I had the most embarrassingly funny moment at a shopping center in Brisbane this week. Like most of my crazy moments in life, God used it to show me something beautiful. I just love His perspective.
Being an American in Australia, I got to the shopping center a little shaky. I lived in Australia years ago so you’d think I’d be fairly confident at driving on the OTHER side of the road (competent, YES…confident, not quite yet). Maybe it was the fact that I missed the turn off to the parking tower and had to circle the giant center a few times, or that it took me 5 goes at parking our new little Mazda 3 straight. At any rate, I was super excited to be on an outing and having driven all by myself, though slightly flustered.
Inside I quickly found my current favorite shop and enjoyed browsing through the home wares section. After a few minutes, I looked up and saw a familiar face from a distance. There was a guy standing some yards away intensely eyeing a kitchen knife, and I was certain this was our good friend Rod (who I had not yet had the pleasure of seeing since we’ve been back in Australia). Rod seemed to have cut his hair super short since I last saw him last in November, so being ME I figured I’d sneak up and give him a big, surprise hug from behind and then shower him with love as he’s a dear friend of ours.
I got super excited as I prepared my sneaky love-attack…..and when I pounced, I did it with all the affection and silliness of a little sister-type!
And y’all….much to my horror….this man was NOT Rod.
He was most likely taken aback, but could have been a little less direct and rude with me when he informed me that he was not who I thought he was. Of course I apologized and my face was probably several shades of maroon as I crept away from him in humiliation. I actually had a hard time looking at him in the eyes for a second as he very quickly walked away from me (actually, it looked almost like he was escaping from me!). I made a quick exit as well, giggling to myself as the initial embarrassment wore off.
Again later, I saw him from a distance and he seemed to have a lighter attitude and more of a spring in his step. I hoped I had not freaked him out too much and he was now able to laugh about it.
When I shared this story with a friend that day at lunch, she made a most interesting comment that got me talking to God about it. “What if that’s the only hug that man has ever received from Jesus,” my friend said to me. 1 John 4:17 says that as Jesus is, so am I in this world.
Galatians 2:20 says that I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives IN ME. And what about Romans 8, which states that I have the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead living within me?!
What if it was a complete GOD SET-UP because this man NEEDED A HUG??? That’s a different perspective indeed.
The more I processed this with the Lord the more He spoke to me about it from several different angles.
What if God Himself desires to sneak up on us with that same kind of love and excited affection, yet we abruptly shoo Him away like this man did to me? What if, like this man, we are too intense and focused on our tasks that we forget that God just wants to give us a cuddle?
How often have I pushed Holy Spirit away because I’m so focused on getting stuff done that I don’t feel like I have time to allow Him to love on me. And what if the man’s attitude changed because he actually did encounter the love of God for a second, through me?
How much more does God want to love on us, celebrate us and see us changed by just a moment with Him.
And sometimes, all we need is a good hug and someone to celebrate us. How amazing to know that Jesus always celebrates us!
As you can tell, I took away a few important lessons from this most embarrassing moment. I do think that if I had the opportunity again, even through the embarrassment, I’d still do the same thing.
The Love of Jesus transforms the world, even through a stranger’s hug. I’ll never apologize for how I carry the Love of Christ.
I think I’ll go allow Him to hug on ME for awhile now. There’s nothing in the world like His love.
~ Mandy Woodhouse