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A Hard Lesson

September 22, 2005

As a teen reader of Insight, I used to love looking through each issue to see whom I knew (at that time they used a lot of “models” from the academy I attended). It was fun to see friends pictured in different poses and situations. I wanted to be in the magazine so badly.

It annoyed me to see one particular girl pictured so often. She was beautiful and always looked perfect in her pictures (and in real life, for that matter). A good student, involved in everything, she had guys falling all over her at school. I guess I have to admit that I was jealous. Nobody ever asked me to be in the magazine.

Then came my big break. FINALLY, someone called and asked if I would be a model. Woo-hoo!

After what seemed like an eternity, the day dawned, bright and sunny. I raced to the studio with butterflies in my stomach. This was it! Once there, I and the other student model were told that we’d be doing an on-location shot at the city park. Cool, I thought, that’s even better than the studio! The park is a pretty place, so I started conjuring up all the possibilities. I was finally going to be in the same league as “her.”

When we got to the park the photographer and his assistant led us straight . . . to the bathroom. This is odd, I thought. I began to fear this might not be the glamour shot I’d anticipated. My prospects dimmed further when he handed me a ragged old coat and tattered hat. His assistant held a jar of goopy black stuff in her hand. This wasn’t looking good.

“You’re going to be a homeless person,” the photographer said with a smile. A HOMELESS PERSON?! I screamed inside. You want me to be a HOMELESS PERSON? I smiled back, and may have even squeaked a reply. I almost cried.

Oblivious to my humiliation and still smiling happily, they wrapped me in the old coat, messed up my hair and plunked the tattered old hat on my head. Then they proceeded to smear the black stuff all over my cheeks. The assistant grinned as she smudged my face to the photographer’s satisfaction.

At least they had me bend over the sink and “wash my face” for the photograph while the other model stood and pointed at me. I had never been more embarrassed. I was actually glad to be virtually unrecognizable in the final photograph.

Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 23:12 “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” In Proverbs 16:8 the author says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Looking back on it now, it all seems pretty silly. I shouldn’t have been jealous. God made me to be different. Not less, not more, just different. Rather than being humiliated by my “star” photograph, I should have just laughed about it (it is a pretty funny picture). By being proud and trying to exalt myself, I ended up with a hard lesson in humility. Have you ever learned humility the hard way? I’d love to hear about it.

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