It’s 1 am. I’m replaying the events of the previous day and I’m wracked with regret. It’s the ordinary being unveiled again. My ordinary day that was filled with extraordinary blessings, moments and grace was taken over by my character issues. How can I ditch this disappointment that I created?
The house always wins. This is how I’ve been approaching things – which would be fabulous if I was actually walking in a way that THE House (as in God’s house) always takes priority over everything I say and do. A small measure of success would be achieved even if I had a mindset that “the house” meant that working in harmony took precedence. Either of these would lead to much less angst in my actual house in the middle of the night.
Instead of magnanimous living, I’ve been living in magnanimosity. Yes, I made up that word – you can’t even imagine what ridiculous words are finding their way into the dictionaries these days. Maybe this one has a shot at fame? But I digress.
Living in grand thoughts but acting in ways contrary to peace and love and kindness. That’s how I see magnanimosity. I’ve been acting so that “the house” means my needs, my goals and me. How did I get this selfish?
It’s ridiculous to think that I was the recipient of some colossal parenting failures that caused this selfishness. There are two main issues with this – I’m way too old to blame my parents; and my parents are pretty wonderful. I’m far too blessed to even consider that I’m a victim, except maybe of my own devices. So, I’m left with the nagging task ahead of me – to dig a little deeper into this “nag” and hopefully gallop off without a hitch.
When the kids were little, I was all over teaching them to share and be kind – most of all, whenever possible and almost always to be gentle (even when playing swords with sticks). What went wrong? It’s like these words of wisdom rained all over the lawn except where I was standing, leaving me perched on a patchy part of grass wondering what went wrong. Not with those around me but with me. How did I manage to cultivate unkindness in my own heart while I was blathering on about being sweet and gentle?
Banning internal noise. Romans 7 flashes like lightning in my heart during these midnight moments of internal noise. The sorrow and lament and condemning thoughts wag their fingers at me.
I don’t understand what I do. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. I want to do what is good, but I can’t. I don’t do the good things I want to do. I keep on doing the evil things I don’t want to do… What a terrible failure I am!
How do I escape the never ending cycle of sin? It’s not like laundry where I can throw my insides into the washer, and after a good solid wash and rinse cycle, come out smelling fresh and new. Or is it? I’m pretty sure it’s not like my actual laundry that gets forgotten in the washer (because I have more pressing matters to attend to) until the unmistakable musty smell of wet laundry wafts down the hallway. Folly vs. follow through is a pretty obvious conclusion here.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23-24)
This is where the washing begins. I’m not going to spray air freshener on my character and desperately hope that no one notices my issues. I want to ditch these disappointments properly. Not dismiss them for that would open the possibility of hardening my heart. To glibly say that everyone makes mistakes is to deny culpability. Rather, I want to actually ditch regrets – walk forward, leaving them behind, but aware of the missteps that I made so that I can hopefully make less detours in my route. A proper wash is what I’m looking for.
I think this is why we have to walk by faith. I’m pretty sure I would trip a ton, even more than I already do, if I saw ahead to exactly where I needed to be. Knowing my propensity for progress, I’d try to run so fast past the ordinary to the extraordinary, that I would end up flat on my face. I know this, because I’ve tried this before. Not recommended, trust me. Athleticism aside, there are varying reasons and seasons that require different paces.
Deliberate steps, sure paths require reflection. Unfortunately, a mirror is often involved in these reflection times. Positive thinking and cheerful self talk is not the cure. No amount of makeup can cover the sins that we see in the mirror if we’re truly honest. But do we have to flog ourselves out of the fog?
Nope. Nada. No, no, no!
One of the songs that I’ve written in the last while says, “Just one touch, I will be free with just one touch”. I penned the lyrics thinking of the woman at the well, the woman who pushed through the crowds to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment and especially of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume.
Sinful and broken, healed, and thankful. She who has been forgiven much loves much. That’s them and that’s me. I’m broken, flawed, and definitely a work in progress. Yet every single time I ask God for forgiveness, He forgives me. I walk forward in forgiveness. I’m forgiven and free. I don’t get it. No amount of higher education can help me fully grasp this. It seems so beyond generous. How can He keep forgiving me? Not one day goes by where I don’t mess up and yet He still forgives me? That’s what real Love looks like.
This House always wins. True Love wins my heart every time. What I want to see when I look in the mirror is someone who loves as much as she has been loved.
When everyone else wakes up, there are a few things I do need to do. Hug my husband and ask him if there’s anything he needs me to do for him today. Then, I’m going to make sure that I give my son the rest of my favourite candy to have in his lunch (after I say sorry for refusing to share.) Then, I’m going to hug another one and apologize for trying to slam-dunk my opinions over his. Not that I was wrong, because I’m pretty sure I was right but because I wasn’t being a good listener. Yes, I’m aware that there may be more mirror work ahead. Then, I’ll make sure to make that trip to the store to get that thing that I said I was going to pick up. I’ll text a friend and apologize for saying something I shouldn’t. But before I do that, the very first thing I am going to do is to say thank you to God. For His Love, for His lavish patience with me, and for holding my hand every day.
So I pray for all of us – that we would unveil the ordinary and ditch the disappointments. But mostly, I hope with all my heart that we run to be forgiven and free. That we embrace that lavish Love and then promptly hug each other. We need it. Life is hard. We’re in this together. That’s how the house really wins.
(c) 2015 06 16 Sandra Foster, Ranenpur