Monday, September 6, 2010

That horrible feeling called shame.

It was ninth grade.  I stood in a group with some casual friends of mine.  We were at a high school basketball game, but none of us was actually watching.  We had formed a circle, laughing and chattering and sharing all sorts of stories.  Several kids from the opposing school had joined us, and they were all cursing and talking about raucous subjects.  To my surprise, the kids I was with joined in without batting an eye.  I tried my best to stay out of the crude conversations, but I didn't want to leave the group , so I continued to laugh and talk with everyone without cussing or talking inappropriately.
At one point, a boy pulled me to the side.  "I've been watching you," he said.  "You're different.  There's something about you.  You stand out from the crowd.  I can't tell if it's the way you act, the way you talk... or what.   What is it about you that's so different?"

I was shy and timid, proud of myself for merely joining in a conversation that included people I didn't know.  I knew the answer to the boy's question: I stood out from the others because I loved Jesus.  I was a Christian.  However, I was embarrassed.  I didn't want to sound preachy or annoying.  I didn't want to look silly.  I stammered around for a few seconds before finally muttering, "I don't think there's anything different about me."

"No, there is something different.  I can see it.  What is it?"

"Nothing.  It's nothing.  I guess I'm just a unique person," I mumbled and turned away from the boy and back to the crowd.

I dreamed about that situation for nights afterword.

I had a chance to share the Word of God with someone who didn't believe, and I lost that chance.  I failed the purpose God had for me in that moment.  To this day, I still feel incredibly guilty.  I hate the feeling of having failed God.  If I could go back right now, I would share my faith with that boy and chance a weird look or a mocking laugh.  I would embrace any ridicule I received.

If you're ever in a situation where you're given the chance to share your faith- but possibly face ridicule- share your faith.  Don't let yourself feel ashamed of your choice later on when you have a moment to look back on the day.  Jesus is worth any and all ridicule.  Never be ashamed of what you believe.

Romans 1:16
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this. I can relate, completely-I know that feeling of shame well, sometimes. It's happened with me-people ask why I'm always so happy, do I ever stop smiling?, do I have like nothing wrong with my life?. This school year especially, it's happened numerous times. I'm asked, "why are you so happy?" And I've failed most every time. Only once did I actually explain, and I didn't even speak the name of Jesus. So, so ashamed. I tell God, "please let them notice, let them notice something different in me, let them notice my joy", and then when they do, I totally take advantage of it. Grrrrrrrrr.
    So, I was really touched by this! I'm not the only one who feels like sometimes they fail Jesus, and that it's the WORST feeling in the ENTIRE world. I know that feeling, and it's definitely not worth it. Like you said, in hindsight, I would have also rather stood up for my God and embraced all criticism, laughing, teasing, weird looks, lost friends. After all, Jesus did.
    Thanks a ton, Emily! Love your blog, especially your poems. They're beautiful, they take my mind somewhere else. :] And this is off topic, but you're so lucky to have a friend like Ali! She sounds just awesome.
    Love in Christ always,
    Holly <3
    (I'm childofweakness from Susie, by the way.) :)