I was invited to a party at a bar. Do you know the last time this 32-year-old mother was in a bar? For some, it’s normal because it may be a hang out spot, but my friends just haven’t made that “our place.”
I wasn’t drinking because I had a sinus infection and was on an antibiotic, so needed every ounce of water I could get. Then, I immediately was reminded of the loudness of a bar. I had to raise my voice and lean in close to hear others. All was going fine until…yelling. Yelling profanity. Not me; someone I didn’t know. I haven’t experienced that in years. And I was shocked. Because this other person was the same age as me: over 30. And yelling profanity in a bar.
I didn’t have time to think about what was happening because I was attempting to have the best conversation we all could muster with a group of acquaintances I hadn’t seen since college. We were catching up on everything that had happened in the past 10 years, when I suddenly let the bar atmosphere get the best of me. I used a couple cuss words – and one in reference to another person. I shocked myself when it happened. I don’t live my life potty-mouth free, but this was a really intense choice of words in front of a group. What did I just do?
Now being a Christian isn’t about avoiding bars. And it’s not about swearing. But that word vomit is a sin in God’s eyes – and certainly doesn’t impress anyone else. Then, remember that person that was yelling profanity? He – sarcastically – yelled across a few tables at our group, and…I found myself sarcastically yelling back. Because I used to do that when I was in college – at bars. What was happening?! I nearly slapped myself silly.
Next, I texted an old friend who was planning to come to the party but was exhausted after a full day of taking kids to the zoo. I gave her some sarcastic language in a text. And felt terrible after pressing “send.”
What was happening to me? Why was I reacting like this – especially with no alcohol to use as a crutch? And as I reflected the morning after, I realized: I punched Jesus in a bar.
I mean, not literally. He didn’t show up in physical form. But I definitely went back to old ways as a result of my environment.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, you are a new creation. The old has gone; the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
I was a Christian in college. I was even a leader for a faith-based organization on campus. But I also decided I wanted to have a college experience. I rarely went to parties or drank, but on the few occasions I did, I purposely tried to make at least one poor choice and seize that lifestyle – because I knew I wouldn’t seek out those experiences ever again. I wanted to know what it felt like.
But this latest night in a bar? I obviously retreated to that old mindset. I caved to the devil. And I felt so incredibly embarrassed.
Why didn’t I ask the group of acquaintances (who I know are believers) how they were doing in their spiritual walk? Or how I could pray for them? Why did I text my friend, who couldn’t make it, sarcasm instead of empathy? I always give empathy for exhausted parent scenarios because that IS my situation. Daily.
Because the devil took advantage of me in that bar – and I was unable to see Jesus in that environment.
So God and I had a conversation today as I realized all this and I confessed – apologized – for the way I didn’t reflect Him in my demeanor that night. And I’m still trying to cope with the guilt and embarrassment of it all. (So I wrote a blog. Somehow public confession helps me get over things?) Which explains my next step…
To those of you who were there: Maybe you noticed you something. Maybe you think I’m getting worked up out of nothing. But this was a big deal between Jesus and me. I’m sorry I didn’t engage with you in meaningful conversation, like about our faith relationships. And I’m sorry I did not show you or anyone else in that bar what I means to be changed because of Jesus. Please don’t remember me as the shallow woman who caved to sin in the bar. Please think of me a sinner, always trying to be a little bit better the next time. And for when we see each other again in…about 10 years? Let’s talk about some real stuff. And I’d really like to avoid yelling, profanity, and general catastrophe. So let’s try to not meet in a bar.