Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reflections On Humiliation

Whatcha Gonna Do?

I have been that girl.  You know the one - she doesn't realize she just made an inappropriate joke, or she has a huge bright red zit on the tip of her nose, or while playing her clarinet she let out a squawk that sounded like a goose, or she ran into the doorway on her way out of the room - yep, I have been that girl.  MANY times.  You would think that each time such a silly screw up occurs that I would get less bothered by it.  But you know what, I still get bothered.  I'm pretty sure it's not something I'm going to grow out of.  That's why I try to think before I speak (and think & think & think), it's why I use expensive skin care, practice my clarinet, & really try hard to watch where I'm going.

I finally figured something out.  The reason why these little glitches bother me is because they leave me feeling humiliated.  
 the state or feeling of being humiliated mortification

Synonyms include degradation & dishonor.

These are not good feelings, my friend.

Except for one little thing.  These feelings hit when my pride has been stomped.  Huh.  As a child of God I'm supposed to be laying aside my pride at every opportunity.  Dying to myself & choosing to endure some discomfort if that's what it takes.

Well, let me tell you, the dear Lord finds all sorts of ways to slip these opportunities into my life. I'm extremely grateful that He lays some ground work in my heart (most of the time) so that although my pride will be stung, my heart will be drawn closer to Him.

Just such an occasion took place this past Sunday morning.  My momma & I were supposed to sing a duet in the morning worship service.  You all know I've been struggling with laryngitis & the vocal snack, crackle, pops lately.  I was hopeful that my voice would hold together for us to be able to sing.  We practiced a simple but beloved hymn, Be Still My Soul, & prayed for the best.  Momma had a short solo to sing in the choir selection too so she had a lot to get right.  
*Tiny disclaimer: I enjoy singing.  Singing in front of the church is a bit of a stretch for me though.  Most of all, I want to serve the Lord.  I sing because it's a way for me to serve Him.
Choir number is over, the offering is taken & it's our cue to sing before the sermon.  We get about halfway through the first verse & I've only warbled a little but Momma opens her mouth & nothing comes out.  I panicked a bit.  I had enough voice to sing the lower alto part but I had nothing to give in the higher registers.  If I had a really good ear I suppose I could have sung the melody an octave lower but I don't have a really good ear.  Suffice it to say we struggled through three verses with her voice fading in & out & some warbles & cracks from me.  As we walked back to our seats the church was quiet as a tomb.
And I felt a little humiliated.  And Momma was very upset.  We still don't really know what happened to her voice.  You know, it doesn't really matter.  When we prayed about what to sing & considered the words to the hymn that's what was really important.  The lyrics - they were strong words of love, encouragement, & peace.  As I reflected on that truth quietly whispered to my cringing heart I felt the humiliation fade away.  We had given our best, our desire was to encourage & uplift those who were listening & offer a sacrifice of praise & service to the Lord.  Did we do it perfectly?  Oh, no way Jose'.  But I don't think that is the point, do you?  And isn't there such freedom in that truth?

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; 
break forth into joyous song and sing praises! 
Psalm 98:4


Mrs.T said...

Excellent post, Mary Ann. Very, very thought-provoking. And think about this, too: the One who made your mom's voice knows exactly what happened to it, and allowed that for some purpose of His own.

iicor514 said...

Yes, Mary Ann. It's easy to forget sometimes that we're to glorify God and not ourselves. God can be glorified even when we're mortified! Greetings from way down South. ;)

the johnson crew said...

thanks for sharing. i had an embarrassing experience at our church last christmas. it think i am barely over it now... a year later... no it is not all about praising me... i know that. :)

Mary Ann said...

Mrs. T, you are so right. I often try to remind myself when there are mysterious health issues going on with my loved ones that the Lord knows all about how He put them together & He is the Great Physician!
Jo Anna! So glad you visited here :-) And yes, I'm so glad that even in our mortification the Lord can be glorified. He is the master of creating good from bad.
Janelle, I understand needing time to recover. I got the new music schedule for our church last night & my throat went dry when I realized I was up again to sing soon :-/ But we'll be ok, won't we? :-)