I’m not sure where this is going. I made the mistake of drinking a coffee-bubble latte too late in the afternoon (a mistake I’ll likely make again when I have the chance – “bubbles” are these delightful soft, giant tapioca-like pearls that settle at the bottom of an iced coffee latte). And so I’m awake with lots running through my head, needing an outlet other than my tossed-up pillow.
First, I’d like to make a confession. Don’t judge me for this, or go the other way and say I’m too conservative. Just listen. I had the strangest thing happen to me today, and I’m sure it was a lesson from God, and a stranger. Do you ever learn lessons from strangers?
Today, I was getting ready to go out and meet my friend at a coffeeshop. I slipped into a short skirt, and it looked really darling (as my grandma would say). But, you know, it just showed too much leg. I knew it, but I reasoned that it’s summer, it’s acceptable to show lots of leg in this culture (these women have the skinniest legs), and it looked so cute. So, after almost changing into something more “safe,” I boldly walked out the door, and enjoyed the cool wind on my legs. Ah! This was the way summer should feel – jean free! I was halfway to the coffeeshop, when something began to bother me. I saw a guy smirking at me. I immediately felt self-conscious. Was my skirt revealing something? I decided to wait and see how the next person I saw would react. Maybe I was just imagining things.
A lady – a middle-aged ajuma- came at me pulling a cart. She glanced at me. We made eye contact. I smiled. Then suddenly, she stopped and burst into a stream of shocked-sounding Korean. 전도사 이에요? (are you a missionary?) she asked. I nodded, feeling my face go red. I could pick out some of what she said. “What is your church?” She continued, in a repremanding tone. It could have been something else, but I felt sure that she was talking about my skirt, and those white legs I was baring. She grabbed my hand and showed me a ring she was wearing, with a silver cross on it. My heart felt warm from embarrassment and love all at once. “조심 해요” I understood – “Be careful.”
“I know only a little Korean,” I interrupted. “Why should I be careful?” I scrunched my eyebrows and showed genuine concern – and hopefully innocence. But I knew I was at fault. When the lady realized that I couldn’t understand many of her words, she faltered, then said she was sorry, and began to walk away.
“Wait!” I said, “Please speak slower.” But she just waved and left. Leaving me feel like a little girl caught running in the road. The message to me, couldn’t have been clearer. What was I to do? Suddenly, my face was red, my heart was beating, and my meeting was 10 minutes away, but I turned and hurried back to my apartment as fast as I could.
30 minutes later, I met my friend at another coffeeshop, dressed in a cute top and capris.
God speaks in many ways – often He uses other people. Even strangers. The message seemed very clear, but I wanted to open my Bible to make sure.
Heart still pounding a little, I scrolled to my Bible app and looked at the verse of the day.
The grace of God has come forward
for the deliverance from sin and eternal salvation for all mankind.
It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness
and worldly desires,
to live discrete (temperate, self-controlled),
upright, devout (spiritually whole)
lives in this present world.
Suddenly, I was on my Father’s knee, and He was speaking tenderly. Telling me why He told me not to run into the road.
Christian friends, I know we don’t always like boundaries, but if you feel a check in your spirit about something, please don’t ignore it. You may be fine in short skirts – but I’m just too tall and leggy. Maybe for you it’s certain movies, novels, or a pasttime you’ve fallen into that’s simply not holy.
The bold Korean lady, God bless her, hit the nail right on the head for me. I am called as a missionary. I must live by a higher standard. I must pursue holiness in all I do – including my dress. There must be no twist of darkness in this candle I hold out. Aren’t we all called to be lights?
What happened later was beautiful. I had such a delightful afternoon with my friend, learning Korean, teaching some English idioms, and laughing together over … ahem … coffee-bubble lattes.
Then, I walked to the nearby woman’s university for our last night of evangelism. Jesus opened some beautiful doors for me to talk and pray with some students. The atmosphere was pure and light.
I wonder what would have happened if the lady hadn’t stopped me? If she had just kept her thoughts to herself?
Would the night have turned out the same in my short skirt and bare legs?
Would I have been able to speak in the same way about Jesus to those young ladies at the college?
The literary bent in me imagines that danger lurked ahead on one of the street corners, and I was saved by my capris.
Or, the simple fact is, the lady kept me from shivering on an unseasonly chilly night.
I doubt that was the extent of today’s lesson, though.
To all my fellow light-bearers. Shine brightly ~
The caffeine has settled down a bit. I’m going to try to sleep.
you were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light…
and find out what pleases the Lord.
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness ~
rather, expose them