As I was walking out of the door this afternoon to camp out at my favorite coffee shop, my husband looked up at me and asked, “Are you wearing that shirt?” I responded with an affirmative excuse that it was in case I got cold, which was not entirely false.
The truth is, I love this baggy denim shirt. I wear it often, mostly to sleep, and the moment I put it on I feel instantly comfortable. It is cozy, familiar, and the perfect compromise when the weather is too warm for a sweater but the breeze a bit too cool for short sleeves. It is many lovely things, but it is not the sort of thing that looks fashionable over my floral sundress. What was pretty and modestly fitted has now turned into a bulk of fabric draped over a rather small frame. I went from looking like a person wearing a dress, to a person drowning in denim and floral. It is not exactly the demise I had in mind, nor was it in the mind of my husband apparently. Alas, here I sit in my roomy shirt like a fashion-less frump drinking a delightful honey cinnamon latte; comfortable but convicted.
I am often thinking and praying about what my weekly post should entail. In general, it doesn’t take much to come up with an impression or topic I feel like discussing, but sometimes the process is painful both to experience and to watch. There are weeks where I review my first draft and scrap all of it, staring at my computer screen as though Cortana will magically start to type something brilliant without me. This has been one of those weeks.
It is much easier to be honest and real about the topics with which I am comfortable. Much like my beloved denim shirt, there are a number of stories and experiences I am happy to share openly. They are funny, painful, and (hopefully) beneficial without sacrificing vulnerability, but they are neither gritty nor raw. Much like this bulky button up, I present them when I would rather not reveal the shape or substance of which I am made, when I would rather fly under the radar so to speak, or most accurately when I want to maintain a level of control. It is within this context that the Holy Spirit gently applies a finger of pressure on the closed off closets in my heart, those places that feel too raw to bring to light. There is the truest of reminders within this gentle revelation: healing comes with the light.
This week has been full of irritability that I cannot explain apart from the candid admission that I am a selfish, prideful, and finicky human being. It would be more accurate to say that I have been drowning in a sea of anxiety and irrational fear rather than wrestling with worry. I would like to blame hormones, because admittedly they are powerful influencers in mood and behavior, but in my individual circumstance hormones fail to negate my utter lack of self-control. Perhaps I sound too harsh towards myself at this moment and you are tempted to think in your most southern of accents, “Oh honey, you are not that bad. You have a lot on your plate! Anyone would have these moments!” Should that be the case for you, let me sincerely thank you for your grace but kindly refute the above exceptions to my dragon-like behavior and thought life in recent days.
Let me slip off the comfortable persona with her limits on just how vulnerable she will be, and with a ragged breath express my great need for the Gospel. It is not enough to share lessons I am learning as though I have mastered them, nor is it a service to make much of my shortcomings as a woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend in a self-deprecating way that makes you feel tremendously better as a human being. I am no master and I am certainly flawed, but I am held together by a beautiful, masterful, flawless Jesus.
On days where I have done very little but slap the face of Christ as I take for granted His sweet grace towards me, He still opens wide his arms and calls me home. When I have lost it in a full-fledged panic, chucked faith by the wayside, and clung to the illusion of control at everyone else’s expense, He has remained faithful, gentle, and patient. He has not altered in His love nor His pursuit of me. His mercy has not been depleted, nor has His compassion burned out. This is not to say there have not been unpleasant consequences of my behavior; it is to say that He has been faithful to walk with me even in the midst of repercussions.
Friend, there is nothing you have ever done, are doing, or will do that is outside of the realm of God’s sufficient grace. He is not a harsh task-masker waiting to beat you upside the head when you return, but a Prodigal Father who longs to wrap His arms around you with an all-encompassing, unconditional love that heals even the deepest of wounds and the most stubborn of struggles. In His economy, nothing is wasted. In His kingdom, no one is irredeemable.
This week, may we slip off that comfortable, controlled covering and come home.