it ain’t you, it’s tcu
so, my sweet hubby and i went on a date the other night…WAHOOOO!!! at this current stage in our lives, the actual plans of the date matter very little. what matters is that we are alone, together…he feeds himself, i feed myself…we get to have a solid conversation without any, and i do many any (sweet, adorable, but constant and sometimes mind-numbing) interruptions. i was wearing a t-shirt and capri sweatpants actually, he didn’t even care. don’t worry, i bathed myself and straightened my hair, so i wasn’t a complete mess. we were comfy and casual and happy to be together. but this wasn’t just a date. ( i feel like i need a sound effect here, like dun-dun duuun) this was a date…. with a purpose. we were needing some time together, but also we were needing to re-do our dave ramsey budget. we live on cash only, no debt, if the money ain’t in the envelope, we ain’t buying it budget…and since i no longer work at church and since he just got a new job and is expecting a small (emphasis on small..but GOD WE ARE THANKFUL!!) increase in pay…we knew it was time to re-evaluate things….plus…i will be taking over the bill payin’ for the family for the first time in our marriage…so this meeting was loooong overdue. and in all honesty, i was excited to be able to take this stress from him, submit to him in this way…and hopefully help out my sweet hubby who does soooo much more that most men do in the average household.
so, here we are, excited about our date… in fact…we were beyond thrilled because we had a coupon for “buy one dinner, get one free” at springcreek bar-b-q…score! we got there….planned out our entrees and sides so we could share and enjoy our dinners. even “splurged” and got one sweet tea to share…got to the end of the line and the nice 17 year old who was training the nice 16 year old looked at us and said “oh, ya, that isn’t good….you can only use that coupon monday-thursday, sorry..that’ll be $23.76” ouch. ironic isn’t it…that we were so excited to go on our budget talking date and blew the budget on the meal. nice. ah well, that just meant less money for groceries that week. we made it work…and we ate every morsel of that meal and you know we brought the leftovers home for lunch. 🙂 i did feel bad about the sweet tea though. 🙂
anyway…..so we found a nice little corner in the back of the restaurant and began our date. i probably failed to mention that it was barely 5pm on a friday night so the place was dead. shocking, i know. but we were happy to be able to have a relatively quiet place to sit and not feel bad about taking up a table for so long. and the atmosphere was fairly quiet, except for the generic country music playing and the occasional inquiry if we would like a fresh, hot, roll, to which we consistently and politely declined, but to which the sweet 16 year old girl consistently and politely asked over…and over…and over again. i know it was her job, God bless her, but you would think after 7 or 8 times, she would get that we didn’t want any. sweet girl though. that wasn’t even the point of my story this time, but i thought i’d give you a little background as to why we were camped out at springcreek bar-b-q for sooo long. and we did….for soooo long. we chatted, laughed, and then looked over the budget. made a few phone calls to verizon and at&t to talk about how we could give them a little less money each month. i am a queen of sitting on hold and “working my magic” as ryan calls it, with those people.
before we knew it, we’d been there a few hours and the place had really filled up. we knew we had to finish up because we wanted to run through walmart and get our weekly groceries while we were kid-free (hey, don’t knock it…it is waaaay easier that way)…so as we were getting situated and ready to leave…i looked around the restaurant and re-noticed a few things. i say “re”-noticed because i had actually noticed this one large group that had come in an hour or so before. it was hard not to. it was a group of about 15-20 older people. when i say “older” i mean that most of the sweet people were at least in their late sixties and early seventies….which i must say is not a whole lot older than my very own parents, but they all sure looked older than my parents. so, maybe i’m being polite, maybe they were in their eighties. either way, you get my point. they were so sweet about getting all situated, moving tables together, working out who sat across from who…putting trays here, and drinks here. quite an ordeal when they all got there. so, as ryan and i got up to leave, i stood up…..and i am not kidding you….EVERY single one of them was staring at me. every one. i looked back at our table, thinking surely it was a fluke, glanced back up, and sure enough, ALL of them, still staring……so i began to walk towards to door, which led me by their long stratch of tables they had made…..wiped my face a bit and looked down at my shirt and pants to make sure nothing terribly embarrassing was going on….(ALL still staring at me)…i’m running things through my brain, like “what in the world? why are all these old people staring at me? i know i didn’t dress up that nice, but c’mon!?! i don’t look trashy! it can’t be that bad! maybe it’s not bad…but it can’t be that good wither, i’m not that cute or anything?! i mean, i would get it if i had the kids with me, they always attract attention, especially from older grandparent-type folks…but they aren’t with me…what is going on!?!?!” and i got closer to them and walked a bit slower, smiling so big and polite to try and show these people i really was such a nice person…i will still brushing myself off, and i kinda turned around to see what was behind me…and then i saw it….duh. right, directly behind me was a big screen tv playing some sort of baseball game.
