Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Being Bad Just Once



But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish.
He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port.
After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.

Jonah 1:3

I was the good girl, the one who followed her parents' rules, the one who never got into trouble. My sister and cousin consistently called me "square." (Don't think I haven't forgotten, girls. You forever scarred my psyche!) I didn't let them deter me from doing what I knew to be right, but it did smart a little. Being good wasn't good enough. Being good was the right thing, but being good was (dare I say it?) boring.

Nobody pays attention to the good kid. She does what she's expected to do. There's no drama, no excitement there. I wanted to be bad, just once, to shock everybody around me, to show people this good girl had some spunk. But when the urge hit, I'd ignore it every time. I didn't want to live with the guilt of doing something I knew I shouldn't. Don't be impressed. I was just chicken.

Until one night in college I found myself particularly vulnerable. I was lovesick and my dear boyfriend was traveling across the country, without a stop near Nebraska for months. I wasn't planning on going to the party after the Homecoming game, but some friends convinced me it would be good to get out. I sat among a bunch of happy people, yet felt very alone and sad, not joining the festivities, only staring at two punch bowls marked "yes, it is" and "no, it isn't."

And because I was melancholy, because I was sick of doing the right thing, because the person who knew me best was in who knows what church that night singing for God, leaving me there to fend for myself, I decided to "live a little" and bellied up to the "yes, it is" punch bowl, the yes, it is SPIKED punch bowl. All night. I always did what God asked and where had it gotten me? Everyone got to slip up. Why couldn't I? And who would even care?

I did some pretty stupid things that night. After the "yes, it is" punch was gone, I started mixing my own. I went cruising with guys I didn't know (Thank the Lord for good friends who were looking out for me. I owe you BIG TIME!). I used words I never utter and embarrassed myself so much I didn't want to leave my apartment the next day. But my belly of the fish moment came when I lifted the glass to my lips for the zillionth time that night and saw a friend over the rim. She was a year younger than me and had been through a tough time herself. She talked to me often. I knew she looked up to me and respected my opinion, but when our eyes met that night, all I saw was confusion. She said nothing, but her body language screamed, "What are you doing?!"

In one fell swoop, I lost my credibility, my respectability, and my dependability, qualities which took years to develop. Stupid.

I'm back to being a good girl according to most people's standards (if you don't count the Ozarks--ha!). I learned the hard way not to flee from God, not even for one night. His ways may be demanding and tough, but they are for our protection. Always. There's no taking breaks from Him, unless you want to roll around in the muck for a while. We can flee, but He'll find us every time.

To join the In "Other" Words meme and read more impressions of this quote, visit MiPa at Miriam Pauline's Monologue.

7 comments:

Denise Hughes said...

"There's no taking breaks from Him, unless you want to roll around in the muck for a while."

As a former "muck-roller," I appreciate the candor and honesty with which you inspire. I no longer think that "being good = boring." Living in such a way that is holy and pleasing to God brings a rest and peace to my soul that no amount of "yes, it is" can possibly bring. Thanks for sharing your story.

Denise said...

Bless you for this post sweetie.

MiPa said...

What a challenge that we should resist the urge to flee for even one day. Those "one days" are impossible to reclaim. Thanks for the candid reminder of the importance of consistency. Have a lovely day my friend.

Angie said...

Thank you for sharing this today...so many times I look back on the "mess up" of my life and think..."WHAT was I thinking??" To do something totally out of character left me with a scar a mile wide...but God....

But God.

He never once reminded me of that fall---only offered grace and forgiveness...

Your post was a blessing!

Rachelle said...

I think you're safe friend! But don't let PETA know you swallowed a live fish.

norma mercer said...

I guess there is no such thing as a "compensation" sin.
No matter what you have given up for the Lord, No matter what you do or say that brings glory to Him, No matter how much you give and give and give-----God doesn't do things like the world----you're not compensated for you're good deeds by being allowed to do 'something else' that sounds like fun or helps you through the day. Sometimes I live my life with compensation things. I've given this, I've done that then I should be allowed to do this. I know better, but I still struggle. I AM JONAH!

Brenda said...

Wow! That story could have been written about me. Except I never had the Punch Bowl Experience. Never did the one big thing.....but I am selfish, quick tempered and too busy every day. It's not the big ones that get me. The million little ones throughout the day trip me up.