Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Every year at the F.U.S.E middle school/high school church camp that my brother Kirk and his wife Dana run, they have a humongous food fight. This happened to be the first year I had ever been a leader at camp, so I wasn't really privy to all the details regarding this annual food fight.....hence my participation in it. Let me start by saying that I grew up in the country in WV....with pretty much all boys...I ain't scared of gettin' a little messy. However, I had never experienced a food fight to such a magnitude. The throwable foods of choice this year were cooked oatmeal, chocolate pudding, and canned peaches. Did you know that when you combine cooked oatmeal, chocolate pudding, and canned peaches on your skin, hair, and clothes in 90 degree heat you get something equivalent to a yummy smelling, chocolate flavored cast? I think when they say "instant oatmeal" what they really mean is "if used for anything other than eating and in large quantities, this oatmeal will instantly dry on your skin, clothes, and hair eventually immobilizing you". We might have accidentally stumbled upon something here that will revolutionize non-deadly warfare. First there was the plastic bullet thingys, and now....oatmeal. Dare to dream.
Anyway, there is an actual reason that I am sharing this food fight scenario with all of you. And what I am about to tell you is going to be shocking. I am going to need to you sit down for this (really, you should already be sitting down, I would imagine it would be hard to read a blog while standing). Because....I am about to air some dirty laundry. If you have recently eaten, please wait 45 minutes before reading the remainder of this blog. Everything you thought you knew about me is about to come crashing down....and I don't want anyone cramping up. We're gonna get through this....together.
After the food fight, I was hot (and not the kind with two "t's", I'm talking 98 degrees plus humidity hot), crusty, squishy, and all around grumpy pants. I couldn't remember the last time I felt so uncomfortable. There were around 60 kids that were covered in goo and no one was allowed to take a shower because all the oatmeal would clog the drains. So, they set up this huge industrial slip and slide. They had huge tarps and water hoses going down the hill behind the church and they were having the kids go down the slide and get cleaned off. Well, grumpy pants (that's me) didn't want to go down the slip and slide. All my spoiled "I am used to being allowed to take a shower whenever I want because I am a grown up" butt wanted to do was just take off all my goopy clothes and get in a nice cool shower. I mean, it's unhealthy to have chocolate pudding in your ear, right?! I finally was able to hose off without going down the slide, but I was still in need of a shower. I quickly abused my authority as a leader...and for once the advantage of being taller than everyone....and hopped in front of the girls waiting to shower. Even their sad little goopy faces couldn't stop me. I know...wrong, huh!? If you are already losing respect for me....then you are going to be catatonic when you hear the grand daddy of all bad things I got comin' at cha.
After showering, I change into some dry, non-sticky clothes. I had nowhere to put my goopy clothes to dry and since I was going to come back to DC that night after the bon fire, I put them in the back of my Jeep in a towel that I "borrowed" (aka stole) from Kirk and Dana. When I got home that night I transported the "ball of disgustingness" from my Jeep to my apartment. Right when I walked in my door I placed the aforementioned "ball" in my laundry basket with FULL INTENTIONS of doing the laundry the VERY NEXT day.
Okay, now....I'm just going to say. Fast...like ripping off a band aid.
THE BALL OF DISGUSTINGNESS IS STILL IN MY LAUNDRY BASKET. Unwashed. Still wrapped up in a stolen towel. Who does that!? 3 weeks of rotting oatmeal, pudding, and peaches. It's just getting more and more disgusting as the laundry piles up on top of it. In fact, I haven't done any laundry at all in three weeks. And all because I don't want to deal with the ball of nasty disgustingness. My best friend from WV stayed with me for a few days and I STILL HAVEN'T dealt with it. I knew she was coming, I knew she would see the excessively large pile of clothes in my closet, and yet, I decided that I just couldn't deal. So there it remains.
Now you know. Katie McNemar is a closet (pun intended) disgusting freak. If you are still reading this blog, thank you for your show of grace and mercy. God is giving you a high five right now.
I wanted to keep it a secret, and deal with it whenever I could muster up enough courage and just never ever tell anybody what a totally disgusting human I really am. It's not like I WANTED to tell this secret, but you know how God is....always tryin' to ruin my game by making me share every detail of my life with anyone that will listen....or has to listen because they are stuck in a fast moving vehicle with me. But keeping it a secret has only allowed the days and hours to continue to tick by without anything being done about it. I know you don't know, I know you know I know, you know?! I just keep piling on the other laundry. I know that at the bottom of it all there is a seething beast of smellyness, but from the outside it looks somewhat okay, so I am able to continue to ignore it. I am seriously not joking about this. This is a true story. If my parents have read this they are currently driving to DC to stage an intervention/fumigation, complete with NASA space suits and Ghostbusters proton packs. (Don't cross the streams.) I have three weeks worth of laundry...and believe me...in this hot humid weather you go through some clothes. Every morning I step over the non-smelly "normal" laundry that is overflowing onto my path to the bathroom and I know at some point I am going to have to deal with it.
