Conversations like this rarely happen in homes of fathers and daughters, but it happened frequently in mine during my teenage years.
Dad: I forbid you to buy one more brown piece of clothing. FORBID.
Kess: Navy and black are still good, though?
Dad: Kess, try a little color! Why is everything you own so drab?
Kess: I don't know... I like it.
Dad: You're young! Dress like it! Try some sandals, wear short skirts. Please.
Kess: *blushing and averting eye contact*
Honestly, I was too embarrassed to wear color or to show my feet in public. I was too embarrassed to go through the check-out line at the grocery store. I was too embarrassed to call anyone on the phone (except my best friend Tessa; but I was still hope-hope-hoping her mom wouldn't answer). If someone called me and I was wearing a tank top, I would ask them to hold on a minute; this allowed me enough time to go put on a shirt. So maybe you picked up on it: I was very sensitive to embarrassment. In fact, when I was kid, the worst thing my mom could say to me (as she grabbed my upper arm with, uh, intention) were these words:
You're embarrassing me.
*Shudder. Oh, they pierced to my very soul! And it's half comical, half sad that the main part of my ambition as a child was to not be embarrassing and to not be embarrassed.
Now I'm a grown woman and I have so much more freedom in life now. I've tried to cultivate the habit of not apologizing for myself and of chasing kittens. But honestly, a lot of the time I still struggle not to be embarrassed about one thing or another, and I spend too much energy laboring with my insecurities.
But here are 3 lessons-in-progress:
1. It is only the false self that is embarrassed---the self that wants to be impressive, to maintain an image, to manipulate others' perceptions. The me that I was created to be isn't hampered by that stuff. Jesus designed me for freedom!
2. I have to be okay with the facts. And here are the facts: I have repeatedly mispronounced the word "banal," I run into things a lot, I'm not musically talented, I am clumsy on the athletic field, and sometimes I have popcorn in my teeth. C'est la vie -- et que belle vie!
3. Instead of laboring under the rulership of insecurity, I choose to live in the kingdom of TRUTH. And here's the truth >> I am only what I am: imperfect & beloved :)
So you there!
Do you want to walk with me out from the shadow of insecurity and into the freedom of a Christ-identity?
I will walk about in freedom,
for I have sought out your precepts.