more than I realised. Despite slamming on the brakes I crashed into the back of the 2 unsuspecting old ladies in front of me, sending their car spinning into the inside crash barrier and, as Martin says, making our old Mazda 626 a metre shorter at the front. Snow Patrol apparently ‘want to be the car crash and not always the traffic jam’ (Headlights on Dark Roads), but I don’t recommend it. Christmas in plaster and could have been SO much worse if the angels hadn’t been on duty: ”Don’t drive tired!” 😦
Recently I have been calling myself ‘an idiot’ and ‘ridiculous’ a lot. It’s just a feeling and not really the truth, but because I have launched out to publicise next year’s Mercy Cry day and involve myself in ‘all that’ again – the prophetic language, the spiritual pressure, the hope that it will be supported and that I have got it right – the practical arrangements and cost to the family – and at the same time am raising the bar in committing to blog about it and then follow it up with an ‘introduction to the prophetic’ course for Open Heaven with the aim of turning that into a book of some sort… W-h-a t?? All this at such a vulnerable time with Sam returning home and the questions over next year, the burden we carry – I must be off my rocker! Yet as in the old travelling days, I feel compelled and don’t want to hold back…
Those ‘I am such an idiot’ feelings are very strong and I am already vulnerable without contributing to undermining myself! How can I turn round my self-talk so I don’t just dig a hole to fall into? We know words have creative power to bring either blessings or curses. We know that satan is the accuser of the brethren and if I am following the Lord in obedience He is backing me up all the way. So am I ridiculous just because I feel it? What should my ‘self-talk’ sound like?
This is what I am working on: I’ll let you know how I’m getting on next time!