Impressing Others is a Tricky Business

Why is that sometimes when we are trying to impress others all the magnetic poles line up to foil our attempts and mock us?

I was walking into the restaurant, following the waiter through a tiled floor maze of occupied tables. Curtis was bringing up the tail.

I felt a joy in him following me, watching me. We were still dating and I was trying to make a good impression.

We had just come from church and I was in heels, hose, and a skirt. This was not just any outfit thrown together. I knew this was an outfit I looked good in. I was feeling confident.

“It is just over there,” the waiter said, pointing.  

I smiled. “Okay.”

I took another step, and another step.

I was beginning to memorize the waiter’s back. It seemed we had wound our way in and through and out and around the sprawling Mexican restaurant at least two times by now. By the time we reached the table I would be famished. I was just hoping the food wouldn’t be cold by the time it came to the table. If it had to traverse our current route, the possibility was bordering on highly likely.

 Step. Step. Step. It felt like one of my toenails was to long. Why is that high heels remind me that my toenails need cutting? Step, pain, step, pain.

 Suddenly all ceased. No more steps. Things were still. Too still.

 I blinked.

 Was that the ceiling?

 Why were the waiter and Curtis peering down at me with looks of alarm?

 What was I doing lying flat on the floor?

One miss-step and I had landed flat on the floor. So fast I didn’t even feel myself falling or have time to try and catch myself.

Both towering men were asking me if I was all right. Telling me to catch my breath and don’t move for a moment.

When you are lying on the floor between two tables of dining people and two towering and receding men who are standing up and then kneeling down and then standing up, you feel pretty flat and small. You also just want to close your eyes and either sink through the floor or wish yourself into some other three-dimensional space that is very far away.

“Should I call the ambulance?” the waiter asked.

A child’s voice floated down, “Mommy, that woman just toppled over dead.”

Embarrassment and erosion of pride and dignity were descending quicker than a falling thermometer in an artic storm.

I mentally checked my body parts. All felt fine. I felt no pain at all.

I sat up and tried to gracefully stand with Curtis providing a helping hand under my arm. (My straight skirt was both a blessing and a curse. It is harder to arise gracefully from a prone position on the floor in a straight skirt. But a straight skirt also can’t fly over one’s head and allow bare skin to touch the tile floor littered with food drops and foot prints.) Soon I found myself upright.

The waiter kept apologizing and asking me if I was fine.

I smiled.  “Yes, and where was our table?”

He glanced around, trying to remember and then pointed forward.

“Mommy, the lady was resurrected.”

I may have been resurrected, but I felt like I was drowning in embarrassment and a strong case of get-me-out-of-here syndrome.

Curtis tucked his hand under my elbow and guided me to the table. If I was going to slip and upend backwards on another puddle of tortilla soup, cheese grease, or slimy salsa, he was going to be there to catch me. He was going to protect me. He was going to walk beside me and lead me to our destination.

Somehow, we got to the table and had lunch while about 4 attentive waiters kept asking me if I was all right, was there anything they could do, and could they pay for the cleaning of my clothes?

Sure, I was mortified and thought my raggedy pride would take awhile to recover, but it felt good to know someone was on my side ready to catch me and clear the path of spilled food.

Curtis is still by my side, walking besides me, and for that I am thankful.

But someone has been besides me even longer than Curtis.

God resurrected me from my old dead life and now walks patiently beside me. Beside all His children.  

God is our protector. When I slow down and focus for awhile on Him, delighting in Him, I feel his hand under my elbow, gently leading me down the path, walking besides me to clear or minimize missteps, tenderly pulling me back to me feet when I upend, resurrecting me from despair and helplessness and filling my heart with joy, love, and peace. 

I don’t know about you, but in my reality where I live daily, trying to impressing others is a tricky business, and often ends in failure. Luckily, we don’t need to impress God.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important and have a lovely day.

Theresa

 

Join the Discussion: How do your efforts to impress others end up?

Linking up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope).  A Wise Woman Builds her Home, Pat and Candy, Messy Marriage, Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth), Missional Women, Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), and Lili Dunbar (#FaithOnFire).

Life as it Comes #40 | Security, Wanderings, and Ireland

Security, Wanderings, and Ireland

 

A humorous podcast about life.Sometimes life does not go as planned. You almost miss a plane, but then you have a story to tell. Because everyone needs a story of their own. A story that people laugh at. A story that stars you. A story that is yours alone to tell.

Listen to this story and gain a smile.

 

 

 

To listen, click one of the triangles below. Either the green triangle or the white triangle from a player below.

Join the Discussion: What’s your favorite story to tell?

Need another smile or story? Listen to earlier episodes here . . .

