Chasing Contentment

Wednesday, May 25

It's often said that confession is good for the soul. I think we often use that excuse to tell things we shouldn't be telling to people who would rather not know. But I also think that sometimes saying things out loud to someone we trust is a liberating thing.

I have this aversion to embarrassment, mine and everyone else's. When the moment of embarrassment happens in television shows, I either mute the show or change the channel long enough for that awkward tension to pass. I work very hard to avoid those awkward moments in life or at the very least to minimize their exposure to Mike alone (God bless him for having to be the witness to the majority of my awkward moments!). In my head, I'd like for people to believe that I have things together, though anyone who knows me well knows that isn't nearly true.

We have this big vacation planned for next week. We'll be visiting Mike's brother and his family and doing lots of fun things with them. One of the greatest blessings in our lives is that God has provided us with siblings who love us and who have amazing families that we love in return, so the visiting part of the visit is something I am very much looking forward to enjoying. But there are all of these nagging insecurities about how this or that might happen and then there would be lots of witnesses to my awkward moments and general un-togetherness.

I was telling Mike some of this last night and he asked me if I knew women who appeared to have it all together. Then he asked if I liked those women. He pointed out that it seemed a little off to strive to be someone I wouldn't like. God uses him in countless ways to refine my spirit, and I'm grateful that Mike can cut through my neurotic worries to show me things like this.

So. I'm just this big mess doing the best I can.

As luck would have it, my sister-in-law who will be hosting us all next week emailed me this morning and said something about not liking this or that about herself, and I took the opportunity to share with her one of my big worries about this week (so remarkably superficial and selfish that I'm not at all sure I should share it here - see, still worried about appearing all together). And I felt a big lightness after I hit the 'send' button. If I tell her my worry, then it doesn't seem so worrisome. (I have a similar neurotic worry about tummy troubles, and I had this mortifying incident this spring with my brother and sister-inlaw. And while it was quite possibly the most mortifying thing that's happened to me in years, it was also a little liberating. My fears came true, and as it turns out, not much happened, other than they were generous and kind to me. So I'm not so afraid of that particular fear any longer, thanks to their love.)

Mike never ever worries about what anyone thinks about him. He is who he is and people can take him or leave him, and he's just pretty much fine either way. And I'm working on developing more of that attitude. I'm understanding that who I am in my heart is more important than what size I wear (a very nice one, Mike would say) or how clean I keep my home (not very).

If God were to judge me on my appearance of being all together, I'm quite certain I wouldn't pass the test. I've got dyed hair, acrylic fingernails, a fake tan, and press-on toenails (my big, huge fear is that someone will see how terribly icky my real toenails are). If 'all-together' were God's determining factor, I'd be found to be a fake.

When people come to visit and I don't make time to clean really well and I'm not cooking, I hide the overflow of dirty dishes that won't fit into the dishwasher in the oven. When the annoying kid from across the street knocks on the door for the hundredth time that weekend just so he can say something ugly to my son, Griff and I sit quietly in his room - pretending not to be home - until the kid goes away. I take puzzle books with me on Sundays for Griff to work during big church. I let my kids eat off the not-so-clean floor (Eliza shares with the dog), and I haven't cooked a meal in more than a week now (it's just too hot for cooking). All-in-all, not such an all-together showing.

But my goodness how good it is that God will judge my heart and not my togetherness! And so maybe confessing all of these crazy, silly things will ease my worries of them. Because in all honesty, I'd muchly prefer that people see a woman who loves her God, her family and friends and who would sacrifice to help someone in need than that they see someone who has it all together. I'd prefer to be wholly flawed and approachable than someone who has it so together that other women are hesitant to approach and share with me.

I'm grateful to get to be all flawed with such amazing people supporting and encouraging and strengthening me. And I'm looking forward to next week's vacation so much more today than I was yesterday simply because I'm letting go of some of my own freakish worries.

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, May 25, 2005  ]


This post immediately brought to mind 2 Corinthians 12:10, and I like the way the Message translates the verse:
"Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size--abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become."

It sounds like you found strength in weakness today, by emailing about your fears (and even blogging about them. Thanks for sharing!

By Blogger crisper, at 1:56 PM  

Well, I just skimmed over this post, and I will be back to visit your blog when I have a little more time! I have my own set of freakish worries...thanks for's so good to know that there others like me!

By Blogger Jana, at 7:15 AM  

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