Saturday, December 28, 2019

Revelations from a church bathroom stall

It was a Wednesday night. My daughter's mission trip group meeting had just wrapped up and I had about 30 minutes before my Bible study began. So I had a little down time. I walked in to the auditorium where we have Bible study to find the tables not quite set up yet and I wasn't sure what to do so I went back out to the church lobby. There was surprisingly nobody I went to the restroom. It was while I was in there, once again alone, that I started questioning what the heck I was doing at the church. Of the thoughts that congregated in my mind, most of which were negative, the one that stood out and kept screaming for attention was "You don't belong here"...

This isn't really anything new for me. I've often felt very out of place as I think most introverted people do. We struggle to find where we belong in any situation. Usually, my comfort zone is in the corner or with my husband who is an extroverted person by nature. I'm not an anti-social person. In fact, I'm actually pretty funny and on many occasions find myself starting up conversations. But outside of my comfort zone, I tend to close myself off and can probably seem shy or unapproachable. My friends know that when you first meet me I don't talk and after I get really comfortable around you I won't shut up. It's a balancing act I guess.

So anyways, this is where I was. The lone occupant of a stall in the bathroom. It's almost like a setup for something bad about to happen, right? It's like a scene from a scary movie. All alone. Until...Like when predators isolate their prey. Only, I had isolated myself in this case and had left myself open to predators. Only not of flesh and blood but of lies.

I started to think:

  • Maybe I'll just skip Bible study and go home. 
  • I could pick my daughter up after her youth group thing and just go home. 
  • Nobody is gonna miss me anyways. 
  • It's not like I'm contributing to the group discussion. 
  • Nobody even cares. 
  • I'm not getting that much out of it anyways. 
  • I'm not really enjoying the discussion. 
  • It's really boring sometimes. 
  • I don't really feel a connection to anyone. 
  • I don't belong here.
  • What am I doing here anyways?
See how I started to rationalize? These were all lies or rationalizations based on lies. Because the truth is I was needed. 

In a moment of clarity, I just said out loud (I think) "No, I am suppose to be here!

As I stopped thinking and started praying and declaring, my phone rang. I know this is poor taste but my daughter was still in the building somewhere and she was calling, so I answered. She was in the parking lot with a couple of her friends and one of them couldn't get his car started. So she figured I could help. I left my peaceful cocoon of isolation and went to help. After a few tries we got his car started and my daughter and I went back in to the building. Bible study and youth group happened and nobody knew what battle had taken place in order for me to walk back into the auditorium. 

Sometimes it's not a major battle. Sometimes it's literally just greeting someone or not hiding out in the corner. I've had to make myself shake hands with people. I'm not meant to be in the corner. Sometimes I have to tell myself that "Nobody puts Baby in the corner!" 

I realized whose words I needed to be listening to. Not my own and definitely not the lies that I'd allowed into my thoughts. I was meant to be at that Bible study that night. We've been study Exodus and it's been eye-opening the things that I never knew. Especially since I'm a preacher's kid. It directly points to Jesus. And that's whose words I needed to have going through my head. 

On the way home from the church, I told my daughter what happened. She said she got chills. I came home and put up post-its all over the kitchen. They say things like:
  • "Be Brave" 
  • "I'm contributing."
  • "I'm supposed to be here."
  • "I'm loved."
  • "I'm valued."
They are a daily reminder of truths that I let get away from me. Maybe you've felt that way. You've allowed yourself to get isolated and you've started to listen to lies. I'd encourage you to really stop where you are and just declare, I am loved, I am valued, I'm contributing, I matter, I'm brave and I'm suppose to be here. You are gonna feel silly. But if it helps, go stand in the bathroom and do the Wonder Woman pose and declare these things over yourself. 

  • Because the truth is, you are a daughter of the King. 
  • You are loved by God. 
  • You are brave on a daily basis just by living life and raising your kids or working your job or whatever it is that you do. 
  • You are suppose to be here. You're life might feel like one flop after the next but don't stop. 
  • You are no accident and you have a purpose. 
  • You have value. What you think or say matters. 
  • You have the gift of a voice and you can use it to speak life into a world that's full of darkness. You can be that tiny point of light that shows someone else the way. 
  • You are contributing. Make it count. 
Just every time you feel like crap and feel like you just want to go hide in the bathroom, tell yourself these things. And you'll start to believe them. Because they are all true. 

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