Grit and Grace–Part Four
After so much of that, I became resentful and angry at others but mostly myself. Why did pleasing people matter so much? Why did approval of others matter and why did I never upset the apple cart when I had every right to? I kept shrinking away while creating this supermom and killing myself to do so. I wanted my husband and kids to think I was amazing, and even though I enjoyed all of my endeavors, my digging uncovered what it cost later in life and more importantly, who and what I lost.
I will humbly say, through grit and grace, I am proud of one thing–I never sold out! My kids came before any parade of ministry and I missed my share of riding on the floats and wearing the right clothes, shoes, purses and jewelry to fit in. I had a bit of a rebellious streak because I saw that fake was not faith and looking the part never meant you had the role.
Still I am sorry and why? My pain was hidden and I suffered in silence without realizing it. I was sincere in wanting to be the best I could be for my family but when you have to be honest with yourself, you have to ask, “Where was my pay-off in that?” Seeing my kids happy or proud was of course my real motivation but I wanted also to impress others with my Super-mom image. It was the parenting voice and style of the nineties and we didn’t have Pinterest for help, thank God! But this cape-wearing image was it and I not only drank the Kool-aid, I made it, added fruit and cute straws for each hand-crafted cup!
Whatever damage I did trying to be perfect was done to myself but others always get the overflow. What did I miss? I missed so much time and sleep! But had I thought less about that and more about who I was in God, I could’ve missed some shoveling in the valley of endless self-loathing and guilt for not living up to my expectations and discovered that God saw me much differently. I finally had to take a hard look in a magnifying mirror and it still unveils flaws … old, new, and re-useable. BUT NOW I know that it’s just okay as long as my pursuit is the right one. My pursuit was to believe that God could love me and I didn’t have to try so darn hard to earn it!
I am assured HIS GRACE IS AMAZING because this I know, I have been through enough to bury most people but thankfully, I loved God enough to run after Him. I fell down along the way but He still saw that I was on my quest for Him. I made mistakes I wish a delete button could erase. Yet, some of those mistakes led me to the bottom where “the least of these” live and I saw my rags and homelessness and who I really was ... just a sinner saved by grace.
From that point, love and compassion finally took root and began to grow. I saw as Jesus did–how hurt people are and why they are. We’re really like those little children with the tender hearts that get picked last to be on the team. You never forget those bus rides home because someone whispered and said you weren’t good enough and you believed them ... and so it begins. There always has to be someone that speaks the truth and that voice is LOVE and it drowns out any other voice! WE MUST BE THAT VOICE! We don’t need to showcase love but rather just show it by being it!
God’s love is so GREAT that you can’t remember the lie. You just remember the one who soothed the wound and told you how wonderful you were for more reasons than your skills in kickball.
What you do is an outgrowth of love but it’s not all about doing but rather being who you simply are. You are good. You are kind. You won’t hurt people because you care. You want people to feel better. You have compassion. You want to end suffering, not be the cause of it. You are like your Father. He is the only one to please and when you fail to please people, it hurts less because you know you tried and God gives you an A for effort! Maybe I was just okay this time. Maybe my work wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was good enough. I tried and I am trying but my motive is just different. I try because Love is! Now, it doesn’t matter if I’m noticed and it really never did. I just wanted to be loved. Don’t we all? Look at the list that describes what love is and tell me a person who doesn’t want it or need it? We say we’re disciples and if so, then we are the people to love others completely, honestly and purely even if there’s no reciprocation … never giving up because LOVE NEVER FAILS!
One day, people may not have much to say about my accomplishments but I hope and pray they will describe the way I made them feel and it is from a pure and honest place wanting nothing but people to see themselves through God’s lens where they’ve been retouched but by His grace and glory that overwhelms the flaws that others like pointing out. Do not believe what they say! They don’t know you like your Father does! He has a “brag book” with your name on it!
I’m in pursuit more than ever and on that quest now. I’m not interested in being superhuman, to please or impress people, gain approval, or live up to some persona I fashioned myself just to feel good enough. I lost myself there. I found myself on a long bus ride home.
This time I heard the whisper “you are good enough because you belong to me.” Everything from there starts with what’s most simple that Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.” (AMP)
This is my pursuit. The story? To be continued …