Sunday

My Latest Humiliation


She shamed me, this woman with the big smile and even bigger umbrella. 

It all began in the checkout line at the grocery store. I made small talk with the cashier as she scanned my groceries and handed them off to the clean-cut bag boy standing nearby. Thankful I didn’t have to bag them myself, I scanned my card and tucked the receipt into my purse. 


Rain had been falling all afternoon, and I was thankful to have my umbrella. As I left the store, I popped the handle and raised it over my head. I briefly considered sharing it with the bag boy following closely behind, but dismissed the idea. Sharing an umbrella, I decided, is reserved for close friends, spouses, and members of my immediate family. Not strangers. 

I didn’t feel comfortable inviting this nice young man into my personal space. Nor did I feel comfortable inserting myself into his. I plowed on ahead into the rain until a cheerful voice stopped me in my tracks. 

 “Here you go!” she said - the lady with the big smile. I turned to see her holding her umbrella over my bag boy’s head. His grateful smile spoke volumes. 


“I’m so sorry,” I called out, substituting my umbrella canopy for hers when we reached my car. She vanished, leaving me to my embarrassment. The bag boy chattered good naturedly, oblivious to my chagrin. 

I pondered the experience later, still smarting from humiliation and regret. How often, I wondered, do I hesitate to serve someone because I'm hindered by boundaries of my own making? How often do I see a physical, emotional, or spiritual need and fail to step up because it makes me uncomfortable? How many chances have I let slip by while I weighed the options of whether or not to obey the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit? 

Too many, I’m sure. 

But I don’t always stay safely in my comfort zone. Three weeks ago I threw caution to the wind and asked a patient if I could pray for him and his upcoming surgery. Last week I made a meal for a young woman newly released from the hospital and brought it to her doorstep, uninvited and unannounced. Just yesterday I shared an example of a poor parenting decision I’d made in the hopes that another mother might learn from my mistake.
 
But today I blew it. 

I’m comforted by the promise that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Tomorrow when I awaken, the slate will be clean, and a new day will stretch before me. Rain or shine, I’ll be ready to minister to someone in Jesus’ name. 

 How about you? When have you stepped out of your comfort zone to minister to someone, and what was the result? I’d love for you to leave a comment below and share your story. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to leave a comment on the blog.


If you liked this post, you might enjoy "It's My Pleasure to Serve You."


 

 

This devotion is an excerpt from Lori’s new book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women.

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33 comments:

  1. I find it very hard, too, to step outside of my comfort zone, so I can totally relate.

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  2. I'm so thankful God is a God of second chances and He is pleased with our progress, slow as it may be.

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    1. Amen and AMEN, Lisa. Where oh where would we be without second (and third, fourth, and squillion) chances?!

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  3. Thank you for sharing - valuable illustration you stuck in my head! :-)

    Two years ago a lady challenged me that with the whole being comfortable thing... she said, "Your comfort isn't serving you well." And that became my focus for that year - making myself deliberately UNcomfortable! (to grow) Maybe it's time to pull that word out again... (sigh)

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    1. Oh, Lori, what a wonderful challenge -- how often do we determine our "service" based on our comfort level. You have a wise friend who probably had to step outside HER comfort level to challenge you about yours. Thanks for stopping by today.

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  4. Hmmm, I think it's great that the woman offered her umbrella, but I don't know that I think you were wrong to not offer it either. I think your reasoning was, well, reasonable. But if God used this situation to nudge you to be more generous, then I'm all for it, since I need that nudge to give of myself more too, Lori. Thanks for being so sensitive to what God might want to teach you.

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    1. Beth,
      I like the way you think beyond the surface of things. You're right in saying that each of us need to seek the Lord and determine what he wants US (not the neighbor next door or sitting on the pew beside us) to do. Listening for his prompting is the bottom line. Thanks for commenting today and adding food for thought :)

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  5. Dear Lori
    Ouch....!!! You have stepped on a few toes today! I think we all have had such encounters, but how many times do we fail to be merciful to ourselves as well. Just last week I didn't handle a situation the godly way with my hubbie. I After asking his forgiveness and God's, no peace returned. When I asked our Lord about my lack of peace, He told me that neither He nor my husband were angry at me; the only one being angry at me was myself and I neede to forgive myself as well.
    Luv XX
    Mia

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    1. You have a wise and kind hubbie. Why is it so hard to forgive ourselves when God (and others) have so generously forgiven us? Are my standards for myself so high that there's no room for mercy and grace? May it never be! And so we press on. . .

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  6. Lori, I can relate to this so much. I am terrible for finding all sorts of excuses for why I can't put myself out for someone. I have also experienced times when the kindness of someone else has shown my own inadequacies very clearly. This was very brave of you to share and I thank you for reminding us of something many of us need to address. Linked here from Beauty in His Grip. Blessings.

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  7. Lori, I am stopping by from Living Proverbs 31 and wanted to let you know I really enjoyed your post. About a week ago, a student confided in me about her troubled marriage. I usually listen and rarely share my faith (due to being in a college setting) but I felt led on that day. The outcome was amazing and she was appreciative.

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    1. Delora -- isn't is amazing how God rewards our obedience, especially when it's hard? And when we KNOW we've been used in his work, oh my, the JOY! I'm so glad you shared your story today to encourage the rest of us to step out in faith.

