I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide.
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I made a vow that I would avoid this library parking lot at all cost. I was mostly successful in doing this by taking the long way around the library and parking a few streets over…until, a few months later when, due to a time constraint I decided to park in the lot again. I was on my way to a dentist appointment with two of my daughters. The lot was full, it was raining, I had my bike hitch on the back of my minivan, and my power steering was basically non-existent at low speeds.
I did what felt like a point turn to squeeze into the only open spot. But in the process, I managed to scrape the driver side mirror of the car that was parked in the spot next to me.
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Exasperated, I let out some choice words, immediately regretted it, then began apologizing to the small ears that were listening. I scrambled to find a piece of paper to write down my information on the car next to me. Already flustered and anxious, the scene I observed when I looked up quickened my heart rate. An elderly man in his vehicle was holding up his phone with the camera facing me directly.
My heart sank into my stomach. Is this man really recording me?!? If he had seen me hit this mirror, I was determined he was going to record me putting my information on the window. This familiar tape was running on loop in my mind.
Ironically, we never did make it inside the library that day. We needed to be on our way, but I felt stuck. I was hard pressed to get out of this small, confined parking space. I anxiously glanced over in the direction of the older man to find his phone in the same position still pointed in my direction.
I flashed back to my experience two months prior in this same parking lot where I had been mistreated. In a moment of resolve, I determined to have courage and face my fear. If this man was videoing all my mistakes, he was going to hear me bravely plead my case. I did not want to be misunderstood once again. I grabbed hold of the gold pendant that hung from the chain around my neck and read the inscription — Psalm I gently tapped on his window.
What happened next surprised me. He was not in fact recording my every mistake. He kindly told his colleagues that he would call them back because his assistance was needed to help a kind young woman in the library parking lot. I explained how I was stuck in my parking spot and late for an appointment. I owned that I had hit the car next to me on the way in which was why my fear was heightened around doing it once more.
I am happy to report that I made it out of the parking lot that day and to the dentist on time. It pushes us into isolation telling us to take the long road around instead of the straight path through. Regardless of age, shame can cause us to revert back to feeling small and helpless in the most unexpected, mundane moments of our lives. My motives in approaching the older man in the parking lot were rooted in fear. I wanted to prove, defend and fight for my rights. Instead, I encountered grace. The old tape playing my shame narrative was interrupted when I asked God for help to move forward in taking action.
I was able to discern that what I had been listening to on repeat was not in fact the truth about who I am. In looking to God, I was reminded about who I am because of who He is. Looking away from my shame and instead turning to a God in heaven who loves me, made all the difference. I owned that I had hit the car next to me on the way in which was why my fear was heightened around doing it once more. I am happy to report that I made it out of the parking lot that day and to the dentist on time.
It pushes us into isolation telling us to take the long road around instead of the straight path through. Regardless of age, shame can cause us to revert back to feeling small and helpless in the most unexpected, mundane moments of our lives. My motives in approaching the older man in the parking lot were rooted in fear. I wanted to prove, defend and fight for my rights. Instead, I encountered grace. The old tape playing my shame narrative was interrupted when I asked God for help to move forward in taking action.
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I was able to discern that what I had been listening to on repeat was not in fact the truth about who I am. In looking to God, I was reminded about who I am because of who He is. Looking away from my shame and instead turning to a God in heaven who loves me, made all the difference. When I was brave enough to speak up to break the silence by asking for help, it was then that I encountered the truth.
Lift Up Your Head: Joy in the Face of Shame
How much of our time and energy are spent managing shame, fear, stress and worry? When we break the silence of shame by reaching out in conversation to God , we are met with a guiding grace that helps us navigate the crowded and sometimes hostile parking lots of life. And while your gift might not be an elderly Scottish man helping you back out of a parking spot on a rainy April afternoon, you will receive one from the Father who knows you and sees you.
Connie is our Joy of It Content Developer. She cares deeply about discipleship and feels called to raise up and equip leaders to step into the next place God is inviting them to serve. She shares candidly through speaking and writing of both the struggles and victories through her journey as friend, sister, wife, mother and leader. She loves the creative process and is currently furthering her education at Wheaton College to receive her MA in Leadership and Evangelism. Connie is married to the love of her life, Taylor, and they have four children. More of her work can be found at conniearmerding.
King James Bible
Love it Connie! Yes I had no idea how much shame would be involved in parenting. The multitasking, the exhaustion, the snapping at the kids and random strangers, the mistakes, the thinking every evening how I could have done better and how I should have been more present, and more effective at the same time, more appreciative, and had more forethought. So we can get up the next day and do it all over again!
Erin, Parenting is not for the faint of heart! It is full of shame triggers, sometimes on the daily. You are doing a great job momma! When we see where shame is at work, we can separate ourselves from it and step into the truth. Hope all is well with you and yours. XOXO -Connie. Connie, your posting tonight was a God send. I clicked the link on Facebook just after viewing a very painful high school alumni pics from my junior prom. It was a picture of me with my then boyfriend. The picture was caught him off guard at an angle and while we were very much in puppy love, it looked as if he hated touching me.
Like I had the absolute creeps.
To make it worse then next pic was of him and his ex girlfriend with him poking his tongue out. Looking at it, I felt as if it were directed to the former pic with me. Reality was kicked to the curb. Facebook took these pics and wrote a whole story that triggered my pain from those years of being a shy girl surrounded by what appeared to be very confident and many times mean girls in a rough school. We will never stop, we will not give up knocking on the doors of heaven.
Psalm KJV - I will lift up mine eyes unto the - Bible Gateway
We keep praying loud, we keep crying out till we see revival in this land. Glory unto You, power unto You. I will praise till forevermore. Let all the glory be unto You. All will worship at Your throne. Glory, glory to the King. I want to be holy like You. I want to be loving like You. The way You love, the way You care, oh Lord, help me be more like You. I want to have mercy like You, to show compassion like You.
The way You live, the way You die, oh Lord, help me be more like You. Let Your love come rushing over me, overwhelm my heart, every part of me. Let Your Spirit come satisfy.
Related Lift Up Your Head: Joy in the Face of Shame
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