My two oldest girls were leaving for college in a week and, as is my custom, I wanted to prepare some of their favorite meals before they left. As I was preparing one of those – my “famous” chicken pot pie – I discovered I didn’t have enough chicken so in my haste, I made a substitution. Had I given it a little more thought I would have realized that tuna does not come anywhere close to being a suitable substitute for chicken. But I was in a hurry.
Fast forward to mealtime…We thanked God for our meal and then, as I cut into the pot pie, I felt the urge to come clean. I felt compelled to confess. So I blurted out, “I DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH CHICKEN, SO I ADDED SOME TUNA!” I was hoping for some sympathetic, “It’s all right, Mom,” comments. I heard none. Instead, my confession was met with stunned looks and reluctant bites, immediately followed by gagging and lots of laughter. The memorable “tuna/chicken pot pie” incident has become legendary in our home. It is a memory that surfaces frequently at family gatherings and, I have to admit that I love when it does.
The ability to laugh at ourselves is an invaluable life skill, but one not one easily acquired. The truth is that each of us lives with insecurities; nagging and painful feelings of inadequacy. Perhaps we struggle to feel accepted or worthy or needed. Maybe we feel ugly or socially backward or stupid or something else. These insecurities may have come through harsh or insensitive parents or rejection on the playground as children. But however they seeped into our psyches, their pain is real. It’s not just junior high girls that struggle with these feelings. We all do on some level (even those burly men in our lives). It is painful enough to live with these secret insecurities, but when these embarrassing flaws are dragged out into the open for all to see, the pain is oftentimes more than we can bear.
This is why we have to fight back. We must face off with our insecurities, accepting the fact that we are imperfect, maybe even inadequate in certain areas, and it’s OK. Christ accepts us as we are—flaws and all–and that is enough. This single truth is freeing beyond measure and allows us to be vulnerable, to laugh at ourselves and the mistakes we make—even those “oh-so-embarrassing ones”— which in turn, foster security within our children and occasionally even provides some cheap entertainment for those around.
Your children will learn to be secure in spite of their weaknesses as you teach them that God understands and accepts their frailties as the Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 103:13-14:
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust.”