“… what you think is right isn’t the same as knowing what is right.” –E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
You see, today started off really well! Springtime in the 5th grade is amazing! Plus, the school year was starting to come to an end. All the kids were beginning to get that “spring fever” that we all get this time of the year. And, on top of it all, we got our yearbooks today!! Can it get any better??
Our teachers tried to keep control of the class when the students delivered the beautiful red shiny books to the room. We all turn in excitement. We ordered them so long ago; I had nearly forgotten they were even coming. I wonder if my picture was good? Did I have any quotes in there? Were there any snapshots that would make me embarrassed?? This is a forever book. I will look back on this book when I’m 50 years old. I hope it’s good! I think everyone else felt the same way because the room filled with chatter as we all discussed the yearbook. My teacher, Mrs. Hastings, could tell that she was about to lose the attention of the class and decided to bargain with us. As long as we got our work done, she would give us 30 minutes to look through the yearbook at the end of the day. Plus! She would allow us to exchange the books and get autographs. That was the best part. Where people wrote down how special you are to them, and give you their phone number to call over the summer! Remember HAGS?! I know you do!
We all settled down to live up to our part of the deal. Time seemed to crawl as we waited for the end of the day. But, sure enough, it did finally come. Our teacher called out each student one-by-one up to her desk to receive our yearbook. Every time she would call out a name, the class would look in awe at that lucky person who would receive their treasure. Finally, my name was called. I got my book, and of course the first thing I did besides write my name in the upper left hand corner was open the book to the very middle and take a deep sniff! I love the smell of a new book…doesn’t matter what kind it is. I am not ashamed of this.
I scroll through the pages. See all of my friends, and strangers that look their best for the photographer. I go directly to my picture. Yeah…it looks like what I thought it did…darn it. I go to the club pages, and try to find myself there too. Are there any outtakes?? I’ll have to look later because now it’s time that we get to exchange our books! I can’t wait. I get my pen out and get ready. I know that my bestest friend, Meredith, and I are going to exchange first. And, I knew exactly what to write! Something so perfect that we will laugh forever! She’ll never be able to top it!! When it’s time, we go directly to one another and exchange yearbooks with smiles plastered on our faces. The kind of smiles that communicated “you’re gonna love what I’ve got in store for you” look. I get her yearbook and open the cover. You know where the book opens to the spine? That’s what I’m looking for. This is it! I got my pen and wrote, “Thanks for letting me write in your crack” and I drew a picture of a butt next to it. Well, it kinda looked like a curly uppercase W, but you get the picture. I look at my masterpiece and laugh to myself. She’s gonna love it. And she did!! We thought it was perfect….until…..
Meredith brought up her yearbook to the teacher for her autograph. I didn’t even think anything of it until I saw Mrs. Hastings turn the yearbook kinda sideways to read what I wrote. Oh no!! Mrs. Hastings is reading it!! She is seeing the butt I drew!!! No!! What was I thinking?? Her eyes are getting bigger and bigger. I can’t look. I look everywhere but her direction. But, I want to know what she’s doing!! I can’t hold out any longer, and I look her way…BAM! She is staring right at me! She marches right over to me and tells me how disappointed she is that I would write such a thing. How terrible of a choice I made! Then, she says she is going to make a copy of it and send it to my parents! NO!!! This is the end of me. This is it! Death by yearbook….it’s over.
Mrs. Hastings comes back with a sealed envelope that I am to get signed by my mom and dad. That night I just can’t do it. I know, I’ve seen my mom’s signature! I’ll just sign it and she won’t have to know! I get a pencil out and do my best impression of my mom’s very unique signature. I had to erase it a couple of times, but I think I got it now.
I give it to Mrs. Hastings the next day who I can tell doesn’t buy the fact that my mother signed it. Was it because it was in pencil? Was it the eraser marks? Who knows…but, now I’m really toast because it’s a new note that my mom has to sign with the old note stapled to it. Plus, she is going to call home.
All the blood rushed to my head. I got home that afternoon and put myself in my room while I await my doom. The sky outside was getting all purply and that meant she was on her way. But, as my luck would have it, my dad was in town, as well. Yay for me (insert sarcasm!).
I heard the car pull up the driveway, and the backdoor open. I’m so tense! My parents are home!! They know where to look for me. I hear them coming down the hallway….and……there they are. Both of them….at the same time….terrible.
My dad tells me to go and pick out a switch because I’m going to get a spanking. Huh?? What? Now, I have had spankings before, but with a switch?? How do I even find one?? I went outside and looked and looked. It needs to be a good one, I thought. So, I found the most brittle skinny branch I could find. I took it to him, and he just snapped it in half. He went out and found a real switch. A green bendy one that made that whipping noise as it sliced through the air.
We went out to the garage, and he told me to face the worktable. Here it comes. Switch! Ouch! That really hurt! Switch again! The stinging of the first switch hadn’t stopped yet, but now we have a second added to that!! I’ve got tears going down my cheeks. I’m so embarrassed (I’m almost 11 years old and I’m getting a spanking!), and I just want it to end. My dad tells me to relax and that it’s over. I loosen my grip on the side of the table. I feel the stress leave my body, and then it happened. SWITCH! What?? I look over at my dad. I feel so betrayed. How could he? And he says one sentence:
That is what a lie feels like.
Those words still resonate within me. That is what a lie feels like…the stinging pain of someone fooling you. The way it feels when someone you care about throws away your trust. It hurts.
That was the day that I decided to stop living a life of lies. This was totally not the first time in my life that I had lied, but I had really gotten in to the habit of being, well, a liar.
I’m so grateful that my parents loved me enough to stop me from living that way. And, I’ve made mistakes since then, but the habit was broken. Now, I can live a life of truth and honesty.
As adults, we have perfected the way to lie. We speak the most damaging words over ourselves, and the awful thing is that we start to believe it. We tell ourselves we aren’t smart enough to do something, or that we aren’t pretty enough compared to others. We aren’t the best mom for our children, or we aren’t the right wife for our husbands. We make habits of telling ourselves these lies. The saddest thing about this is that we make these lies truth when we don’t recognize how they keep us down.
We are new creations in the Lord. If we have Jesus, the old us is gone, and the new us is here. When you speak lies over yourself, what you are really doing is telling God that He made a mistake with you. You are telling him that his purposes couldn’t be fulfilled in you because you’re not enough. But, that’s putting your faith in YOU, not the Lord! None of us are enough, but grace covers in our missing pieces, and through Jesus, we become enough to fulfill His plans for our lives. Stop allowing your words to put boundaries on what you are capable of doing. Walk in confidence in truth and grab hold of the Heavenly adventure that awaits you!
“For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” Proverbs 3:26