Last night, I gussied myself up -- well, I put on makeup, anyway -- to go out to dinner by myself. Some people might not enjoy that , but whenever I'm out of town, I end up doing lots of things alone, and I'm quite happy taking myself out for a nice dinner by my lonesome. It's sometimes more relaxing to be alone with your thoughts and a big plate of yummy food.
But as I marched out of the hotel lobby, an acquantance bopped me on the arm. He and another man were on their way to dinner, too. We were walking the same direction, and being that this man is quite incredibly nice, he invited me along to join them. I decided, Why not?
Well, actually, part of me decided, Why not? The other part was in mini-freak out mode. This man is a writer for a very high-profile magazine, one everyone has heard of. The other man was an editor there. And they were meeting a novelist friend. The scared part of my brain was saying something like, "Who do you think you are, heading to a dinner with these three important, intelligent men? They're out of your league. What can you possbily add to their conversations? How will you make it through three hours without revealing you are just a young ninny?"
I told that part of me to shut up.
Then I thought back on a few things I'd read earlier in the day (in a book I just picked up, "Jesus in Blue Jeans"). One passage talked about "grooming" ourselves to face the world, and after reading it, I had prayed to turn my thoughts to God, to cover myself in his word and Spirit, to blanket myself in a coating of Him. To be in the world but not of it.
And so, remembering this, I prayed again, and the bad thoughts quieted themselves.
Soon after that, we sat down, and the meal we had was wonderful and the conversation spirited. We talked about writing and business. We told stories and joked with one another like old friends.
I felt somewhat surprised with myself last night. But looking back, I see that surprise comes only from expecting so little to begin with. Why do I do that? I do it quite often. I harp on myself and come to expect to fail, come to expect people won't like me, that I'm not smart enough or funny enough or pretty enough or good enough to succeed. Sometimes I let those negative thoughts drive my actions, and the results are predictably sour.
Over the past two years, I've asked God many times to help me transform my mind. I think slowly He is. I see now that He wants only good things for me, that He loves me completely, and that He won't give me more than I can handle.
It's nice to find myself in a moment where my faith in those beliefs carries me through. And I hope next time that happens, I'm not surprised at all.