Friday, September 11, 2015

Produce Maneater

I got into a fight with Siri yesterday. Sometimes Siri is the enemy, and I am on the war path to defeat her.

I ordered her to look up Perdue Exterminating.




Perdue. EXTERMINATOR.



Oh my g...are you really serious right now? PERDUE. EXTERMINATOR.



PERDUEPERDUEPERDUEPERDUE!!!!! I was like screaming at my phone. There is a chance other drivers may have wondered about me.



I...sigh.

My daughter recently delivered a letter to me informing me, among other things, that I needed to work on, and I quote "being a little less type A" and also that I should work on "not expecting perfection from everyone because no one is perfect". And also she wrote "I'm VERY annoyed with you right now."

I later gave her a rebuttal in the form of a letter with many PS's attached to it, informing her that yes, I recognize I am type A. And PS I don't expect perfection. I don't expect good. I expect excellent.

I'm currently reading Jen Hatmaker's book "For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards".

Man, we are tough on one another, starting with ourselves. 
When Jesus said to "love your neighbor as yourself," I don't think He meant judgmentally; 
but that is exactly how we treat our own souls, so it bleeds out to others. 
Folks who thrive in God's grace give grace easily, but the self-critical person becomes others-critical. We "love" people the way we "love" ourselves, and if we aren't good enough, then no one is. 
{jen hatmaker}

And I gulped. Looked around the room to see if I could be distracted by something else other than the guilt that was threatening to swallow me alive. Looked back at her words, so true and leaping from the page. "If we aren't good enough, then no one is."

I struggle with perfection. This is old news. I will freely admit my quest for the unattainable. Hello, beauty. I want all of you. Come to mama, all you gorgeous rooms a la Restoration Hardware. Join me at my address for a rendez-vous, for you are the perfect marriage of rustic and glam. And I want you to make me perfect, too.

I am a complex person full of opposing thoughts and opinions all contained in one brain. Sometimes I don't even make sense and I contradict my own self, which makes perfect sense to me. A person like this can only also have a complex personality that cannot be described by any textbook or wikipedia page. Am I Type A with Type B tendencies? Or is it the other way around? There is no label I can slap on, no bar code identifying me as number 109 out of 2794 available models. I should be proud of this, the fact that my individuality shines through, and yet I continue to search for that stamp of approval, that final piece of furniture, that mascara that will declare to the masses, "finally! I have found perfection".

The search for perfection is like running on a treadmill. You run for an exhausting 5, 15, 20 miles and stay in the same place. Perfection does not exist.

So as I sit here and reflect on the last two days of living my life, I find that instead of living my life abundantly and with love and enjoyment, I have engaged Siri, my daughter, and myself in a fight. A fight for perfection. A fight for independence. A fight against lunacy. (Siri, I'm looking at you.) And when fighting this many battles, a girl's attention is understandably fractured. Too many fires for one firewoman to handle all on her own.

And I'm fighting all the wrong enemies.

See, as long as we are distracted, we are useless. We are just too busy being mad and upset to focus on what the real fight is about. I have been distracted by pursuing this idea of perfection, and getting mad at myself when the perfection I desire cannot be realized. Enemy. I get mad at my kids when they don't act the way I think they should be acting. Enemy. I get mad at my husband when he doesn't say what I think he should say. Enemy. But instead of fighting each other, we could be fighting on the same side, for the same cause, because truly. We are in this life together.

"I wish you were more Type B," she said to me later. "Then you'd be more laid back."

While laid back is definitely not my style, I can see where she's coming from. We are a nation, city, church, and family crippled by our inability to see each other as partners, not adversaries. We are much more likely to get mad than to unite. And it's partly because our attention is splintered, each of us trying to put out our own fires the best we know how, and none of us recognizing that the war has already been won.

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
{mark 3:25}

It's a pretty simple equation, really. God fills me with love, and I in turn show love to others.

And by filling me with His love, God completes me, and I find my total security in Him. I stop looking to other people and beauty and perfection to fill me up, because I'm filled to overflowing with His love. In that completeness, I don't need anything else. I can let go of the need for approval and worry over what other people think and the desire for perfection. And I can pursue life with a passion, because I know I am in need of nothing, and that love and passion then has room to seep out, to overflow it's boundaries, to spill over into other people's lives, too.

Hurt people hurt people. That's what my pastor always says. And it's true.

Well, then.

If hurt people hurt people, then loved people must love people. And I want to love well.

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