One of my favorite comedians has a great joke about being from a small town.  He says that, if you are from a big city and shop at yard sales, folks may make fun of you and say, “You’re poor.”  And that’s not cool.  But if you are from a small town and you shop at yard sales, then people will say, “Hey, you’re wearing Mike’s shirt.” 

People notice what you wear, what you do, and what belongs to whom.  Regardless of whether you are from a big city or small town or somewhere in the middle, people have certain expectations and standards for what they believe people should do and have.

For example, anybody that did not have a “WWJD” bracelet in my 6th grade class was considered to be a nobody.  In my high school, if you didn’t watch professional wrestling and come to school prepared to discuss the story lines, you sat alone during lunch.  In college, if you didn’t have one of the cool, new flip phones, then there must be something wrong with you.

I thought that, as an adult, I would be past all that.  I thought that people would stop caring who you are or what you have.  I really thought that, especially as a Christian, there was nothing that I would be embarrassed about not having.  Alas, I was wrong.

Recently, I invited some friends over to watch a movie while my wife was away for work.  We watched an awful movie and stayed up too late.  Basically, that adds up to a pretty awesome night.

One of my friends received a text message that apparently got his wheels turning about something.  Not having a smart phone with him, he asked if he could use mine.  I handed it to him, and he asked me where he could find my Bible app…and I didn’t have one.  BAM!  Middle school all over again.

In my defense, I had gotten a new phone a few days earlier and had yet to get it fully loaded with my favorite apps.  However, I was still pretty embarrassed.  My co-Sunday School teacher, my accountability partner, one of my best friends caught me red-handed without a Bible app.  I bet Peter never had to deal with such embarrassment. 

Of course, I was able to download the app within 20 seconds and we were ready to go.  And obviously not having a Bible app does not make me less of a Christian.  In no way did my friend judge me or give me reason to feel embarrassed.  But I was made acutely aware of insecurities that I thought I had prayed away many moons ago.  I found myself concerned about social judgment in a way that I rarely experience anymore.

My friend and I immediately made fun of the situation, and then he made fun of the fact that I would probably write about it.  But after processing the situation a bit, I did realize that this was a story worth telling. 

Through this situation, I realized that how absurd it is to worry about the judgment of others.  In fact, it is pretty arrogant of me to assume that other people even care about what I wear, do, or have.  And if they do care, that’s their problem…not mine. 

I just hope this lesson finally takes hold in my brain before flying cars come out.  That could get really awkward.

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