I always know when Harold arrives at church on Sunday mornings. He likes to hear our worship team practice so he shows up early. Sometime between the sound check and practice for the final song I hear a deep voice bellow from the back row, “Jeanette’s flat!”
Sometimes I’m tempted to thank Harold for his almost weekly insult. It stands as a repeated reminder of my growth. At one time I took such teasing—even if I knew it was done in fun—very personally, allowing it to throw me head-first into a secret well of despair. Maybe I am flat. That’s not usually the case, but then again . . . How many others are thinking the same thing? What’s wrong with me today? See, I’m really not a very good singer. No wonder I didn’t get the solo part this morning.
Pretty pitiful, I know. Let’s just say, I have some baggage. But with the help of God and some precious friends I’m unloading and trashing more of it all the time.
Harold can now count on me to shout right back at him, “Good morning, Harold. I always know when you’re here.”
A few weeks ago he asked if I minded when he teased me about being flat. I was telling the truth when I told him no. It has become a funny Sunday morning tradition among those that I sing with. I can laugh off his ongoing game because I’ve considered the facts. I know Harold and that he likes to kid. I know that he cares about me and that he showers me with as many compliments on my singing as he does mock put-downs. Not to sound prideful, but I also know that I’m not a flat, off-key singer—that God gave me a gift to enjoy and serve His people with. I know the truth, so I can take Harold’s proclamation of “Jeanette’s flat” as the joke that he intends it to be and even play along.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” John 8:32.
I understand that Jesus was talking about a different type of truth in this verse than I am, but for some reason it comes to mind when I think of my response to the Harolds in my life. Lately I’ve recognized the damage that I can do to my own spirit when I let my emotions, insecurities, and fears evaluate words or situations instead of lining them up against the truth.
For example, last week I crumbled over some news from a dear friend, automatically assuming that I’d messed up and might drive her and others away with my neediness. After a sleepless night, God helped me see that I was reacting based, not on reality, but on some cruel experiences from the past that I clearly hadn’t let go of. Once again, I had to put my warn-out, ugly memories in their place and choose to look at the truth, to believe the soothing voice reminding me, this friend loves you dearly. She isn’t like the mean people who hurt you years ago. None of your friends are. Relax, trust those who have proven countless times that they care about you, and move on with your day.
The truth set me free from unnecessary misery.
Obviously I’m still learning and probably will until I get to heaven. But I’m trying to take my responses to Harold and apply them in other areas as well—to consider the source much more often. In fact, maybe I will seize the next opportunity to thank him for the regular reminder to examine and believe the truth instead of giving in to the enemy’s lies.
In what areas is God showing you the power of recognizing truth? How is it setting you free?
I pray that His truth will bring you glorious freedom today!