i stopped dead in my tracks. (now, by this time, ryan is almost out the door) and i have pretty much gotten up to their table now, so i have clearly seen that the consistent and constant gaze of all 20 of these older sweet people is still going in that same direction and that direction ain’t me…it was the tv. i glance back at the tv and back at all of them, and then i bust out laughing….LOUD! well, that shook them all out of their locked gaze for sure. i felt so foolish. and so selfish. and sooooo relieved, all at the same time. i couldn’t stop giggling. pretty loudly, too. and so, of course, now they really were staring at me. i apologized and said, “i’m sorry, from where i was standing, it looked like you all were staring at me, and it was so weird! i thought why are all these nice people staring at me!?!” (ya like how i threw the word nice in there so they wouldn’t think i was a complete lunatic, eh? i’m ok with partial looney, but not a total nutcase) they all started laughing and one of the men said, “now, honey, it ain’t you, it’s TCU. but go ahead and have a seat and join us.” so i did. i sat down in the chair of someone who had clearly gotten up to get a re-fill (probably sweet tea…bet he didn’t try to use a coupon though) and chatted with them for a minute…..(for those of you who know me well, this is shocking. i have never met a stranger and could make friends with a tree stump. a true sanguine to the core. i could have sat with these people for hours.) “how is everyone? you guys on a date, like me? our kiddos are home with nana and grandpa, ya’lls too?” they laughed, i laughed. then they found out i was a red raider fan and asked me to leave. 🙂 which was fine, because my hot date had almost gotten out the door before realizing he wasn’t being followed anymore, and then was only partially surprised to turn around and find out i was sitting with a table full of strangers.
what a joyful little surprise that was. it gave me a good laugh. the kind of unexpected laugh that does your body good sometimes. but what God really spoke to me about it all was so clear in what that man said to me….”it ain’t you, it’s tcu.” this whole deal isn’t about me. what in my little mind would make me think for a second that a whole table of people would be staring at me? and then, why would i torment myself over it if they were? ugh. soooo much of this life isn’t about me. and yet so much of this life i torment myself over. pleasing people. wanting to have what they have. if i could just…oh, God then i’ll be happy…i promise. my sweet pastor says sometimes (ok, more like OFTEN) that we Americans tend to “spend money we don’t have, to buy things we can’t afford and don’t need, to impress people we don’t even like anyway”…why is that? why are we all in this for ourselves? we get so stinkin’ caught up in the temporal. why is it that these teeny-bopper clothes have the mentality “it’s all about me” plastered across the front in neon splatter paint and there are fully grown middle aged people who could be wearing the same shirt?
this may be a silly example of this, but it spoke to me. i want so badly to get outside of my own self. maybe that’s because my little world has been so small lately. i haven’t been out of it a bunch. God- i pray that you can help ME and all of us to remember that you have us here to BE YOU to those around us. to spread your love and your joy and your good news (GREAT news!) to all we meet. to live it out. philippians 2:3 says “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” in humility. that’s exactly right. i don’t want it to be all about me. i want it to be all about You. and if people are staring at me God, i want it to be because they see something different about me that makes them THINK OF YOU! i want to stand out, but only because i don’t look like everyone else. i love what my pastor talked about just this weekend. in romans 12:2, “do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” only Your Word, God can renew our minds like nothing else. only Your work in us can make us truly humble and truly unselfish. do that in us. please do that in me. it ain’t about me. amen.