How in the world has it been so long since I've posted anything on this blog?! The amount of time between entries might be attributed to medical concerns, busy schedule, lack of available writing time, holidays, or whatever excuse comes to mind, but the truth is, I haven't written because I haven't wanted to. I've been somewhat depressed lately for various reasons, and I haven't felt like being cheerful and upbeat and coherent for my next post. Let me explain….
Do any of y'all feel depressed around the holidays? I've heard that statistics are through the roof about the suicide rate, alcoholism, and drug abuse during what should be the most festive season of our whole year. One would think someone who attends church faithfully, teaches in a Christ-centered school, hears God's Word on a regular basis, and surrounds himself with godly people would have no problem keeping his eyes on Christ for daily uplifting, no matter the time of year. In a perfect world, this would be so. But none of us live in a perfect world with perfect spouses and perfect children who get perfect grades and have perfect behavior records. Not one of us has a perfect house or perfect job or perfect, Barbie-esque figures; we don't have perfect teeth or perfect hair or present perfect appearances. I know for a fact my cute little fur ball doggie isn't perfect---I regularly have to clean up after her when she decides going outside to relieve herself is just too much work. (Side note: Thursday night, I took the garbage can to the street for the following day's pickup. Peanut [aforementioned dog] accompanied me, intent on exploring any previously unmarked territory. I completed my task as quickly as possible and turned to call her. She had disappeared behind the neighbor's car, parked in their driveway. When I rounded the back of their car in search of my errant dog, I discovered her "doing her business" next to the back tire of their vehicle. In their driveway! And #2, not just #1, which might have some chance of drying overnight and thus being undetected by said neighbor. Stupid dog! I had to go through the back gate, struggle to latch it, pick my flashlight-aided way along the side of the house around the corner to the back door, shoo my dog inside before closing and bolting the door, and then make my way---armed with paper towels---out the front door and over to the neighbor's driveway where I squatted down and carefully cleaned up the deposits my "man's best friend" had left for the poor, unsuspecting neighbors. I certainly hope no one was watching right then because I'm sure I looked like some creepy sort of stalker! End of side note.)
My point is this: I am not perfect. Does this come as a surprise to anyone? You are not perfect. I don't think there are many people in the world who would even claim to be close to perfect. God Himself tells us, "There is none righteous, no, not one." And He goes even further than that when He says all our "righteousness" is as filthy rags. (Think: dog poo-covered paper towels!) I'm pretty sure we're all in agreement that none of us is perfect, right?
So, why, then, are we so bent on achieving perfection? Why do we try so hard to reach the impossible? Why do we set ourselves up for failure by striving for that which, until Heaven, is out of our reach? And why, then, do we berate ourselves so bitterly when we fail? Why do we chastise ourselves and criticize ourselves when we repeatedly show that we are, indeed, human?
The more spiritual among us would wish to answer that we strive for perfection because we wish to be like God, and I would agree. We should try our utmost to be like our Heavenly Father in every way. But, in my life, I know the answer to the question posed is a different one. And….the answer is quite telling. I try so hard to be perfect because I don't want to admit I'm not. I don't want to admit I'm not perfect because I want to be perfect already. And, I want to be perfect already because I don't want to have to wait for God to make me perfect. I want it now. I want perfection now because I don't want to have to admit day after day, hour after hour, life event after life event, that I NEED GOD. I need Him. I am only complete through Him and with Him in control. Do you see? If I can do everything perfectly on my own, then I'm not as hopeless a sinner as I really am. If I can achieve perfection right now, then I don't need God as desperately as I really do. It's simply a matter of pride, isn't it? My desire to be perfect has nothing to do with being like God; it has everything to do with living my life without God. I want to be in control.
Somehow, I have created a fictional world where I am in charge and everything and everyone around me flourishes. In my fantasy, I am perfect and do all things perfectly: I am a perfect wife and mother and teacher and friend and daughter and sister and caregiver and cook and housekeeper and grocery shopper and meal planner and so on and so forth. I believe that if I were just perfect, everything around me would be perfect. I would have perfect kids and a perfect husband and a perfect job and perfect students and a perfect house that was perfectly clean. Nothing would be amiss in my perfect world because I would be the center and I would be perfect. And, in my thinking, since I obviously don't live in a perfect world with a perfect life and perfect children, then I am to be blamed for not being that perfect center.
If God Himself doesn't expect perfection, why do we demand it of ourselves? I have admitted that my desire to be perfect stems from my desire not to have to depend on God for daily stability and guidance. It took a lot of thinking and honesty and prayer to reach that point where I was willing to confess my pride. But confession, though good for the soul, doesn't change my thinking. Constant contact with my Father does. Talking with God (prayer) and listening to Him talk to me (reading my Bible) will change my wrongful thinking and help me be a better person. This will, in turn, make me more like Christ….Who is, remember, perfect! Eventually, I will get my wish and be just like my Heavenly Father. For now, I will strive to be as close to Him in prayer and Bible reading and actions as I---humanly---can.
Please continue to pray for Dale as he struggles with trusting God with His life, too. Dale is always willing to talk about his trust issues, but God is still working on his heart to help Dale see how much He loves him. Dale has good days and bad days physically, but we all keep plugging away and doing our best to help him. He's up-to-date in his school work so far, and I'm kind of excited about finishing this year (I know we're only through the first semester!) and looking ahead at his senior year. God is always good, even when we forget to remember that. It's wonderful to know that God doesn't have good days and bad days; He is a steady, solid Rock that we can always lean on.
Have a wonderful 2016! God bless you!
Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."