Wednesday, August 3, 2011
How Sharing Your Messes Makes You Lovable
I opened my Sunday school class with a confession. “Am I the only one who isn’t enjoying this study? I look at the book title, “Me and My Big Mouth,” and I want to throw it out the window. I’d rather scrub my kitchen floor than discover that complaining is a sin. I entered the world complaining to the doctor because the delivery room was too cold. I could probably win a blue ribbon at the state fair for the most gripes in an hour. ”
Mary Lou laughed her loudest. “That’s why I love this class, Jeanette.”
“Why, because your teacher has an awful time getting her tongue in order?”
“No. Because you’re honest enough to admit it. We feel comfortable with you when you share your human side. We know you’re just like us, struggling with the same issues. ”
This wasn’t the first time I’d opened my murky soul and shared the ugliness inside with these ladies. Once a month we spent our Sunday school time praying for our families and each other. I often found myself sharing my blunders and disappointments with my Heavenly Father in their presence. They knew how impatient I became when customers at work had stupid requests; how I condemned myself when one of my kids made a poor choice; how I struggled to submit to my husband’s leadership.
And they loved me anyway. I like to think they loved me more than if I’d pretended I never took a wrong turn.
Before I became a pastor’s wife, I wouldn’t have dreamed that sharing my faults could make someone happy. Didn’t people expect a leader to set a perfect example? Didn’t they want the pastor’s wife to show them how easy it was to walk in all the fruit of the spirit? Didn’t they need a model saint who never yelled at her kids or had a tacky thought? Maybe not.
Perhaps these ladies find my candor refreshing. They see that although I’m a leader, I stumble like they do. They may think, “If there’s hope for Jeanette, God can fix me, too.”
If my transparency can give someone hope, I’m okay with sharing my messes. As writer and editor Jim Watkins likes to say, “I’m a mess and you’re a mess. Thank God we have a Messiah.”