Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

Will It Kill You?

It would absolutely kill me to apologize, but that’s exactly what I want.

Do you remember being a kid and not sharing your toys because you wanted them all to yourself? Or maybe you pushed a friend down because you were upset about landing on the losing side of a dodgeball game. Whatever the scenario, if your parent or teacher or bigger, more responsible kid saw or heard it, you were forced to apologize. Maybe you were a crier, so you apologized through big, guilty sobs. Maybe you actually felt shame and would shift uneasily from foot to foot with head hanging low as you whispered the apology. Maybe you were stubborn, like me, and apologized with eye rolls, teeth sucking, and a completely obligatory, half-hearted “I’m sorry.” These compulsions were designed to teach us to atone, to have empathy, and to learn to be good people.

So why was I such a brat yesterday? Just in case you’re wondering, I’m many moons passed the age where my mommy needs to tap my legs or make me take a time out, but there I was metaphorically reliving my greatest temper tantrums. While God may have revealed to me my missteps and how my actions had been in direct opposition to my assignment, there was also an expectation that I swallow my pride, call my supervisor, and apologize for both my stubbornness and arrogance.

That wasn’t an easy call to make. I knew that she didn’t take my push back personally. In fact, we left on great terms. I had to apologize to someone who did not think I had done anything wrong. I had to apologize for something didn’t even think was wrong at the time we parted. It was only after prayer and reflection that I truly understood my fault, and I knew that if I wanted to own my growth in the Spirit, I needed to admit this to the person who needed to hear it, not just to God.

Humility and obedience are two Christian growth traits that I most need to work on these days, and that necessarily means that I have to sincerely repent and actually apologize out loud to the humans I share space with when needed. The success of my assignment depends on it, and I can no longer take aspects of my responsibility lightly. That means that the muleheaded stubbornness and haughtiness has to die to make more room for the Spirit of God in my life.

I made the call, and I’m glad I did, but that was only one step in the right direction. God is convicting me to act differently now that I know better. He’s requiring me to give vigorous energy to the tasks I hate most and don’t find any value in prioritizing. On top of that, he is challenging me to keep the my attention on the things I am most passionate about, too. This is going to be harder than apologizing. In fact, I’d much rather apologize continuously than actually change my practice, but that’s not the assignment. Here’s the other thing: He didn’t promise me career success. All He promised is my development for the ultimate good of others. He wants my selflessness and generosity, and that’s what I want to give Him because if I don’t, I will never fully step into my purpose.




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