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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Walking in Grace

Let’s get the straight….I’m not a prankster.  I don’t go out of my way to pull them on people and I probably am a poor sport in being pranked as well.  I’m *not* a prankster!

But…this one time, it just happened.  I wasn’t scheming or thinking evil of my dear friend.  I just let an opportunity go too far and it nearly cost me a friendship and several girls’ dry beds.  So here’s how it went down…

A few weeks ago, I was serving at camp and was the cabin supervisor in a cabin that was attached to another cabin via a bathroom.  My cabin had just finished devotions and had turned off our lights trying to settle down for the night.  Meanwhile, I can hear the sister cabin still talking so I get out of my bed with the thought of just going over to the other cabin and sassing them for being so loud when lights were supposed to be out. 

To my surprise, as I walked across the bathroom, I could tell that the sister cabins lights were indeed out but they were just talking and trying to wind down.  So I slowly opened that cabins door about to speak, but someone was talking about resetting the alarm clock.  At that very moment, the cabin supervisor of this sister cabin, whom I shall call J, got up from her bed to go set the alarm for the next morning.  In the mean time, I walked in the room, let the door close behind me, and sat down in J’s bed.  The girls in the cabin continued to talk and go about as if they didn’t notice me in the room, which I couldn’t believe.  I didn’t try to hide.  I could see them clearly with my eyes already being adjusted to the dark, so I figured they could see me too.  Well, I was wrong….

So J trekked across the room to reset the alarm and I sat calmly on her bed not saying a word.  As she came back to her bed, I watched her, not saying a thing, just to see what would happen.  She came alongside, paused, slowly put her hands out to touch my shoulder, likely thinking her comforter blanket was awful high off the bed.  She pushed my shoulder soft the first time trying to inspect what it was and then shoved it harder and screamed.  In the meantime, now the whole cabin is screaming (nearly peeing their pants, I’m sure), I’m totally cracking up laughing, and J is on the floor curled up in a ball, still screaming.  Girls all over are screaming for someone to turn on the light, not knowing what has been in the cabin that has their leader so scared, and I stealthily sneak back out the restroom.

Little did I know, when I went over to my cabin right after this incident, I look at my bed and three (yes, THREE) of my girls are curled up in my bed trying to scare me.  They didn’t know what just happened and I certainly did not plan for what just happened and yet here they are taking after their leader.  I kick them out of my bed back to theirs and then head back to the other cabin to apologize.  Before I could even leave my cabin though, two of J’s girls attacked me with pillows….not playing around attack but like, pay back.  I deserved that…fair enough.  I walk over and J’s still curled up in a ball.  :-(  I really messed up this time.  I apologized profusely and told the sister cabin girls that the girls in my cabin actually tried doing the same thing to me of sitting in my bed.

One of the girls quickly chimed in, “it’s because you are being a bad example.”  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was supposed to be a leader, someone they could look up to, someone to follow the lead from and I just nearly killed one of my friends in a fit of overwhelming fear.  ((I would soon know the fear I put her through with the thought of someone being in my living place without my knowledge…read blog here if you’d like)).  I not only really scared a friend and made it extremely hard for any of the girls in her cabin to get a good night sleep that night but I also was a terrible example to both the girls in my cabin as well as the other ones.

The next day was a wreck for me personally.  I don’t like failing, especially in ministry.  I continued to apologize to J.  I apologized to her whole cabin and sought their forgiveness.  I apologized to my cabin for the terrible example that I was for them.  I asked for forgiveness from God but for a whole day, I could not forgive myself. 

I walked in shame all day.  How could you?  You should have been the leader……… you should have known better………… you caused nightmares…………. What if one of those girls did lose her bladder from laughing or screaming? ………you’d be over and all ministries null and void…..

I dug a pit deep and wide and buried myself in it.  My poor cabin…my poor small group….I was a wreck that whole day and I’m sure everyone knew it.  And all for what???  What did my guilt profit me?  I could not go back and change a thing about what I had done. 

I had to choose if I was going to continue to walk in shame, or if I would walk in grace.  Walk in the grace and forgiveness of my God and Savior.  Walk in the grace shown to me through my friend J in her quick forgiveness.  Walk in the grace of knowing that my girls were following God and Christ was their example -- not me.  Walking in the grace that I wasn’t and I can’t be perfect.  I will mess up.  And though this wasn’t a sin issue necessarily, I do sin and I do mess up, but God’s grace is sufficient and His payment paid in full.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying to take God’s grace for granted.  Romans 6:1-2 say “What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  By no means!  How can we, who died to sin, still live in it?”  I don’t want to continue to walk in sin and I DO want to be a good example to those around me.

But sometimes, a good example is showing our faults.  My pride often wants me to appear flawless but my flesh does not allow me to keep that look for long or at least not honestly.  So I can either try to paint on the mask continually and present a very fake and unattainable “Christian life” to the teens that I work with, or I can walk in His grace showing that hey……….it’s not easy….I’m not perfect………..I fail and mess up……..even today……. And you will too.  You’ll mess up.  And that’s ok.  His grace is sufficient for that too. 

I hope to seek to walk in His grace knowing the grace He has shown me in all things and hope to extend that grace to others too rather than judging or pushing them to be better/perfect.  My life long effort of being the best only led to a prideful mess.  I don’t want myself or those I work with to be carbon copies or molded idols or Sunday school answers or goodie two shoes.  I want them to be real, knowing that this walk to which we were called is not an easy one.  We will struggle and we will face persecution.  I paint a misconstrued picture when I lose the transparency and give the pat answers and pharisitical religiosity.  

I’m not your typical prankster but I am certainly not perfect.  God’s not done with me yet.   Want to take a walk of grace with me?

Until next time,
In Christ,
Joy Lynn

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