Monday, September 23, 2013

The one answer when things don't seem to line up...

I stop on a Saturday morning and breathe it deep.  I'm up way earlier than I would like to be.  Nothing can stop the internal clock.  Still it feels good to not wake up to an alarm.  The roommate was up before me and the dishes are clean and the kitchen shines.  Tiny Companion and I head out for an adventure... because I have time!  And the gift list grows.

Dew dampened grass
Clearest blue sky

Golden light that hints of coming autumn

Asia exploring freely

And a perfect cool morning

So I breathe it all deep.  Not preparing and bracing myself for the day.  Just smiling long and breathing deep.  I settle in with pages and am reminded that life is dessert and I've forgotten, but God created life with this gracious rhythm of work and rest so we might remember.  I exhale thanks for all this and life slows beautifully down.  

And then in the same day, there is the moment where you go to zip up your dress and you realize that it doesn't fit, and you have gained so much more weight than you thought (or lost so much less?) and a woman's sense of her own beauty is often so fleeting.  And you wonder if there's even a point to all the working out and watching what you eat and everything in you starts screaming (again) that familiar chorus of "Not Enough!" And you can feel the insecurity rising and the leaning toward the rushing and the noise and you wonder what the answer is and if the battle will ever end.  And the gift list is still sitting on the table and just turn a page back in the journal to find words about thanksgiving and the graciously good heart of Father God.  And it's not that life and God are not good... just maybe I'm not good?  

And I sigh frustrated.  Always the forgetter.  And the battle against that inner monologue is fierce.  I thought I had long conquered the demons of perfectionism, but then they rear their ugly heads again and I am bound tight.  The words escape my lips before I have time to think about it and censor them:  All I want is to be perfect - the perfect teacher, the perfect co-worker, the perfect friend, the perfect woman for him, the perfect Christian - is that really so much to ask?

You have my full permission to laugh.  It's good medicine.  It helps us to see how tightly the fists have been clenched.  Laughing at ourselves forces us to exhale and see the lies for what they are.  So there is this:  I am weak.  I will never be perfect.  But I'm asking this: Can I, like Paul, look at my weakness and call it grace?  Can I boast in weakness and thank God for the thorn in the flesh and these messengers of Satan who speak lies but drive me back to seek Truth?  

In a way I haven't in a long time, I am wrestling with grace and freedom and God's heart toward me.  I love to talk about it.  God's love and goodness and faithfulness.  But to try and line that up with the weakness I feel in my heart and see in the mirror?  So hard!  Can He really look on this mess and see beauty?  Can He really walk with me day by day and not grow weary?  And my heart leaps within and praise dances behind my lips because the answer is - and in Christ ALWAYS is - YES!  He is God.  He can do that!  And it's back to the Sanity Manifesto again - marveling in the mystery of a freedom and love and grace and redemptive work I can't even wrap my mind around. And my response is "amen" to His glory.

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