As I was out with my children, I ran into one of my old Zumba instructors’ whose class I used to take at the YMCA. We weren’t friends but we recognized each other and began to talk. Her first question was, “Are you working out later today?”
Granted, I was in workout clothes and I actually was planning on working out later that afternoon while my girls took a nap, so I said yes – I wasn’t, however, planning on working out at the gym or going to one of her classes.
Insert awkward teeth grinding emoji.
We continued in some small talk, mostly about working out and what classes she was teaching. Which was totally fine – except that I cancelled my gym membership 2 months ago…
As our conversation continued, I didn’t bring it up, I just answered around her questions and commented on my own workouts that I’d been doing (at home…not at the gym, just so we’re clear).
She left for a few minutes and I felt a little eeek feeling in my gut, “should I have said I don’t go to the gym anymore?… I wasn’t technically lying…” I thought to myself.
But then, she came back….
She asked me if I still went to the YMCA and I froze. All of a sudden, I felt like a kid again, like I needed to impress her. So, I tried to stall. I tried to circle around the question, but it wasn’t working. She asked again!
SO I LIED.
I said yes and I waited for her to call me on it. I cringed, not looking up, expecting her to comment on how I hadn’t been to classes lately, but she didn’t.
We said our goodbyes and I sat in my guilt.
I know, I know, it was just a small lie, a fib, if you will. But it represented something else, some measure of inadequacy that clawed out of my heart and took over my mouth.
I felt some desire to impress her – not to disappoint. That’s my M.O. Don’t disappoint. Be perfect. Impress everyone.
Oddly enough, that was the first time in quite a while that I’d felt the need to lie about something so trivial. The need to impress like that.
I’ve experienced a lot bondage and fear because of those little lies and for the past few years I’ve chosen to put my pride aside. To choose honesty over impressing people.
For some reason this situation brought it out again. That feeling of inadequacy, of imperfection.
The truth is I am imperfect, which is why I need Jesus to save me. I shouldn’t be looking at what the world says is honorable. I need to – I’m called to – embrace my imperfection, embrace my need for a Savior and trust in The God who is worthy of all honor. Who calls me His child.
We need to focus on our own strengths, not try to mimic anyone else’s.
As Christians, one of our strengths is pressing into the freedom and peace that humility and vulnerability bring. When we hand over control to its rightful master [God] and choose to live into our place as created beings we gain freedom and self-confidence.
Think about it from a parent/child perspective.
The adult parent holds all control, they are responsible for providing for their family and making sure everything is taken care of. The child on the other hand is subject to his parent’s decisions. He may cry, yell or even try to argue with his parents to change their mind but ultimately, he doesn’t have the final say. His yearning to control only leads to discontentment, anger, fear – ultimately sin. But when he chooses to trust that his parents have his best interest in mind; when we trust that God is good and sovereign, we begin to experience freedom, peace and joy. We regain our liberty.
Looking back, I should have been honest about canceling my gym membership as soon as she’d asked if I was planning to work out later. I could have even taken a step back when she’d asked if I still went to the gym and told the truth. A simple “no” was all that was required. It would have kept my conscience clear and allowed me to act more like Jesus.
Instead I felt regret and conviction.
As we move forward from our sin and missteps, we can repent and choose to respond differently next time. Reminding ourselves to be gracious and praising God that Jesus covers our sin with his sacrificial death on the cross.
Friends, if you’re struggling with feelings of inadequacy or insecurity, I pray that you would be brave enough to humble yourself in your imperfection and lean on the perfect Jesus. And believe me when I say, I’m right there with you!