Thursday, February 16, 2012

Escaping Perfect

Sometimes I read to escape.  Other times I watch T.V. to escape.  There are even days I get so desperate that I clean my house to escape. And my life's not bad.  Not at all.  Married to an amazing man of God.  Mother to two healthy boys.  Living in a safe, warm house.  Eating good food.  Sleeping in a cozy bed.  Wearing untattered clothes... except for my socks.  I'm pretty sure I don't have a pair left without holes in them.

All that said, I have every reason to be contented and fulfilled; yet there is something about the enormity of my daily decisions that scares me, overwhelms me really.  How the way I spend my days now has a profound impact on the lives of my children, my husband, my friends, my neighbors, my community...for good or for evil.  How God has given us a massive task: Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.  And He asks for my complete trust and total obedience in response.  The perfectionist in me can't begin to grapple with all this.

I guess this is the point in my life where I need to accept less than perfect so I can give more than nothing.  If you've never been a perfectionist, that last line may not make sense; but for all of us on the inside, you know what I mean.  Not starting something you know you can't finish well.  Not trying because you're not sure you can do it perfectly.  So I do nothing and use any means necessary to escape doing the right thing because I know I'll never do it right enough.  I mean, all our good works are like filthy rags, right?

I've been reading the book of James and once again have been reminded that though my salvation is completely through the grace of God and through no works of my own (Ephesians 2:8-9) my faith is not effective unless it is accompanied by works.  My love for Jesus is not real to my children unless they hear me speak words of patience and love (even if it is tough love) in all circumstances.  My passion for missions isn't expressed by a quarterly check but daily through my prayers for those on the mission field and those within my mission field (even those next door). My job is not just to keep this house clean and feed my family but to surrender every moment, every action to God as an act of worship, however feeble that offering might be.  Sure, I can keep going through the motions, doing all the "right things" while being bound from more by fear of failure.  But I don't want to do that anymore.

Maybe, just maybe, as I surrender to living out of love, the fear of failing in my spheres of influence will fade.  As I give up on being the perfect wife, I'll find more ways to love my husband well, as he needs to be loved.  As I release myself from the burden of needing to raise perfect children, I'll serve and encourage my children to walk in the Light, no matter how crazy that walk might look to this world. As I allow myself to be changed from within... controlled by the King, perhaps my friends and neighbors will have the rare opportunity to glimpse less of me and more of Jesus.  Less of me, the perfectionist.  More of Jesus, the perfect Lover of my soul.

Pray for me, friends.  I know this is a journey taken one step at a time.  One grace moment after another lifted up as an act of worship through thanksgiving.  And so I continue...

126. A friend calling for carpet cleaner.  Joining hands in the nitty gritty of life.
127. A new cozy sweater.
128. Feeling beautiful... in a dressing room.
129. Twirling.  A rare opportunity for me in a house of boys.
130. Soft plaid flannel.  Love hugging a man in flannel.
131. Snuggling as we read about Elmer the elephant.
132. Hearing "Mama" from my baby, over and over again.
133. Squares of chocolate... dark chocolate.
134. A jealous baby... a good reminder that there's more than enough love to go around.
135. Daddy washing my dishes tonight.
136. Mom snuggling my baby.
137. Babies learning to crawl and walk down the rows of library shelves during our regular Wednesday morning invasion.
138. My big boy demonstrates patience, waiting for a reward.  Life is his classroom.
139. A new friend who listens and shares and keeps me grounded.
140. Playing Guess Who? for the thousandth time.
141. My little boys LOVE for music.

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