I Choked

I love airports. Granted, I’ve never been stranded in one for more than 6 hours. However, I find them the best places for meeting intriguing strangers and shameless people watching. I like to imagine folks dancing as they walk past me onto the next leg of their trip. Anyways, on my last flight, I sat next to a sergeant major coming back from a two year tour in Afghanistan. At let me tell you, he was Mr. Chatty Cathy. But it was awesome! We talked about everything from education in America to politics to marriage to favorite movies and countries. He said he was sorry for talking my ear off but I have a feeling it one of the deepest conversations he’s had in a couple of years. We also talked a lot about religion and he often apologize for “offending” me as a religious person. I simply smiled and told him to offend away.

He called himself “Non-denominational” as in he believes in God with no particular affiliation to any organized church. His wife is Catholic so he tends toward that.

And then he asked me what I do.

And I choked.

I just couldn’t say missionary. I talk instead about my current careers as an art teacher and photographer. I just felt so inadequate, so presumptuous. I didn’t want to be labeled as one of THOSE people.

And I feel I’ve shamed myself and my faith.

But honestly, the shame has emboldened me mostly because it was a reality check. If I’m committing to this, then I can’t simply dabble in it depending on the people I meet. I can’t go half way on this. Yes, there will people that have negative connotations with the word “missionary”, but this is the opportunity to break the stereotype. I am proud to take the road less traveled (probably because I hate traffic) but it’s about time I own this whole path that’s been laid out for me. Because it’s not actually shame of what I’m doing but fear of what others will think.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” ~2nd Timothy 1:7

“So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me.” ~Hebrews 13:6


About Tricia

Just a tall blonde dancing around.
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5 Responses to I Choked

  1. John DuBose says:

    Is choking always sign of weakness/fear or an intuitive signal that the information wouldn’t be helpful if introduced at that particular moment? Tact matters. The man might’ve felt horribly embarrassed if you’d told him you were a missionary at that particular moment, and what would that help? I once shared a rental car ride with a man who ranted about doctors for 15 minutes and then asked me what I did. I was a “student”. Granted, his spiritual condition isn’t related to what he thinks of doctors, but it’s analogous in many ways. When someone is emotionally invested in opposition to what you do in a conversation, it isn’t the best time to directly challenge them. At times like these, you may speak the gospel without using words–listening empathically may communicate more than you could express in mere words.

    • Tricia says:

      So true, John. And I agree with you completely regarding context and tact. However, in this situation, he never gave off any hostility toward “religious” people and he was actually very amiable and good natured. I had no reason or even the slightest instinct to not share what I was doing. It was truly fear and embarrassment on my part. That’s what ashamed me. My lack of trust in God in this very simple conversation

      • John DuBose says:

        Oh! When I read this “We also talked a lot about religion and he often apologize for “offending” me as a religious person,” I thought you meant that he was worried about offending you because you were religious. Completely changes how I read it now. Either way, good things to think about. Best 😉

  2. Heidi says:

    This has happened to me so often…but God will send you more opportunities and as your faith grows, you will not always choke. Blessings! 🙂

  3. nestorakarts says:

    I liked this post because you’re certainly not alone. I’ve been there myself many times and struggled with how to overcome my fear of what others might think. Thank you for posting this and giving me a little confidence too.

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