It contributed to my initial fears almost three months ago…specifically my fears of what others would think of our baby, our family.
It is connected to my perfectionist bent. It tells me that if I can make something perfect, then it will be satisfied.
If I can’t make something perfect, I have to wrestle it to the ground before it is conquered. And I mean conquered to the point that I am not apologizing to others for the imperfection as a subtle way of letting them know that I am not the kind who thinks it’s acceptable. (My first big lesson in this area had to do with a garish, outdated-but-not-enough-to-be-vintage chic, damaged, glossy yellow Linoleum kitchen floor that hurt my beauty-loving soul but was a constant reminder of my need to learn true contentment for almost five years!)
It can arise any time I feel like others are giving us something I can’t repay…
…or that causes them inconvenience…
…or that I think they are begrudging, or regretting…
…or because they think we only need help because we have too many kids.
It hates to look foolish in the eyes of others.
But when I listen to it, I say and do things that are foolish in the eyes of God…
…like refusing to ask for or accept needed help, trying to pay people back for what they give us, attempting to protect myself from those I am afraid will be critical of our imperfections…
…even though listening to it steals God-given joy from my life and the lives of those around me.
It stings when I hear someone being smug or condescending about their strengths in areas where I have weaknesses.
And sometimes it assumes others are feeling superior when they probably aren’t. It is self-centered and illogical. For instance, it stung the other day when I heard that someone we know said, “I wish that would happen to us!” (Meaning they wish God would send them a baby with Down syndrome.) This should have made me rejoice! But the ugly thought came to me, “Because they’re so sure they’d be strong and godly that they know they wouldn’t struggle through it like I did.” Yes, in the next moment, God pricked my conscience very hard indeed, but I am being honest here because honesty can help put it to death.
It has been trying hard for a while to keep me from writing this post and exposing it in all its shamefulness, in spite of the reality that it is part of this story that God is working out.
How I admire those who don’t seem to struggle with it.
Nothing God-pleasing has ever or will ever come from it.
I wish that it could be forever eradicated from my life.
It comes between me and the grace of God.
And His grace is the only reason I hate it.
He is the One who makes me aware of it.
He shows me how to fight back against it.
And He is the only One who can take it away every time and put His pure LOVE in its place.
So why do I sometimes hear myself say, “It’s just pride.”
“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”