When I was younger, I remember we had a special evening dedicated to the telling of one’s most embarrassing stories. I remember our youth leader told a story about how he broke his G-string on stage one night. Which would have been an awesome story – if he weren’t referring to his guitar. That’s not even an embarrassing story, it’s a pun story. Which in hindsight actually does make it an embarrassing story… Anyway, I could never really remember mine. I know for sure I had them, but they just never really seemed to surface in time for a cracking anecdote. However a couple of months ago I had a corker. An absolute Miranda Hart. Even worse than me telling the childcare dude at church that it was okay for Judah to eat ‘Graham Crappers’ (yes, I know). Just sit tight for a minute and all will be revealed.
Moving here has naturally involved being the new people again. Probably not the most fun thing ever, but generally I don’t find it horrible; just a bit wearying. I feel like there’s a whole lot of backstory for others to have to catch up on, and being known is really important to me. One thing that has caught me off-guard as I’ve begun the process of knowing and being known, is that I’ve discovered that I care more about what Joe Public thinks of me than I thought.
I have done A LOT of internal journeying over the past ten or so years. I’ve had much prayer, counselling, bleeding heart friend sharing, journaling, alter-calling – you get the idea. While still in Christchurch, I really felt I had come to a place where I felt so comfortable in my own skin. I felt like my interactions with others were authentic and my relationship with the world around me was pretty natural and unaffected. Interestingly enough, some of this was obviously due to the culture of people I was spending time with; people who were so down-to-earth, humble and ‘earthy’ (in the very best non-smelly and hairy way). However, landing smack bang in the middle of a new culture was a little affronting. A lot of people I interact with are just so very well groomed. They have these amazing eyebrows. And while it would take a lot more than this to get me out of my weekday mum uniform, feelings of frumpiness play at the edges of my mind. I’m also still trying to pick up on different social cues. I find myself unsure what is appropriate way to leave a conversation in this new cultural environment – I give what I know to be the ‘normal’ signals to end a conversation, begin walking away, and the person keeps talking to me. Talk about awkward. And it takes a toll on my confidence.
I began to feel a bit despairing. What of all the inner work I had done? Could it not even stand up to a new culture? Enter now my horrible epic story:
As many of you know, worship ministry is my bag. I just LOVE it. I feel born to do it. Singing to Jesus and pointing people in His general direction makes my heart come alive. So naturally one of the first things I did once we’d settled in our church was to sign up for the worship team. After a bit I was asked if I would like to help out with the Christmas ensemble. A bunch of us were singing choir style for a couple of carols. Towards the end of the practice, the person in charge of the ensemble grabbed a mic and said something to the sound guy about running through our parts again, and all the others grabbed microphones too. There wasn’t one for me, so the sound dude pointed out one for me to grab. So I did. And went to stand with the others. Then it all went downhill.
I wasn’t quite sure what had happened, but everybody was looking at me like I had a small piece of poo on my face. They really looked quite shocked and distressed. Finally one brave girl said, “Ah, Deb, this is a special item that we’ve been practicing for.” I just died. Muttered something about ‘how embarrassing,’ and had to make the walk of shame firstly back to the mic stand, then down the stairs and off the stage. Then to top it all off I dropped a bunch of papers on the floor. I think I cried the whole way home.
But you know what? Cringe-factor 500 as it was, I realise that I didn’t feel like it had any bearing on my worth. I didn’t come home thinking no-one would want to be my friend, or that I’d be the laughing stock of Christmas. So, as much as there is still work to be done in the area of security in who Christ has made me to be, I need to take a moment to stop and appreciate how far we’ve come, Jesus and me. I’m taking that time now. To appreciate the view. I’ve been hiking for such a long time, and the vista really is quite beautiful.
Until next time,