It never fails. It's always on the Wednesday nights that I look, let's just say, less than my best (I was about to say "like crap" right there, but then I remembered that one must be careful with metaphors, and none to quick to liken one's appearance to excrement, unless of course one has had the misfortune to stumble into a pile of dung) that an acquaintance from my past will wander into my B&N and happen upon me as I am dutifully manning the info desk or standing behind the register.
And every time, after we've exchanged polite conversation and they've continued on their merry shopping way, I find myself wondering about the statistical probability of oversleeping, sporting bad hair, suffering an angsty outbreak of hormone-induced adult acne, deciding to wear the infamous chunky blue wool "fat day sweater", and encountering a prior acquaintance while working retail, all on the same day.
And then, when I'm done with statistics (which is pretty soon thereafter since numbers aren't my thing), I start wondering what they think of me... the popular girl I sang with in high school treble choir... that cute, bubbly girl from the badminton team... my friend's Woody Allen look-a-like ex-boyfriend... or, in the case of last night, the hot guy and his wife who lived in the apartment below mine in college.
And then, after I've let my imagination put all kinds of unkind thoughts in their heads, I inevitably begin berating myself once again for caring what they think; for feeling somehow "lowly" because they "caught me" in a position of customer servitude; for feeling the need to justify my place by clarifying that I have a perfectly respectable day job, and that I moonlight as a bookseller "just for fun"; for believing the lie that the way I appear on the outside on any given day has a direct bearing on my overall worth.
I wish I didn't care what other people think of how I look or what I do or what I've accomplished in life. How I wish I was so secure in my identity as a servant of the King, as a co-heir with Christ, as the chosen dwelling place of the Holy Spirit that I could daily go about the responsibilities to which I am called with true joy and contentment and security in who I am and who I am becoming. How I wish my love for and obedience to Him were inevitable, and not this selfish depravity I battle daily.
How much I need grace.