Confessions of a Brat

“I think it’s time I stop putting my comfort first. It’s time I realize that if it’s only about me, it’s worthless. I am a vessel and arriving at 10:01, or 10:15 will not matter when I take my final breath. What will matter are the connections I’ve made, the live’s I have touched, and the hearts that have been brightened.”

It’s always a fun revelation when you realize you’re a privileged brat. There’s my best shot at sarcasm. I always say that I never understand sarcasm. You could say the most asinine statement. You could be a woman who tells me you were born as a male with an extended tailbone that wagged occasionally and somehow you fell into prostitution… I would try and understand your story. How does one go from male with animal attributes to a fully functioning beautiful female? I’m interested to know. Trusting to a fault, and ironically have found myself amongst the most sarcastic of friends. Worst. I’m learning, but that’s besides the point.

Where was I? Oh yes! No, I do not like having a self-evaluation session and learning that I am a woman who seeks comfort first, who dwells in a land where on-time is the utmost of importance and Lord help those who cross my path and come close to derailing my mission to be prompt.

Today, like most Sunday’s I set out to attend church. Today was a new location to me and I underestimated the amount of time it would take me to arrive. Ideally I would have been early enough to find the perfect seat after I circle the room eight times like a superstitious dog who attempts to find the most “blessed” spot. Not really. Well, kind of. I like to sit in a particular spot. One where I can see those coming and going, I can socialize with those that I want and avoid those that I don’t. I humbly admit to you that I am a creature of comfort, and I want to challenge myself in that.

As I walked into the building two men, with pep in their step and smiles ear to ear opened the doors for me. She. Has. Arrived. I could hear that at 10:01AM, (one minute late) the joyful worship music had started and my rear was NOT in my comfortable seat. The men began to welcome me, ask me about my morning, and flustered I said, “Thank you!!” and tried to bypass them. They insisted on giving me a hug and I thought, “For craps sake! I am LATE, men!” I should probably repent after hearing Ludacris’ song, “Move, b**tch get out the wayyyy,” as my momentary anthem. I gave two half way hugs, which if you know me, know that is not my signature. I like a full body hug, and if I’ve known you for a lifetime, I might even give you a, “shaker hug”.

Finally, I had made my way to my seat, and thought, “What. Just. Happened?” The very community I drove to fellowship with, I blew off because of MY agenda. As I stood and sang songs to Jesus, I observed. I saw a woman pouring her EVERYTHING out to the Lord. This woman had a backpack with an oxygen tank in it, and we were singing, “It’s your breath in our lungs, and we pour out our praise to you always.” This woman, with faith that no doubt could move mountains, sang with the aide of an oxygen mask about the breath of God and her gratitude for it. This was nothing less than a beautiful reminder to be grateful for the fact that I am able-bodied and my lungs fill each time with the amount of air they are designed for.

A couple of songs in and it’s almost as if I had hit a “reset button”. It’s as though I was never ONE MINUTE late, and I had found my “blessed spot”. (Face palm.) A wife whispers in her husband’s ear three rows ahead of me, and they get up, walk around the back of the rows to the woman with the oxygen tank who is now swaying back and forth with her arms lifted high in thanks. The lay hands on her and I can see they are asking for God to move and heal her. Genuine love for one another, and tears of grace flooding from them, and now me.

What a blessing to witness the selfless agenda of those surrounding me. I laughed at myself with humility. Sarcastically (rare), I mocked myself, “Man, praying for that woman really messed up their worship time.” Great, now I’m THINKING in sarcasm. What has become of me? I’m the first to educate people that, “In ancient Greek, or is it Roman? I can’t remember… In some ancient language, the term “sarcasm” directly translates to flesh ripper.” … but really, it does. I’m also the first to scold, “Sarcasm is just lying and then laughing after.” Yes people, I LOATHE this form of “humor”. Ew. But I did it. I thought in sarcasm, while I scolded myself.

Worship is not about standing in one spot and singing, it’s not about my agenda or the seat I am sitting in. Worship is an opportunity for the Spirit to move, another way to connect with God and what he’s doing in and through you. Rather than abiding to your agenda sometimes its more like an agenda override. Clearly this couple was connecting and it moved me.

Convenience and comfort in my own existence has held. me. back.

My life is nothing if it is not serving others.

My life is NOTHING if I don’t use it to do good.

Yes, being prompt is a sign of respect. Yes, staying at my seat during the worship set plays to the fears of the social constructs that required me to sit still and shut up… but real life… real life that is meaningful, is not convenient. It causes you to be a little late to the worship session while you CONNECT with the men that take their time to genuinely greet you. A meaningful life calls you to go out of your way to pray for someone, to speak kindness into them. A meaningful life challenges you to get out of your comfort zone and convenience to make a difference.

I felt the mercy and grace of conviction. The gentle reminder that it is NOT about me. I have not arrived because it is not my party to arrive to.

Instead of being beat up by these thoughts, other thoughts continued to flood me.

Buying the woman a coffee at Starbucks, getting the man a can of gas on a twenty degree January day, praying over a friend on the phone. Okay, so I wasn’t a total brat all the time, and I did these things from a place in my heart that swells with love for others, but I never really go out of my way to do them, do I? I have done them when I perceive that I’ve got the time, and it’s convenient. It fits within the lines of my agenda. I think it’s time I stop putting my comfort first. It’s time I realize that if it’s only about me, it’s worthless. I am a vessel and arriving at 10:01, or 10:15 will not matter when I take my final breath. What will matter are the connections I’ve made, the live’s I have touched, and the hearts that have been brightened.

“It’s your breath in my lungs Lord, and I’ll pour out my praise to you always.”

(Occasionally a Ludacris rap song might happen to be playing in the background as well. But Imma still do good stuff for others while I vibe to it. )

A meaningful life is most likely not one seeking merely comfort and convenience.

Xoxo, Jess

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