Monday, January 23, 2012

Fearless in the face of perfection

18There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love [a]turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear [b]brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection].
1 John 4:18 (AMP)

When I live in fear I am not fully appreciating the Grace of God.  My failures, my humanity, these are stumbling blocks to me.  They made me miserable for years, not just because they existed, but because of my false expectations.  I made goals that broke and battered.  I desired an outward perfection, though I did not know it at the time. I saw through a haze of my own making. 

Today, in Jesus Calling, I read, "It's all right to be human.  When your mind wanders while you are praying, don't be surprised or upset. Simply return your attention to Me.  Share a secret smile with me, knowing that I understand."  God understands that I am human.  He knows I will fail and He is still waiting there, smiling.  The simplicity of returning my attention to Him, not condemning myself... Powerful words for a still broken woman trying to untangle lies like weeds grown in her heart.  The lie of perfection snares at my heart constantly.  I look at the outward lives of people and compare them to my inward life.  Lies. 

During the summer, my time to refresh and plan, I read a Christian home organization book.  The author seemed very sure of her plan and her system.  She also seemed so very young to me, so wanting to prove herself wise.  Her assertion that she believed God wanted her (and by extension her readers) to be perfect saddened me.  I may drink only water, and cook only organic meals, my laundry may be done, and my pantry organized, but this is not the perfection God calls me to.  He calls me to perfect my love.  So many other things are remedied when I work on perfecting my love.  

Perhaps she read "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48 (ESV) and forgot the previous verses concerning God's love and how we are to love.  I did for years, seeking to be perfect yet crushing love in the process.  Perfect meals, a perfect house, perfect kids.  The ones I loved were hurt as I tried to create perfection in rules and appearances, not in love and heart ties.  

Paul knew about being perfect in rules and laws yet he had to be humbled in the presence of Christ in order to realize his great imperfections. It was then that Paul née Saul began his true life.  My attempts at perfection cause me to become a Saul with clothing at my feet consenting to death according to expectations that I can never satisfy, turning my face from grace.  Timid and unsure, seeking to be intrepid and audacious, I choose fearless love. 

What I am thankful for: 
49. stinky science experiments with Bitsy.
50. the oldest helping the youngest.
51. hot coffee on a cold day.
52. a sweet note from my aunt.
53. friends who pray.
54. Angie, who dropped everything to come pray with us one day.
55. walking with our hands entwined in his coat pocket.
56. God’s Grace that I am reminded of always and in all kinds of places and situations.
57. making our home healthier for my family.
58. his scent on the pillow when I make the bed in the morning.
59. Bitsy in a tree reading a book.
60. Catechism study together.
61. Our little woman (all of 20!) talking and laughing with us, sharing herself more all the time.
62. Grace’s sketching.
63. the Word that drives out fear.
64. cooking together in the kitchen…how any time can become special.
65. beautiful words that fall into my mind and spill across the page.
66. friends who write beauty and heartache and hope and then share.
67. Truth that trumps man-made theology.
68. His gift of love and striving to be perfect in it.
69. God made perfect in my weakness.
70. fearless in love.
71. snow and sunsets.

multitudes on mondays

1 comment:

  1. LOVE this! I so needed to read this today. Thank you for using your gift! It was PERFECT! :)