Have you ever looked at a picture of yourself – and said, “What?! That’s not me!”
How about a video? Me, too. Here’s what I discovered –
Vocal exclamation marks and exaggerating – they are my old habits.
Often, instead of having an influence and impact as they were designed…they often just have an IMPACT!!! … or not.
Perhaps these analogies will help:
- Picture reading about Abigail Adams giving birth – without her beloved John – to a still born daughter…when the speed setting on Audible books is set too fast.
- Picture a fire hydrant watering an African violet.
What am I believing? What tree is growing this fruit?
It’s like using a glass sword; it may separate truth from lies for an instant, but IMPACT!!! dies with the breaking of the sword.
Or maybe it’s like a playing a whole song on a timpani drum. Hearing it once may be a bit of a marvel, but it’s not going to take long to get tired of the extreme frequency.
I wasn’t looking for this revelation; God offered it very gently a few nights ago. I was past tired. It was late.
Not long before going to bed, I watched about two minutes of a video of me teaching at school that day. I can only say – watching myself was like watching a stranger.
I almost didn’t recognize myself. And it wasn’t good…what I was seeing.
I was watching what could have been an expert lawyer advocating an important case…but I was just teaching. What I saw was a fierceness in me. Passion? Yes – but not just passion.
I saw a “delivery” that didn’t match the content of my message. It was in my voice tone and inflection – and my facial expressions.
And honestly, it wasn’t in my heart. I didn’t know this was what I looked like.
Here’s a miracle: I didn’t feel self-condemnation. I felt confused. And I fell asleep.
God, almost every night, untangles and reveals ideas to me in my sleep. In my sleeping mind, I asked Him about the video.
And He gently reminded me of my childhood belief (for about 50 years!) that I had to fight for attention, and to prove I was right, and to find validation. He reminded me that sometimes, I literally had had to fight for survival.
I know performing to try to get attention was the fruit of this tree. And also my “need” to “prove.”
My years as a teacher and administrator…in charge of outcomes…He reminded me of these trenches, too.
He reminded me of my long-held belief about Him – that He ignored me, and that I had believed I had to prove my worth to Him, too.
And then He ever so carefully connected the dots…my habits of communicating are 54 years old – and were formed in my old nature and reinforced surviving in the room of good intentions.
For so long, I was a fighter; now I often talk as if I still am.
My new nature is maturing – as I continue to trust it; some of my old habits don’t match the new me.
- A softer, gentler, welcoming offering – instead of a fire cracker in your face.
- A trusting, patient listener, unafraid of being ignored.
- A fun, adventurous – and, yes – passionate “girl.”
It feels so right.
I love God’s timing. Not that long ago – I would have been devastated and embarrassed. And today, I was just ready. He knew.
I shared this revelation with my students. I gave them permission to make little signs with exclamation marks on them – and hold them up if they felt the fountain turning into a fire hydrant.
They laughed. And loved. Nothing was fixed. And everything changed.
Together, we made more room for trust. Trust always attracts grace.
Grace is the stuff of miracles.
If you’re interested in reading about more miracles, enjoy the testimonials on my website.
Or more about our work with students and families –