I love a clear morning after a night of steady rain. The world looks like it has been washed clean. I particularly enjoy seeing my flowers as the sun comes out and they stretch out, energized by their soaking nourishment. As much as I water my plants, they always seem stronger when God does the watering. When I stand there with my hose, I get bored or distracted and probably move on to the next container or flower bed before they have had their fill. A long, deep drink of water takes time and I am an often impatient gardener.
I saw a link this week on Facebook that caught my eye. A friend referred us to a blog entry entitled "The Disease Called Perfection" and I was moved by what I read. I'll let you read it for yourself but, suffice it to say, I could definitely relate. The comments generated by the author's challenge to be "real" numbered well over 4,000 the last time I looked. I read a few pages of them and they broke my heart with their desperation and hopelessness. Person after person in bondage to their inability to overcome the parts of themselves that they hated and too ashamed to reach out for support. Many expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be "real" and to discover that they weren't alone in their struggles to be a better version of themselves. The fact that almost 5,000 people commented and well over 100,000 people have recommended the post to others speaks volumes about the universality of this issue. We live in a broken, hurting world and we are unable to fix that brokenness or fix ourselves.
As I have continued to think about what I read and the ways in which I can personally relate, it became increasingly clear to me that it is for this reason that Jesus came. This shame, this brokenness, this helplessness to change ourselves and the isolation we feel as we pretend to have it all together...this is the very human condition that makes the Good News such very good news.
On my own, I struggle to change enough of my bad habits and stupid choices to "clean up nice" for company. If I can look like I have it all together...that my house is perfect, my marriage is perfect, my children are perfect, my church life is perfect...then perhaps noone will suspect the areas where I struggle to keep my head above water or the issues which threaten to rob me of peace.
In Christ, by contrast, I can choose to remember what scripture says about Who God is and who I am in Him. In Christ, I can hold firm to the promise that the good work begun in me WILL be carried on to completion...not by my own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit within me. In Christ, I am reminded that God sees me as holy and forgiven. I am His precious child and He delights in me, sings over me and rejoices over me. He will continue to work in me to transform me into the image of Christ and I can do all things through Him who gives me the strength. Whatever my struggles, He will never leave me or forsake me. There is no condemnation in Christ. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free and we no longer have to be slaves to that which has formerly kept us in bonds of shame and despair. Whatever it is, whatever the struggle, we are more than conquerors through Him who LOVES us!
Some days I forget all that. Some days, I can get bogged down in the frustration of my humanity, my "so not perfectness." Some days I put on a happy face and pretend. Yet, more and more often, as I remember His promises to me, I choose to believe Him instead of the world. His mercies are new every morning, but I must drink deeply to reap the benefits. I have to return to the well of His Word often and linger there a while. In God's time, His will for me unfolds and I see the fruit of His tender care. I am so grateful that someone shared that good news with me. In case you hadn't heard, this good news is for you as well. His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.