“Where did you accept God’s invitation to be loving, to be grateful, to be yourself?” Father James Martin asks in his Daily Examen podcast.
Wow. God wants me to be myself–unselfconsciously, unapologetically, gloriously me.
What does that feel like? Like the girl who doesn’t think twice about offering Jesus her lunch.
That feeling reaches into my past and pulls out a thirty-year-old memory. I’d taken our kids to a Norman Foote concert, and we had so much fun, I felt like the best mom in the world. We were singing silly songs as we buckled up to go home, but before we got very far, I heard an expensive scraping sound. I looked in my side view mirror. The rear bumper of our van had hooked onto and dislodged the front bumper of the car beside us.
Even now, as I write about it, I feel adrenalin rising in my chest and into my throat. I don’t recall how we got unhooked from the car and exactly what happened next, but I do remember thinking, “If this were a movie, that would be Norman Foote’s car.” Sigh. It was.
Though I could see the humour in it, it wasn’t funny to me at all. Life was admonishing me: Don’t go thinking you’re so good.
From that day on, whenever I get close to feeling good about being myself, I think about Norman Foote’s bumper. That’s why, I suspect, God brought this old memory to mind.
Just like our van got unhooked from the damaged bumper and repairs were made, God is detaching me from the damaging belief that if I become truly myself, I will embarrass myself and harm others–and that would be terrible.
“It isn’t true,” I tell myself and take a deep breath to let a new reality emerge. Accidents can happen to anyone–and do.
That new scrape on the drivers’ side of our car? I didn’t do it. And the one who did is an excellent driver who has no trouble being himself and enjoying every minute of it. I think he makes God very happy.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?
–Romans 8:31 (MSG)
Norman Foote is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and comedian. He has been nominated for four Juno Awards for Best Children’s Album in 1990, 1993, 2001, and won in 2010. Foote is known for his kids’ eye view of the world and his friendly, but pointed, jabs at anything from pollution to Mom’s style of cooking. His latest album is called Always Be Yourself. That’s the plan, Norman. Thanks for being a part of my journey.
What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.