RESPECT. The word leaves a bitter taste on my tongue and I spit it out like too much salt in cookie dough. What should be the spice and glory of a well-seasoned marriage is, instead, only something I can hope to grasp and one day capture. It’s not the receiving of respect that bothers me so much but the mess I make when trying to give it to the one person I love more than life itself. Have you ever felt that way about something? That one thing that you can never seem to get right? How many times have I spent the morning on my knees begging God to refine me and change my heart, to soften me and to become in tune to the needs of my dear husband? And how many times have I thrown it back in his face with another harsh word or disrespectful glare? Trying and grasping and reaching and pushing so hard to achieve perfection. If you’re like me, and I’m guessing some of you are… then you know that this ideal you hold so fast to, is impossible. And yet we keep running to it, focusing on the quest for perfection as if our very life depends on it. Over and over I fall short, and of course I will, for true perfection is found only in the Life and Person and Godliness of our Lord and Savior.
Funny thing is… it’s my imperfections that keep me clinging to the Cross. Huddled at Jesus’ feet awaiting a fresh touch and His peace, I am thankful for my sinfulness, I am thankful for my need of Him. Yes, I am grateful that I screw up over and over again, needing to depend on Him for my life, my eternal future, and for the mercy He so lovingly bestows time and time again. If I dig deep into the pulsing desires of my soul I see that my quest for perfection is not the root of the issue. Neither is disrespecting my husband. There is something in me that has been growing since I was a little girl. Diseased and twisted, I have allowed it to take root in me and its repercussions are swift and deadly: INSECURITY. A word I hate even more than respect. From the little girl on the playground made fun of for being overweight to the young woman in high school who wasn’t so great at math or sports and the college student who disguised herself as unwanted and unloved, I soaked my insecurities in. Like a ball and chain they have followed me around for too many years.
Like any person trying to become perfect, once I found out how insecure I was and that this was hindering me in relationships and confidence and work, I sat down and made a list of what I could do to become secure. Why? Because I couldn’t stand that my insecurities made me imperfect. Why do I beat myself up every time my husband and I have a disagreement and I disrespect him with my attitude and words? Because I can’t stand that my disrespectful nature makes me imperfect.
I am broken.
And that’s ok.
I’m a bit of a mess.
But grace is a pretty awesome gift.
Jesus says, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29
It is not through perfection that we are saved or brought right with God, is it? No, it is because of our weakness, our imperfections, our insecurities, and our failures that we NEED God. My brokenness leads me to the foot of the Cross to remember why Jesus died.
“But God shows His love for us in this that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
We don’t have to be perfect! And because of God’s unending grace, compassion and mercy, we have life everlasting! I hope this is as encouraging to you as it is to me. I’m sure I will still keep trying to be a better wife, mommy, daughter, sister, friend, and child of God, but it’s so good to know that if I don’t get any closer to “perfection” than where I am today, that’s ok. I have full security in my Savior and what He has done for me and for you. He paid the price of our sins and imperfection and insecurities and removed them as far as the east is from the west. That’s good news.
Live free and secure in your brokenness with me!! You are who God has called you to be.
(Pictures courtesy of Ann Voskamp at www.aholyexperience.com)