Suddenly Joel said, "Stop that! Why are you doing that?"
I looked at him and asked, "What?"
"Why are you apologizing for the way you think?"
I stared at him a moment, not quite comprehending that I'd been doing that very thing, without using the usual words, "I'm sorry" or "I apologize." He went on to tell me I should never ever apologize for who I am.
Then he asked, "How many people have been born since the beginning of time to now?"
"Of all those billions and trillions of people born before now and all the people who will be born after until the world ends, there has never been and never will be another person like you. You should never apologize for who you are."
In my friend Joel, I was hearing the Lord speak to me. And at that point the Lord wasn't finished.
I responded, "Joel, you're right. And when I apologize for who I am and how I think, I am telling God that I don't think He made me good enough. It's a slap in God's face."
Later in the morning, I was listening to Pandora. A commercial came on called "Sorta you, isn't you". It was a commercial for e-surance, but I wasn't listening to the commercial. The Lord was speaking to me again. This time He was saying, "When you apologize to people for who you are, and are worried about what people think, you suppress the person I made you to be. So the sorta you that you create isn't the real you I intended you to be."
Wow. As I tried to wrap my head around this, I got really excited about what I was hearing from the Lord through Joel and through a commercial on Pandora. What amazing freedom this brings!
But the Lord wasn't finished with me.
The next day, I looked at my list of Bible verses I go through every day, and the verse that came up was 2 Timothy 1:12
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but power, love and self-discipline."
Lord forgive me for looking at myself with contempt, a daughter You loved enough to redeem with Jesus' blood. Help me live my life in such gratitude to what You have done that I will never live apologetically again. Not only that, please help me live the kind of life that loves others because You have loved me. How can I look at anyone else's stains with contempt when I know You don't look at my stains with contempt, but loved me just as I am, exactly as I am. Help me live gratefully and unapologetically.
In Jesus Name, Amen.