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  8. Thanks for this! I find myself doing this on occasion...whether it be a fear of leaving my comfort zone or just being scared of the outcome. This was a great reminder that God's purpose is bigger than any of my fears.

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  9. Great encouragement, Lori! But I don't think you blew it. For all you know, it was this woman's turn to come out of HER comfort zone. And by your delay, it gave her the opportunity to do just that!

    I know that I often think those things through too. It's hard to know. That boy may have welcomed it but another might have been uncomfortable.

    We just have to go with whatever we feel the Spirit might be moving us to do and trust the Lord with the results! But sometimes we really have to make ourselves move when He says MOVE, lol!

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  10. BTW, I loved how you figured out the Bible reading time on my blog and figured it out over a year's time. Awesome!

    I LOVED that, Lori! Yes, just imagine how much wiser we'd be! ;)

    Were you the one who sent me an email saying you were going to research how to change so that you were no longer a "no reply" blogger? Because it's really easy and I can help you with that if it was you.

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  11. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure I miss opportunities to serve all the time because I'm not looking our open to them. Today I will try harder. :-)

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  12. Sometimes my dad gives my mother and I a hard time about stepping out of our comfort zone. I always tell him that it is called a "COMFORT" zone for a reason. Does he want to lay on a bed of nail? No, because it is uncomfortable. Then when my uncle who is a deacon hears this he says, "Do you think Jesus was comfortable on the cross?" UGH! No I suppose he wasn't. Darn perspective.
    Thanks for the post!

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    1. Wow, you've got some hard-hitters in your family, Lexie! But they all have a point, and God does specialize in streeeeeeetching us. . .

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  13. I'm struggling with this. Sometimes I'm proud of all my hard work and selflessness, and then 3 minutes later I do the most selfish thing ever!
    Thank God we serve a merciful and gracious God!

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    1. It is amazing how we battle our flesh, think we've mastered it for a moment, and then it rears its ugly head somewhere else. Paul described this struggle in Romans 6, and he gives us good encouragement to press on. Thanks for stopping by today.

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  14. I've been the lady with the big umbrella...and then some days, I've not been. I'm just thankful His mercies are new every morning and He gives me the strength to keep reflecting Him! Thanks for the reminder.

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  15. I've had a similar experience. I was rushing to the train station to catch my train one time. If I missed it, I'd have to wait for another 40 minutes for the next one. A young man was running around asking people for something. He approached me and asked me in very broken English for some money to buy my train ticket. He said he had to get home to help his sick mother. I couldn't be bothered. I barely even took out one of my headphones to hear him before shaking my head, "no," and getting on the train. As the train pulled away, I looked out the window and saw that the young man was crying. I felt so ashamed - here I call myself a Christian and I couldn't be bothered. I could've given him my ticket and walked the mere 8 blocks home. I could've bought him a ticket and waited for the next train. My biggest regret? I missed a prime opportunity to share the love of Christ with this man - I hope and pray he found a way to get home and his mother got better and he was able to help her. I also hope that someone else showed this young man compassion that day that I refused to step outside of my comfort zone.

    This is such a good reminder to listen to the nudging of the Holy Spirit and extend the loving arms of Christ to those around us. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Oh my, I think we've all had missed opportunities and regrets like yours. And though God forgives us (1 John 1:9), it's sometimes really hard to forgive ourselves, isn't it? I comfort myself by reminding myself that if I learn from my mistake, then it isn't totally wasted. And so we press on!

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  16. Your post was a great way to awaken the service possibilities in each of us.

    Thank you for the reminder.

    Sue

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  17. Hi Lori, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris
    http://chelencarter-retiredandlovingit.blogspot.ca/

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement, Chris. I can't wait to hop on over for a visit :)

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  18. I am always challenged and exhorted here! I love your blog and visit pretty often; I need to comment more, but almost always return the favor of a comment :) This post is no exception~ it is excellent and urges me to continue to stretch myself with God's help!
    Love to you, Lori!
    Blessings,
    Jacqueline

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Jacqueline. To God be the glory. Delighted to be soul sisters in the blogging world with you :)

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  19. I would love for you to share and link up at my weekly TGIF Link Party if you haven't already this week. Your favorite posts, most popular, recent or new! The party is open every Thursday night and closes Tuesday's at midnight. Followed by (Not SO) Wordless Wednesday! http://apeekintomyparadise.blogspot.com/.
    I would be honored if you join us and follow to stay connected Have a wonderful week!
    Hugs, Cathy

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  20. I had to smile at your story. We are so many in the same boat - failing to observe those near us who need our attention.

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  21. That gentle nudging you've just mentioned...all week I've been hearing that message. I must not be listening close enough because you know we hear the messages we need, when we need them over and over again so we pay attention. :)

    Thanks for sharing your story.

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  22. As I commented earlier, I love this post and am so glad you shared it at Essential Fridays. Blessings.

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  23. I know I have done similar things and had regrets later. I just can't think of them l. What a lessons that was for you!! Thanks for writing and sharing about it so that I will remember not to loose an opportunity for the Lord.

    Thanks for linking up with me over at WholeHearted Home this week.

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