If you enjoyed this episode, consider sharing it with a friend. Or leave a review on Stitcher, iTunes, or Google Play. A sentence or two is fine. Thanks.

If you want to be the first to know when the next episode emerges, subscribe! It’s free.

Have a great day!

And don’t forget to laugh!

Theresa

Exploding Expectations

Sometimes when I look back on my expectations, I laugh. Probably because some distance has developed and I am a little wiser. Hopefully.

I remember being confined for months to a hospital bed. Hour after boring hour I laid there. And I remember thinking that as soon as I had the doctor’s okay to blow the mattress and side rails,  I was jumping back up and life was returning to normal.

Unfortunately, I forgot I was healing from a broken back and other broken bones. I didn’t know it, but soon I would find out I was suffering from a bad head injury and other ailments. I didn’t know it as I laid on my back hour after hour, that it would be years before the pain and problems would subside and life would return to a new normal.

Multiple months after springing from the hospital bed I was talking to my therapist about life and how everything was so difficult. Normal life was nowhere to be found even though I was now up and working and engaged with life again.

She looked at me and said, “Theresa if you had a friend who had just been in an accident and was trying to get back into the swing of life again and was finding everything so difficult, what advice would you give her?”

“I would tell her not to be so hard on herself. Relax and give herself more room and not get so discouraged. Patience and grace,” I said.

“Then tell yourself that,” she said.

I laughed a nervous laugh. “I can’t”

“Why not?”

“Well,” I hemmed and hawed. Finally, I said, “Because I hold myself to a higher standard than I do her.”

“Why?”

Silence filled the room. Expanded and breathed several times. Got heavier and heavier.

“I expect more of myself than I do others.”

It was a moment of truth. Of clarity. Something I had never put into words out loud before. And I felt icky and bad saying them, but it was the truth. Yet, even if it was the truth, I wanted to take the words back. To say, no, I didn’t really mean it. Only I couldn’t.

That happened over 20 years ago, and I would like to say that I am now way past that flaw of unrealistic expectations. But like other bad habits, it will be something I will be fighting for the rest of my life.

When I was little I had very few expectations. I remember being delighted with baby kittens and a snow fall that was taller than me. I started school and I excepted to be a good student. I had younger brothers and sisters and was expected to be a good sister. We went to church. I was expected to behave. Be a good child.

The years went on and more and more was expected of me by my parents, teachers, others, bosses, and myself.

I got married and I expected myself to be a good wife. A child arrived and I expected myself to be a good mother. I started teaching, and I expected myself to be a good teacher.

Each year new responsibilities were added. And I piled on new expectations for myself. Homeowner. Neighbor. Committee Leader. Volunteer. Planner. Aunt.

And whether I consciously realized it or not, each new title or position or responsibility had certain rules. Self-imposed expectations. Dos and don’ts.

A good mother did this and that, not that or this, and never that.

I was good at creating expectations for myself.

I was well into life and marriage and motherhood before I realized that many of these expectations I had for myself, were silly rules and laws I had put upon myself. Rules and expectations others were not holding me to. God was not holding me to them. I was holding myself to them and then judging whether I was a good mother or sister or teacher or leader by whether I did this or that on my to-do list or self-imposed rules.

After my confession, my therapist looked at me with kindness and concern. She let my thoughts linger in the room.

Then she looked at me and said, “What makes you different from your friends that you feel you need to expect more of yourself than you do your friends?”

I squirmed. This was getting embarrassing and more uncomfortable by the moment.

“Because I know if you told any of your friends” she continued, “that you were having troubles putting your life back together after your accident, they would say don’t be so hard on yourself. They would say, of course. take it easy. Give yourself some patience and grace and take it easy and slow and soon you will be there. Right?”

I nodded.

“Then treat yourself as your friends would,” she said.

And just like in the movies. That was the end of our hour appointment.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find myself struggling with my expectations for myself. My expectations for others. My expectations of life. My expectations of God.

Sometimes I need to re-evaluate my expectations and see if I am living in bondage or freedom. Whose expectations am I keeping? My own or Gods?

Because if I am living under God’s expectations, I have so much freedom and grace in my life. More than I ever give myself or used to think possible. Under his, I am good enough, don’t need to achieve perfection, or do everything under my own works. Because he holds me to a standard of grace, not perfection.

And that is freeing.

Under him, I am free from my own rules. I wear a light yoke that is grace centered.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important and have a lovely day.

Theresa

 

Join the Discussion: Are you living under your own expectations, others, or His? What expectations do you need to change?

Linking up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope).  A Wise Woman Builds her Home, Pat and Candy, Messy Marriage, Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth), Missional Women, Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement) and Lili Dunbar (#FaithOnFire).