This is my third attempt at writing this post.
Initially I was going to dive into a very awkward and embarrassing moment in my life.
I spoke up for friend and received the backlash for it. I was misunderstood and till this day I hope to never run into that group again. I pray that they forgot the entire episode and when they see me they won't remember me at all and if fact, might think that they've never met me at all! Then I'd have a chance to start over and give them a chance to get to know who I am now, not remember what I did back then.
But at the end of that post I wrote something that surprised me.
I asked myself if I would speak up for that friend again, if I had to do it all over.
Um, probably not.
I spoke up for a friend but didn't 100% agree with her viewpoint. She was afraid to share her views and I thought her feelings deserved to be expressed- even though I didn't agree. I became her mouthpiece and what I shared were not my thoughts but hers. It wasn't received that way. It was I who received the aggressive comments and sneers. I had to deal with the embarrassment.
What happened to me was exactly what she was afraid would happen to her.
This happened over 6 years ago. And till this day, when I think back to that moment, I'm still embarrassed.
And before I sat down to write the 3rd version of this story, I regretted the entire thing and would have never spoke up in the first place.
But as I wrote these words in my 3rd attempt to express myself, I felt a deep conviction in my soul.
Why wouldn't I speak up again?
And it's pretty simple.
Because I'm worried about what those people think of me.
If I were to return to my university for an alumni event or even just to visit, would I run into them again? (Probably not). But my fear is that I'd run into them, whether in real life or across the interwebs, and all that they'll remember is that moment.
Then it hit me.
Why wouldn't I speak up again?
Because of my PRIDE.
That moment has stayed with me for a very long time. Most people probably have long forgotten about it but my shame is still there, stuck in my heart and mind.
I can't shake it.
Does it really matter what the group thought of me? At this point in my life, no- it doesn't.
God knows my heart. He knows why I chose to speak out for a friend.
Should I have handled it differently? Yes. Most definitely, yes.
And I think we all have embarrassing things that have happened to us in our past.
Times where we've been judged wrongly or made fun of or made to feel as though we're not good enough.
The shame of being judged is still very deep within me. I can recall a handful of other times through my "awkward stage" (years 11-13) where I was teased and made fun of- judged like only kids can judge.
Even after graduating from high school, throughout college and starting my first "real" job- I've always been super awkward and cringe when I reflect back on my past.
Is it pride? Is it shame?
Are those just two sides of the same coin? I'm prideful in that I worry what others think of me and filled with shame when their opinion may not be the best?
What does it matter?
The only opinion I should be after is God's . His opinion is the one that matters.
So what difference does it make that acquaintances may not have the highest opinion of me?
Or past school mates only remember my embarrassing and awkward moments?
But for this sinner? It's very tough, my friends. Very tough.