Sunday, March 25, 2007

Attitude 101

The Power of Prayer.
The Word.
If it's not from you and it's not from the enemy, it's from GOD!
Submission of the heart.

I think I'll remember a lot more than 3% of what Bonnie Floyd spoke about during our annual women's retreat. I've been wracking my brain but I do not think I have ever heard a more dynamic speaker. And that includes retreats, camps, sermons, university chapel. It has become apparent that this weekend, Conviction was my middle name.

Carol, Bethany and I performed before each session and if you ask the majority of the women watching, they all went really well. If you ask me, three of the four went well. It might have been because I completely forgot one of my lines during "the one which shall not be mentioned by name." I figured out that it happened because the audience laughed really hard after the trigger line and I plum forgot, when the laughter subsided, that it was MY line that came next. But I knew long before that that something was going to happen. I knew because I was really flustered right before we went on that night. And I felt like I needed to run the lines again. But the reason was because I was wearing a skin tight dress. We had just eaten an exquisite meal which had been delivered to our room. Carol had done my hair all up and Bethany had done my eye make-up all gold and brown and to be honest, I was feeling a looking. I ran back to my room to grab my microphone and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The vision before me was...kind of glamorous (if you saw the dress and the pashmina I think you might agree.) I don't think it's a sin to feel glamorous. I do think it's a sin to forget that you are ministering to women through drama (even if you are just comic relief) because you're wearing heels (which you never wear because your husband is vertically challenged) and you find yourself being moderately attracted to your own calf as it flexes with each step of the beautiful shoe and you fully expect compliments on your ensemble when you finish your sketch. I realized this unfortunate line of thinking as I smirked at my...self. And I didn't have much time. "God, I'm so sorry that I'm lusting own leg. Please forgive me and help me to remember all my lines so that I don't ruin everything onstage." (If you don't regularly spend time in prayer, let me give you a crash course. Don't ever pray like that.) It was an insurance prayer. It was just like when I was in high school and I forgot to study for a test so I prayed that I would pass. What I was really saying was, "Hey, God, aren't you so impressed with me that I've spent all this time memorizing lines and stuff? Could you pat me on the back and reward me by having it all come off just splendidly? And by the way, God, thanks for making my calves." I wish I had realized the error of my ways before Carol, Bethany and I had to improvise nearly an entire sketch.

And I was darn mad at myself when it was over. Because upon the anxious let down, I immediately realized the ridiculousness of the aforementioned prayer. I went to the bathroom to change my clothes and I locked myself in the stall. I wanted to punch the door. And cry--because it was my fault for making it--in my mind--about my outfit. And it was my fault for praying a crappy and flippant prayer. But as I walked back to the ballroom, seven women at seven different times told me how great it was. (It's not even that far of a walk.) I began to feel encouraged. The moral of this story is that God can use a wrongful attitude to accomplish His will and plan and bless people in the process. Which is something my husband has been trying to explain to me for quite some time.

(But Carol and Bethany, I am very sorry that this revelation had to come at your expense. Great improvisational skills by the way...)

Anyway, like any retreat, I am feeling spiritually recharged and physically exhausted. I am going to pray more, probably without ceasing. I am going to love others as Jesus loves me. I am going to read my Bible daily (and not just the Veggie Tales Bible that I read to Garrett...the real Bible that doesn't illustrate Goliath as a giant pickle.) I am going to be the best the world. I am going to be nominated for mother of the year. I am going to do everything the speaker said to do because I'm a pastor's wife for crying out loud. In fact, I'm probably even going to grow up and become a Christian speaker! (In the same way that whenever I go to Sea World I'm going to grow up and train killer whales.) These are things I feel I can do as I turn the ignition in my car. And two seconds in to my drive home I will get cut off and choke on a curse word. "No, you love that moron. You love him. You love him," I'll tell myself. I will anticipate 100 percent growth. I will achieve, perhaps, 1 percent. But I think it's always good to set the bar high.

And the outfit was awesome, by the way. It just should never have been about the outfit. The second it crossed my mind that it might be about the outfit, I had basically sent an email to God. "Dear God, humble me. Signed, The Same Girl It Always Is."