Poor, Pitiful, Perfection
“My ego is like a fortress. I have built its walls stone by stone to hold out the invasion of the love of God. But I have stayed here long enough. There is light over the barriers. O my God… I let go of the past, I withdraw my grasping hand from the future and in the great silence of this moment, I alertly rest my soul.” – Howard Thurman
*sigh* Overcompensation *sigh*
I so often overcompensate for my inadequacy. I am not sure the plight of man, but I think this is the plight of a woman. Where the idea of perfection originated I do not know, but as a woman I latch onto it with desperation, and feel deeply weary when I cannot obtain the goal. The last few months God has clearly brought my heart around to the fact that I do not have it all together and I never will. Yet, the old tapes play in the background and the need for self-preservation often wins out.
Wednesdays are always busy, run around days. I am picking up a child from therapy, a child from preschool, & a child from school. Steven wanted to have a picnic & I was determined to do it for him. It had really shaped into a lovely day. It is always a bit of a struggle loading and offloading children, but if that is the worst part of my day then life is not at all a burden. Amy had asked me to take Wyatt, Steven, & Rachael to get pictures. We had our picnic, washed up and changed, and headed out. We had a lovely afternoon. The kids ran and played while they got their picture taken. We had some wonderful conversing with Amy, Nee Nee, & the older kids at their school. We headed home for naps and quite time. As I pulled up Steven says, “Oh no! Is Caboodle dead?”
My heart sank, because as I drove up to turn into the driveway, sure enough, there was the Scalf’s tiny kitten dead in the yard. She had slipped out of the house while I was loading the kids, gotten under my car, and I had backed over her without even realizing it.
Here is where I need to share an ugly side to me. My first reaction was how do I save face? I had just run over this beautiful little creature that loved to sit in your lap and be petted & all I could think was how do I still look like I have it together? How do I not tarnish my “perfection” with this ugly, bloody, sight?
I called Amy, told her the kitten had been hit by a car, Dave drove up, and I wrapped Caboodle in a towel, and placed her in the garbage can. I heard Steven cry, “Don’t throw her away!” Yep, that sealed it, perfection disintegrated into a million fragments of inadequacy.
As I thought over the events of this day, I wonder how often I have thrown my heart in the trash, buried it among the rubble, refused to allow God to properly bury the dead ugliness & bring forth new life. How often have I thrown others away, broken, bleeding, hurting people that I just discarded on the trash heap?
My next step was to rationalize it.
“It’s okay. I’m fine. Not a big deal. Make sure the kids are okay. Tell them that Caboodle is okay. Talk about it with them. Numb. Stop thinking about it. Don’t admit your mistake. Keep looking perfect. Don’t make any sudden movements someone might see your brokenness.”
This situation was just the catalyst for me to put pen to parchment over the things that have been burdening my heart for weeks now.
Then, God in his infinite wisdom used this beautiful, breathtaking, four year old boy to reassure my heart. Steven said, “Caboodle is okay!” I wanted to wrap him in my arms and snuggle him. Our children are just amazing. They are tiny humans that can think, reason, understand so much of the world, and God can use them in powerful ways. My heart just broke wide open.
The mercy and love Dave and Amy showed me was equally profound. (And, I am just certainly glad no one can see me right now because I am blubbering like an idiot!)
I went to church tonight because I need fellowship and I just LOVE our Revelation Bible Study. I am always compelled by what my pastor has to say. Afterwards, I went for a walk on the Traveling Trail and as I walked around the track listening to Josh Garrels, I noticed how nobody made eye contact. In light of the events of the day, and my hearts weariness and transformation, I began to think, “Why don’t we make eye contact with people?” Is it because we are just too busy in our day or that we fear what people will see reflected in our eyes?
We fear honesty. I remember Derek Webb saying that the best thing that could happen to any of us as believers is that our sins would be aired on the 5 o’clock news. We fight so hard to keep the façade up. We are hurting, have black ugly thoughts, feel lost and vulnerable, and are in deep pain, and the best we can muster is raising our hand when the pastor asks us, “is there any unspokens?”
What would happen if our unspoken became the spoken? What if we quit believing in miracles, and actually saw them tangibly manifest in our lives?
There is a lot of change coming my way. I am equally terrified and overjoyed. No matter how good the change is, we struggle with it. I love my children more than words can capture. I still want to be an integral part of each of their lives. I have been praying that I don’t hurt them, but aid them on this journey.
I love my friend Teresa. She is one of those friends that I can tell a whole lot of ugly too and she doesn’t judge me a bit, but gives me solid foundational advice. When I get all up in my head and the need for perfection, she reminds me to love instead.
All of the facets are working to create a whole. I don’t have it together. I never will. I will say things that hurt. I will say things that heal. My actions want always represent the heart of Christ. My actions will sometimes be the very hands and feet of the Person who sent me.
Christ wants us…not our duty…not our perfection…US!
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
– Ephesians 4: 14-16
8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”…
…13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”
-Ruth 2: 8-9; 13