This is going to start off with a joke shamelessly stolen from one of those funny lists that someone very funny writes and gets no credit for:
"I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay."
I'll wait for you to stop laughing. Unless you don't think it is funny...but then, if you don't laugh at stuff like that, how are you still reading my blog? My sense of humor is best described as middle school. I am so excited that I now get to share my humor with my high school daughters who laugh at me and reassure me they hear much worse at school and it isn't always funny. Their respect for me has only shifted slightly...I think.
The real meat of this post is that I have decided to set some very simple goals for myself. I am tired of beating myself up and never living up to the expectations of perfection I have for myself. It is depressing. As I get older, I like myself more and other people less. I don't necessarily think this is a good thing, but I know it is a fact. I also really prefer to keep company with people who really like me, laugh at my jokes and 'get' me. This little change in my life has led to much joy. It is so much more fun to hang out with people who think you rock than it is too hang out with people who shush you, get embarrassed because of you and look down their noses at your 'failure' to grow up. AND YES, at least 70% of those people are Christians. BUT, not ALL Christians are like that!! There are a whole bunch of us who don't take ourselves too seriously. We enjoy life and know full well we can only hope for forgiven with a huge side of mercy...perfect is not on our to-do list.
All of that to say this...I am still GUILT driven. I am aware of it and I am making great strides toward getting over myself. BUT, I feel like a total hypocrite in most church settings. There are some Christians that it is just plain dangerous for me to be around. My inner critic begins to find them perfect and then starts making a list of all the ways I am not and then...I hate them with a consuming jealousy. Then I repent and remind myself I should be more sanctified by now. I must love them with the LOVE OF THE LORD. But, honestly, it is easier for me to love a cussing, drunken chicken hawk man than Christians sometimes. I include myself in that Christian status...cause I am one.
We just miss it so often. We miss it. In our quest to raise perfect children and lead perfect lives, we miss it. In our drive to study the word, have our quiet time, save the world, and share the good news...we miss it. We are to be a reflection of Christ. Christ who ATTRACTED multitudes because of His JOY. His deep, sincere, radiating LOVE of PEOPLE. ALL PEOPLE, but especially sinners, lepers and tax collectors which would be translated to modern day as bitches, hos, aids victims and addicts. In fact, the Christians of His day did not like him because he spent too much time with sinners. Does this mean Jesus would spend more time in a tavern than a church?? I think so...but don't stretch it too far...He would not be drunk and singing Mister Bojangles with the Karaoke machine. But, he would love people right where they are. He doesn't actually get into the mud and roll around in it with us, but he doesn't mind getting some of our mud on him. In fact, it is that very mud that he died for.
All of that to say this, my focus is going to shift. I am going to quit trying to hold myself to an impossible standard. I will no longer measure the quality of my day by whether I was the perfect supermom and submissive wife. Instead I will talk to Jesus more, laugh more, and do my very best to yell less. My hope is that I will not harbor so much resentment and stress because I am constantly cracking under the pressure of perfection.
Because, if I am really honest with myself, on my most perfect 'Christian ideal' day, I am not attracting anyone to learn more about the good news of Christ's redemption plan. AND, I am passing on a stronghold of 'living a perfect life' to my children. AND too often living a perfect life looks and feels alot more like living a perfect lie which translates into a boatload of guilt. AND, I know there is no condemnation in the Lord because he keeps sending me that scripture...(Romans 8:1)
*from a good and trusted friend who prayed it over me
*in a daily devotional book
*handed to me by two dear Christian friends who would love to see me delivered from my guilt
*spoken from the stage at a Women of Faith conference
Thank you GOD for being so patient with me, a slow learning, guilt crippled sinner seen through your eyes as PERFECTION. PRAISE GOD!