It’s been said that being able to laugh at yourself is a sign of emotional maturity. If that’s the case, I have a long way to go.
But I’m trying.
I currently work with the School of Writing (SOW) at the University of the Nations in Kona, HI. Our campus is just one location of many with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) a world-wide, international, interdenominational mission training and sending organization.
In the SOW, we expose our students to varied forms of writing including fiction, children’s literature, thematic, and screenwriting. Our goal is to train better communicators for the Kingdom of God.
One morning during a break from a critique group, everyone gathered to socialize around the sofa and coffee table where the critique group had been held. I had not been part of the group but had been working at a table across the classroom.
I’d skipped breakfast that day and the veggies and hummus put out for everyone did little to take the edge off my appetite. As we talked, I noticed a packaged granola bar sitting on the coffee table. According to the picture on the package, the bar had chocolate drizzled over it.
“Is that anyone’s granola bar?” I pointed at the package. “Ah. . .does this belong to anyone?” No one answered so I I figured it must be an extra. I picked it up and ripped open the package and took a bite.
A minute passed by and then one student piped up, “Hey, where’s my granola bar?” She looked around in confusion. “Someone ate my snack.”
I looked down at the half-eaten bar in my hand, thoroughly chagrined. Turns out the granola bars were only for the critique group participants and I’d been caught red-handed. Like a young George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, I could not tell a lie. I confessed.
Though all was forgiven, I cringed inwardly for the next couple of days whenever I remembered the incident. I didn’t want to be thought of as greedy and selfish.
But soon, I began to laugh about it. It just seemed like something that would happen between two kids rather than adults who should know better.
We tend to take ourselves and life too seriously, especially intense, perfectionistic, control freaks like myself. If we are not careful, we can fall prey to basing our self-esteem (or lack thereof) on how many times we do or don’t mess up. But self-esteem and self-consciousness are only subtle forms of pride for we are only truly humble when we are self-forgetful and God-conscious instead.
Taking that granola bar was an innocent mistake. We don’t learn unless we make mistakes. If no injuries or property damage occur and no genuine sin is involved, why can’t we just take a deep breath and pray for the grace we all need so desperately. Then we can throw back our heads and have a good laugh—at ourselves and at our humaness.