I walked in the room, knowing I needed to apologize. Dinner in our home is definitely a time of interesting, and fiery conversation. The fiery ones center mostly on the state of virtual school. On any given night, one parent ends up being the bad cop, the good cop, or we both end up just being lame. Tonight, it was me.
I wasn’t “bad.” I hadn’t yelled. We hadn’t had the dreaded school discussion that ends in stomping to rooms, but I hadn’t set a “good” example. Not one sprinkled with grace and acceptance.
I had mocked someone we knew at the dinner table. Judged a situation, and judged the person in the situation.
And any of you who haven’t committed this sin, be the first to cast a stone. I’ll wait.
While I wait…and wait, I’ll explain my apology. If I feel my example has not been one of Christlike-ness; or let’s just say, if I KNOW, because the Spirit tells me it hasn’t, I will apologize. This means I will also apologize to my kids.
Now, I know some don’t believe in this. But, the Bible is clear about how humble we must become to enter His kingdom:
Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:3, NLT
Like children. So I’m not above apologizing to a child. Especially if I know that one is watching and learning from me.
“I shouldn’t have said what I did tonight. Made fun of what happened. It was wrong. I am not going to justify my behavior. I should have explained my thoughts differently. It was wrong. I didn’t set an example, and it wasn’t kind.”
The apology opened up a conversation about authenticity and belonging.
See…I had left a space earlier that day feeling shunned and unwelcome. Like I was an intrusion. And I let it fester all day. To the point that I let the inauthentic response of another trigger me into anger, and a mean-spirited response.
When I should have explained at dinner the importance of making others feel comfortable in all spaces. Allow others to be free to be themselves, so they don’t have to constantly “shape-shift,” and be less than themselves. To be inclusive to all. To make others feel a little less self-conscious, but rather accepted, seen, loved, and known.
“I don’t want you to be 42 years old, and just figuring this out like I am.”
As I sat typing out the words to this post, I reached for my phone to locate a verse I needed and found this…a note I had typed out in my phone over a year ago. A short “letter” I had written to the younger me.
Dear Younger me,
Choose your circle wisely. You should be loved by your peeps for who you are, not for who you pretend to be. If you have to change who you were made to be to fit into a space, that isn’t your space.
And as I read it, I realized…though she thought it “cringy…” I had just said these exact same words, without my even knowing to a pretty spot-on, younger version of 13 year-old me.
And no…I didn’t want her to have to figure all this out in another 30 years.
And goodness, I am still trying to figure out many days who it is that God sees in me.
Because that is what I want her to see: who God sees. Not what anyone in any room she may walk into may see. Because more often than not…they may not see ALL that God has given her. ALL her talent. ALL her gifts. ALL that makes her so uniquely special, and set apart.
And it’s the same for you. There will be rooms you walk into where you may be known by name, but in which people still just don’t see you. You still don’t feel known. You will move in circles with people who don’t know who you really are, because you feel as if you have to cover up the real you. Play pretend. You may waste years and years trying to fit into spaces that will just never “fit” you, and who you are.
Know this. Embrace it today.
You are always seen and intimately known by God. He knows everything about you, and He still loves you. He has a place for you, and you never have to pretend, cover up; nor will you feel all alone.
He sees the real you. The broken you. The insecure you. The too loud you. The shy you. The you trying to fit into spaces that make you cringe.
He knows your name. He sees you. He loves you. He accepts you. You are known. You belong.