Wednesday, July 6, 2011

As Fake As My Fingernails!

So....I wrote this back in February, but wanted to share it with the girls in my class before I shared it publicly.  I had that opportunity in June at my last class...so here it is!

I started a new adventure...a Master's Degree...my flesh kicked into high gear!

I never really saw myself as fearful or having a low self-esteem. Apparently I didn't know myself!

First of all--my darling eldest son had pointed out to me on several occasions the gray in my hair.  Not good for a "young" mom. (I still feel young anyway!) I seriously wanted to color my gray away...professionally...but--quite frankly--our tax return hadn't come in yet.

Second, I have the world's worst fingernails...thank you mom...brittle and "bendy" which my sister gets grossed out at! And due to major nerves--I had started biting them.  Feeling a big self-conscious about myself and how my fingers would look AFTER the class--I decided to get "fake" ones.  They look so much nicer and surely they would make me SEEM so much more "put together" than I really am!

I wanted to look my best after all...I was sure the women in my class were "picture perfect" in every way! Perfect hair, perfect clothes...PERFECT! I wanted them to at least THINK I was perfect too!

As the first day of class commenced--I walked into the room--trying not to appear as frazzled as I felt.  What would these "brilliant" women think of me? I sat close to the teacher...because that was one of the only seats left. Next to me was a sweet, soft-spoken girl...ADORABLE...YOUNG!!!

As we all quietly prepared our computers for class (the last time I was in class I wrote out my notes by hand.) I glanced around the room "analyzing" my classmates. I noticed something...they were just like me...with ONE exception...NONE of them had FAKE fingernails!

Can you believe it? Not a ONE besides me in a class of twelve! That, my friend is a staggering statistic! Just look around at the women you know...fake fingernails everywhere right? It's a bajillion-dollar industry by now!

But, seriously! I took a moment to reflect. Really--were my fingernails a tale-tell sign of something deeper? Was I as fake as my fingernails? That really struck me...well??  Am I?

Why do I feel the need to impress--put on a facade? Didn't Jesus make my flimsey, paper thin nails? Didn't He know I would have 3 boys and girl that would cause pre-mature graying? Yes...and OH, YES!

Psalm 139:13 clearly states that He created me...even my inmost being...where all my insecurities come from. Verse 17 (NLT) says, "How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They cannot be numbered." He thinks pretty highly of me because He loves me--why can't I just be real?

Why can't we be real? Flaws and all? We all struggle with our "flesh" some more than others. If it isn't about our looks or our wealth...it's about our faith. "Am I Christian enough? Do I do enough? Do I raise my hands in just the right place during worship? Will my prayers sound ridiculous? What if I don't pronounce the words/names correctly as I read aloud from Scripture? People will think I'm not "well-educated."

1 Peter 1:7 says, "These [trials] have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

Did you catch that little word? Genuine...Authentic...Real! God wants our faith to be real! So what that I can't pronounce Ad.ra.myt.tuim or Zelo.phe.had? Chances are, we're all guessing anyway! Is that really a sign of our faith? Maybe it is--if that's what we're judging others on!

I have to say...never before have I been convicted of fake nails until I realized that probably wasn't all I was hiding behind!

So...my classmates...are amazing! More like sisters...I love them...all of them!

I love Linda G...she tells stories just like me...Linda S...she tells me to "hush" when I've talked too much! (hahaha) Amy...because we all need someone to help us probe deeper into ourselves...Fay...because she's so insightful...Loralie is a true leader. Andrea...blessed are the meek...I love Carla, a true prophet. Emily is full of gusto and fearless for Christ! Debbie, a true missionary and Brenda a quiet thinker. And who couldn't love our first teacher Dr. Tennant--so many gifts...so little time!

And on the final day of class--we prayed together...each of us stripped of all our masks and really knowing each other...and loving each other.

...and I sat beside my teacher...my friend!