I have a war within. The battle is between my old self and the new self. The old self wants to hold onto things of this world. Things like comfort and worldly treasures. Things like dreams of a peaceful life where everything is perfect. I am perfect. I am always happy. I am a perfect mother with lots of energy and I take time to plan wonderful outings with my kids and we make crafts and laugh all the time. I never lose my temper but always sweetly correct them and help them to see the error of their ways to which they respond in sweet voices, “OK, Mommy. I understand.” Then they go on behaving perfectly. The old self holds onto the idea of a perfect home; always clean, sunny, organized, children’s artwork proudly framed, love notes left on the counter, healthy homemade treats waiting to be eaten, delicious smelling foods waiting to be eaten. And of course I have the perfect home in my dreams. I know exactly what the floor plan should be and there is perfect land that this sits on and the breeze always gently blows the curtains and the children always giggle as they run barefoot in the yard and the flower garden always is in bloom. The old self holds onto the dream of being a perfectly attentive wife who always serves, listens to and encourages my husband. He loves me in the dream because well, I am perfect. To make it even sweeter I wrap it all up with a perfect bow. Because special details never escape the attention of the perfect woman.
The new self looks in the mirror and says that’s not real. That’s not how this life works. You are NOT perfect. You CAN’T be perfect. Only God is perfect. He makes you good. He fills you with love for your children and your husband. You must look to God for strength and wisdom. You must look to Him for meaning. When the reality of this sinks in I struggle. I don’t like to not be perfect. In fact I hate it and I fight it. I want to be perfect. I WANT to be perfect. I stomp my feet. I throw little tantrums in my head and sometimes out loud. I whine. I cry, but why not, Lord? Look at me. I am good. I do good things.
Reality always comes knocking when I think life is going well. Actually, life is usually going well. Reality comes knocking when I think I am doing just fine. I tell myself, I am good; I am keeping it all together. I planned meals for the next two weeks. I have the laundry all done and put away. I can do this. I even squeezed in a craft with the kids. Then extra things come up and the laundry gets neglected and I don’t have the energy to pick up the house and I have three lessons to prepare for teaching the little children at church so I don’t have time to do a fun craft with my own kids. I feel stressed by all that is my schedule and all that is my husband’s schedule. I don’t get a break because there are weekend classes for him and Army Reserve drilling and my plans have to be nixed. I am mad. Life isn’t fair. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be! I am not feeling happy, my house isn’t perfectly cleaned, I don’t have time to shop for ingredients for making healthy homemade treats. I don’t feel like dealing with child size drama because I have my own thankyouverymuch.
I am not perfect. My life is not perfect. This makes me mad. This makes me sad. This makes me want to crawl under the covers and pretend it isn’t so. Life isn’t fair I whine to myself. I don’t pray. I don’t get to go to Bible Study and connect with other women and hear encouraging Truth taught because I am in charge of caring for the precious little ones. So I whine about that. I might even throw a little temper tantrum in my mind and in God’s hearing about how that’s not fair either. What about me!? I want to be perfect and if I could just have this or go to this or have a life like so and so then I would be perfect! Don’t you see?!
God loves me. Even when I yell and whine and throw fits. He loves me. He calls me back to Him. He reminds me to pray. Sometimes my prayers are simply cries for help. Help me O God. I know I am wrong. Help me. Help my unbelief. Forgive my selfishness and self-reliance. Change me. I am astonished that He would love me. I see all the inner ugly I have. I don’t understand His ways or why He loves me, but I know it is true. I ask for help and He provides. I needed a reality check. He led me here to a place filled with stories of those who live in poverty. Who have been abused, abandoned, who have hopeless circumstances. I am rebuked. I am changed. I am thankful. God loves me.
Habakkuk 2: 4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
but the righteous shall live by his faith.”