Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I don't recall being at all nervous that morning but in all the dozens and dozens (and dozens) of meetings I sat in during my former life, that one always comes to mind.

For it was held in the Executive Conference Room and I was surrounded by the president and vice presidents of our company.

I was there, along with my boss, to assist these powerful men in a long term planning brainstorming session.  I knew many of these men on a first name basis.

While none were what I would call friends, a few were good acquaintances and all had always treated me kindly.

What always comes back to me about that day was the sudden overwhelming panic that they would realize I was a fraud. Instead of a grown woman in a navy wool business suit, I was suddenly the little girl sliding down the corn cob mountain by the grain elevator, laughing as I ended up next to the pig pen across the gravel road from our old farm house.

They would discover I never finished my degree and that I listened to J. Vernan McGee on the radio and that sad country music made me cry and that I sipped the same glass of Riesling through the entire meal at business dinners.

Of course this was silly as many of my co-workers knew I had married and had my first child before finishing my degree so there was no scandal to be had... and they might laugh at my enjoyment of sermons by the old fashioned McGee but it didn't affect my ability at work.

The meeting went well and all were satisfied with the results.  So why do I remember it?  Because of that The Emperor's New Clothes experience... except I felt culturally unclothed when everyone else saw a young woman who was just fine.  It was quite startling...

I wish I could say that was the only time I felt less qualified than those who surrounded me.  Albeit no other occurrence was that memorable.   But haven't we all felt that way at one time or another?  At least those of us who are honest about our emotions and who lay no claim at being egotistical.

I am learning not to compare myself with others although it will always be a struggle.  I know it is only human and few make it through their journey otherwise.  Perhaps saints reach a point but not artists or poets or writers or mothers or anyone who feels deeply and ponders much.

I feel His disfavor not when I try and fail but when I don't try because I fear.  I feel His disappointment in me when I am overwhelmed with unkind thoughts about highly successful people because it seems He has blessed them... more.

It was jealousy that split Heaven apart and the war of the angels began over one who was created thinking himself on par with the Creator.  So we can understand why God does not allow comparisons of any kind, for we will either think ourselves better than we are or we will grant others a place which only belongs to the Lord in our life.  Stop to think about it... I have.

But there is no need to think anything other than how He sees us.  

Have you ever stopped to ponder what Eternity must be like for the God who made the world to become a humble man who makes tables and chairs and bowls with his hands... for you and me?

What is so special about His Bride (that being us) which would cause a God... the God... to leave Paradise for Palestine... to suffer... to die... for you and me?

Why would He become the Bread and the Wine poured out for us so we can sit at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and share bread and wine with Him?

He says you and I are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and that He came to "take back the keys to the Kingdom".  He... the Lion of Judah... became the sacrificial Lamb of God.

For you and for me.

So the next time I think I'm not good enough or smart enough or wise enough or thin enough or young enough or talented enough or... just enough... I know in many ways I am not.  But when I laid my sins at His feet and asked forgiveness and for Him to become the King of my life and Savior of my soul, then He made me more than enough... and you more than enough.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made and we will one day rule and reign with Him.  I don't know about you but I think that is pretty amazing.  We should ponder all of this the next time we are tempted to compare ourselves to others for better or for worse.

Forever and ever, amen.

Artwork:  artist Sally Storch


Nana said...

Hi Brenda;
This post really makes one stop and think! Sometimes we rush around in our "busy" life, thinking if only there were more hours in the day.. If God gave us 24 hours, than that is sufficient for us. Thanks for a wonderful post. Put God first and all else will fall into place. Love and Hugs, Nana

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I needed to hear that.

Ann said...

You have a wonderful way with words and an ability to cut right through all the extras and get to the core of the matter. Always look forward to your Sunday posts.

Rebecca said...

Pondering here....

Anonymous said...

On a day filled with anxiety, frustration, and heartache, (and all before noon) this has got to be the most timely and appropriate post yet. I needed every word of it! Your gentle reminders always fit into the holes in my life. A kind thank you.

moreofhim said...

What a beautiful post! This is something I need to be reminded of on a daily basis. Thank you so much for sharing this - your posts always bless me.

Blessings - Julie

My Cottage Diary said...

What a great post, Brenda! Our "station" in life can be a hard pill to swallow. Frankly, I am often amazed how much worse off I am materially compared to my friends and colleagues. But when the evening comes and I settle in with a good book (for example), I realize I have what I want. Which reminds me: Thanks for your book recommendations on your blog. You've clued me into some great reading! Keep counting your blessings and may many more come your way. Bess

Anonymous said...

I was just praying about this coming in to work this morning. . "Lord, help me to be me, not try to be like someone, their style or whatever. . . to be content in my own style, my own talent, to be the me you would have me to be." We are all different with differing gifts and abilities and ways. He has made us all for a specific purpose and He loves each of us. Thanks for your confirming words. Blessings, Sharon D.

Anonymous said...

Even if we are ok with who we are, there are always those who make sure that we know how they think of us!! Yea, had to be with some kin...after more than 40 years, I get it already!! But apparently they do not want me to forget that only begrudgingly they allow me to be there. I look forward to not having to be one day!! That is the time I have to cling more to GOD. Sigh...won't it be good to one day not have these lovely things to go through!!

Anonymous said...

Brenda, I had an experience very similar to yours that taught me a lot.

I, too, was in my very first meeting with the "higher-ups" and being a brand new manager (and one of the only women in the company who was in manufacturing and not marketing) I felt like I had to study for the meeting like it was a test. I memorized facts and figures about our production lines so no one could ask me a question that I wouldn't have the answer to and cause embarrassment for myself and my boss. The very first question was directed to the VP of Sales. He stopped, thought briefly, then said "I don't know the answer - I'll have to get back with you on that." That moment changed me. It helped boost my confidence tremendously and I still remember that vividly to this day. No one can know everything but you can always look it up!


Keri said...

God is so good to speak to us through others. This morning He did so by reminding me that I needed to catch up on your blog, as my busy-ness had kept me away for a couple of weeks. And He had this special message waiting for me.

Last night, my husband and I went out to dinner with the other three members of his accountability group and their wives. I did not know these women well, and I went into the dinner feeling awkward and unsure of myself, as I often do in similar situations. One of the women is highly-educated and very intellectual, and I was horrified to find myself clumsily finding a way to work my Master's degree into the conversation so that she would know that I'm no slouch in the education department. Wow. What a cringe-worthy moment as soon as the words were out of my mouth.

I fell asleep worrying about what these women thought of me or said about me to their husbands as they drove home from dinner, and as soon as I woke up this morning, the anxious and self-focused thoughts returned. I couldn't fall back to sleep (my one day of the week to sleep in) because of my obsessing and re-thinking everything I said over dinner, so I got up to have my Bible study and turn my thoughts around.

When I finished, God prompted me to check your blog, and although the vivid memory you describe here differs somewhat from my experience last night, the conclusion we both need(ed) to reach is the same: The way He sees us is enough. One of those simple truths that's sometimes so very hard to take to heart.

Thank you for reminding me of that truth this morning, when I really needed to hear it. I'll be praying today that it sinks deep into my soul. And yours.

Kathy said...

Thank you!!