The reason that I am telling you this about myself is because apparently, I want to be single forever....Just kidding!....it's because God showed me that this is what I do with thoughts and things in my life that I know I need to deal with and get rid of. I avoid dealing with the yucky stuff. This can apply to sin in my life, and/or wrong thinking I have about myself, others, and God. We all have thoughts about ourselves or things we are doing in our lives that are equivalent to my peaches and mold laundry ball. They need to be thrown out, but instead we hide them and try to cover them up with other things. The worst part about it is, the longer I wait to deal with my laundry situation, the more the disgustingness is going to spread to all of the other clothes in the laundry basket. It doesn't just stay where it is...it spreads.
Let me go ahead and give you another example of this in my life...since I'm spillin' the beans anyway. Recently I have had to face the fact that I still have wrong/negative thoughts about myself and how people see me, even though I have spent years working on tossing out all of the negative seeds that were planted years ago. These thoughts started as a small disgusting ball and then grew until these thoughts made me into a person that wasn't the real me. These thoughts had me spending years striving to look, be, do, think, and say all the things that I thought would make people finally love me for who I was....but striving to please everyone and be what everyone wants or expects you to be, doesn't make you who you really are. All of your striving takes God out of the equation and makes you easily changeable and as unstable as a house that has it's foundation built on sand. Striving to be the skinniest, funniest, the most fun, the coolest, the prettiest, and so on, only made me an empty shell who didn't know who she was or what she wanted. No wonder no one loved me for who I was....who was I? I wasn't "anybody"...I was "everybody".
I believed the lies I was told about myself. I let it spread. After making the best decision of my entire life and letting God come into to my life and show me who I am, I have finally found ME. Over these last few years, God and I have been doing some house cleaning....laundry, if you will......in order to toss out the falsehoods, and give birth to the true person I am and my purpose for being here. However, what I was doing was just skimming the surface with some of these things, I wasn't dealing with the deepest, darkest, grossest thoughts down at the bottom of the "laundry basket". It's not that I didn't want these thoughts to be false. I didn't want to believe all of these awful things I was told about who I was and who I should be. But I didn't do what I really needed to do, and that is to get rid of it all together. I held on to these deep rooted thoughts instead of letting them go. I was afraid if I brought them up out of the bottom of the laundry basket that I would be looking directly at a reflection of what other people saw when they looked at me or got to know me. I have spent years trying to cover my "disgustingness" up so that no one would see the real me. I have been afraid of letting people really see me because of my fear that they will look under all of the "stuff" and see me....and reject me. But fear doesn't come from God. This fear of letting people in because I am afraid I am broken has to stop. I have to stop trying to cover up and keep people at a safe distance. I have to face these thoughts. I have to dig to the bottom, pull them out, and give them to God. I couldn't really figure out for the life of me why in the world I would ever leave disgusting laundry for three weeks, but now I know why. This was God's way of reaching out to me...okay, slapping me in the face. He is trying to show me in a way that I can understand, just how much it breaks His heart that I continue to fear, hurt, and cover myself up instead of seeing how amazing I really am. These thoughts aren't just inconvenient, they have kept me from God's promises. When we hold onto these kinds of things, they separate us from God because it causes us to hide ourselves from him in shame and guilt. God doesn't operate in shame and guilt....he operates in love, grace, and mercy. He isn't scared or intimidated by our dirty balls of disgustingness. He is the only one that can take the falsehoods and darkness from us, and replace it with truth and light.
I got the message loud and clear but I wasn't quite sure how to bring these things from deep inside me and get them out in the open so I could deal with them. Obviously thinking about them all the time wasn't the answer. So I decided that no matter how hard it was for me to do, I was going to find someone I trusted and that I knew would speak truth into my life, and I would tell them all of these secret thoughts I have about myself. As I told my friend all of these years of thoughts I have about myself and how I think that people see me when they look at me or get to know me, she was shocked, hurt, sad, angry, and more than ready to tell me the truth and help me to turn them all over to God. My fear that saying these things out loud would only make someone see them in me even more kept me from confessing all of the years. I am finally able to say, "I love myself exactly how I am...right now....without covering anything up in fear". When we view ourselves as full of darkness and shameful things, we are just like Adam and Eve in the garden after the "apple incident". They hid from God when their eyes were opened and they saw their nakedness. For the first time they felt shame. But thank you Jesus for your sacrifice so that we don't have to cower in shame about who we are. We will never be perfect in our own efforts, but in God's eyes we are perfect when we love him. I don't have to cover myself in shame because there is nothing to be shameful about. God has been waiting for me to see the truth and toss out the crap. We all struggle with guilt, shame, and false ideas about ourselves at some time in our lives, but the key is to never allow yourself to get locked away in a prison that you have the key to. I hope my confession today is helpful to someone out there. It most certainly wasn't easy to admit or write about, but God has called me to have verbal diarrhea so that people don't feel so alone in their struggles. I have sacrificed having mystery about me in order to share God's love that can move any mountain and soften any heart made of stone. Writing about my struggles has helped me to dig to the bottom of my laundry basket and share with you all my fears. Don't let your thoughts keep you from God. Confess your struggles to God. Ask Him to take them from you and replace them with truth. He is waiting for you to let go of the side of the pool and swim into the deep end.
Will the real Katie please stand up