A few days ago I opened the door from the kitchen to the garage to check on my laundry tumbling happily in the dryer. My foot made it halfway out the door when I yelled, jumped a foot back into the kitchen and slammed the door shut, probably getting a kick in at it before it closed. I’m a calm, cool and collected person. Yet when a warty frog gets in my way, I scream like a girl. Which… well, I am a girl, but not the screechy type. Yup. A frog was sitting there in the garage right where I had planned on putting my foot. It was big. And ugly. And hoppy. That same day my roommate brought her laundry in from the garage and put on her pants only to find a spider on them. Ugh. I can’t type that without shuddering. Bugs and spiders and slimy things are the one area where I am 100%, stereotypically girly. I scream and run out of the room and ask someone else to kill it.
Wanna know the funny thing? A couple months ago I saw the same frog in the front yard. I didn’t scream, yell or panic. I poked it with a stick and toyed with the idea of keeping it as a pet. Same happenstance, different location. It didn’t freak me out to find him in the yard because that was his territory. But suddenly discovering him in my territory was a different story.
I’m learning a lot about being like that frog. While the setting changed, Mr. Frog didn’t. In the yard and in the garage he was just being a frog. It didn’t bother him or change his stance if someone yelled, screamed, poked him, or wanted to take him home. He just kept on being his green ol’ self.
I had some metaphorical “frog in the garage” moments this weekend (with me being the frog and other people reacting and circumstances changing). The first happened Friday night at the bar. My friend Nancy and I were playing pool (we were both bad and getting kind of bored). A young man walked past us into the bathroom and yelled at someone else, “My back hurts!” Nancy and I looked at each other to see if we’d heard the same thing. When he returned from the restroom we put down our pool sticks and introduced ourselves, planning to take care of his back pain. We didn’t realize then that God’s main target wasn’t this young man, but his friend. We started praying for his back (yes, in a bar) and his friend walked up and asked if we were having a seance. He figured out who we were praying to and then purposefully tried to offend us. That happens quite a bit, but I notice that the offensive people are usually the ones who want to keep hanging out with us. The attempts at offense are the “frog” reaction. They see Christians in a bar and think, “Whoa! What are you doing here?! Get back in the church!” No one minds a frog in the yard or a Christian in a church. But Jesus didn’t tell us to hang out in church or even to build the church. He said, “Go, spread the kingdom of heaven.” I’ve learned to embrace people who try to offend me for being the same person outside of the church that I am inside of it. 9 out of 10 times when someone is trying to offend me, the same two things are revealed in them: they are deeply wounded, and they are desperate to know that God is real. That’s exactly what happened with this young man. He sat with us and talked for a while. He told us his story, one that would rip your heart out. He told us and then a shocked look shadowed his face and he said, “I don’t know why I told you that! I never talk about it.” After his initial shock of Christians in the bar I believe he found something trustworthy in us, and more than that I think he saw God in us. We got to pray for him and prophesy over him. He kept saying, “That’s crazy” or “That’s interesting you say that because…”.
It’s funny that I was so comfortable being myself at the bar, because my least successful moment being myself this weekend happened at church. I want to be like the frog where the circumstances around me don’t change who I am. I’m not quite there yet. I was filming Sunday night and just as we went live something happened that threw me off. I should have asked for a minute to get myself back together, but I trudged on and things went downhill from there. I was in a funk. The band didn’t practice, so worship was off. I completely butchered a shot in a most embarrassing fashion (the embarrassing part being that the whole team is on headsets and heard the dialogue between the director and me). Afterwards, as we were packing up I grew frustrated by miscommunications and still being a “newbie” and not knowing where anything goes. I was tired, not in the best mood, and imagining what the director thought of my “off” night. Funny how thoughts can spiral downward in a short span of time. Thankfully, I ran into an acquaintance as I was coiling up a few last cords. He completely encouraged me and reminded me who I was. He didn’t know I had had a rough night, but God knew, and sent him in my direction. Even when I forget who I am for an evening and lose my “froginess”, God remembers, and people around me know too. I’m glad they remind me when I need it.
So here’s to being more like Mr. Frog and remembering who I am no matter the situation or people’s reactions.