Friday, February 25, 2005

Untitled and Disjointed Thoughts on Christian Life

I just spent an hour browsing amongst the blogs of various women, some of whom I know personally, some I have never met before, but whose links were posted on the blogs of those that I know. There are a lot of intelligent women out there with thoughtful things to say. Some of them make me feel like a mental midget with a soul a mile wide and an inch deep.

I truly admire women who aspire to be Proverbs 31 women and who love their husbands, children, and homes. They work diligently in their callings and homeschool creatively. They are the unsung heroines of the nations who will one day be the "older women" that so many of them feel are lacking in the church at large.

If I ever end up being an "older woman" it will likely be an accident. I feel so deficient in so many areas that it seems like it would be the height of arrogance, not to mention self-deception to say that I aspire to be one. I saw a slogan once that nicely expressed what my life is most likely to be: "It could be that your main purpose in life is to serve as an example of what not to do."

One of the things that I greatly appreciate in others is transparency. I like being able to relate to other humans who are human and I like being human with them. But not everyone appreciates this. It is sad, really. One of the greatest ironies of Christian life is that those with whom we are like-minded in important areas like the Faith are often people with whom we have no other thing in common. Sometimes trying to be open and honest in that sort of situation is an invitation to be criticized, rebuked, and reproached.

I had a conversation with another mother the other day who was sharing some of her struggles with her small children. I had just had a battle royal with some unnamed teens complete with high drama on their part, and , I am proud to say, a total lack of drama on my part, much to their disappointment. However, as I shared a bit of what she might have to look forward to, I was aware of a definite change in body language and facial expression that came over her. I wanted to ask, "Ok, what's going on with you?" but knew it would be no use. I also knew what was more than likely going through her head. "My kids will NEVER act like that !" Transparency didn't get me very far with her, at least not now. I am an inept mother in the eyes of many. But maybe in the future when she is experiencing trials with hormonal teens she will remember that if anyone could relate to her, it might be me.

People who are outside the church like to complain that those who are in it are often hypocrites. This is certainly true. Sometimes the hypocrisy is just straight sin, and sometimes it is an unintentional side effect of trying not to get squashed by others' size 12 boots. The church is composed of all kinds of people in various stages of growth spiritually. Some of them have achieved a remarkable level of maturity, others think they have achieved it, and some know they don't have it. There are those with less maturity and a view of life "the way it's s'posed to be" who have little to no tolerance of anything that is less perfect than their picture. And so, in an effort to a) avoid stumbling them before reality sets in, and b) a desire for self-preservation, we will often hide our true struggles from each other so that we don't get broadsided by those with all the answers.

One of my own personal paradoxes is that the less sure I feel about having all the answers, and the more I realize my own innate helplessness, the more the Lord seems to grow my faith. Life isn't the way I imagined it would be when I was younger. I have not achieved the level of success, or else success looks a lot different than what I expected it would. Sanctification has not manifested as an increasing sense of "arriving," but instead as a need every moment of the day to say, "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner."

I'm not even sure how to measure success any more. Just Somebody, get me across the Finish Line even if its in last place.

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