From the time we are little we watch and imitate the actions and manners of others and gauge what is right and wrong by what we see as true in how they handled the situations before them. We learn to hide behind masks of various types whether right or wrong. We go through our lives presenting ourselves as perfectly folded laundry to those around us only to learn that our perceptions and what we gleaned truth was actually a lie. Everything we learned to hide behind, tossed up, thrown down, stomped on, and drug through the mud. If we were to sit back and really ponder on the actions and processes of those we learned from, we may just see, they were so desperately trying to live a life striving of perfection, love, adoration, praises, putting layer upon layer of dirt and mire to show themselves and ourselves worthy and deserving only to lose who we truly are and our purpose. Jesus did all of this for us already on the cross.
I was at church one day when this all came into play for me. A very dear and sweet gal came to me who had 3 little boys at the time. She proceeded to tell me how she wished she could be like me and that I had it all together, my kids sat well in church, behaved and were always so well dressed. An epitome of a perfect, happy family! I had a choice right then and there, I could have said thank you and moved right along giving a high-five to myself for fooling yet another person, or keep it real. This sweet momma didn’t need to place me on a pedestal, let alone use me as a comparison tool to herself. This momma needed truth for her weary soul. While her compliment was great and picked me up after the rough morning I had, there was a greater connection needed made. One on truth and sustenance and not of one upping the other or being deserving of praise. It really all kind of all boiled down to Mandisa’s song, ‘What if We Were Real?” I decided to let my shield down and be real.
I proceeded to tell her of our hectic morning and my not so nice attitude of shepherding my dear, sweet, family out the door to church and how it was a cross between She-Ra Princess of Power and the Incredible Hulk. The many appearances that came forth that morning was nothing admirable let alone comparable to the awe of Wonder Woman. If this sweet momma had been witness to any or all of this, she would have thought that I suffered from multiple personalities. I also pointed out how she must not have seen my children haul off and hit each other in the pews the week before, or my daughter screaming in the narthex a few weeks earlier about how she wouldn’t go to Sunday School. As I finished my story exasperated and reeling from emotion over it all, she began to realize that I wasn’t this queen of perfection. She looked at me with sigh relief and quickly stated, “I thought I was the only one!” She is not the only momma out there who believes this lie. She also is not the only momma who thinks they can’t share their struggles in fear of being looked upon as less than those we compare ourselves to. She also isn’t the only one who continues to suffer in silence, letting Satan hold us in his chains, when we are to carry each other’s burdens. I do, we all do.
Now I do believe that there is good in looking up to someone or admiring them but if the very person they admire cannot be true, then it becomes another goal to meet, another deception, another layer, and another disappointment in self when we wish or strive to become someone who God never intended for us. That is when my thoughts became clearer. We do a great job presenting ourselves on the outside as perfectly folded laundry but God takes our human perception of perfection and cleanses it in His perfect timing from the inside out. He unfolds our deceptions, throws them on the floor for us to see the dirt and mire within. He washes them clean to wring out and scrub the lies and deception. He dries them in the winds of His truth and irons out our path. He then refolds them with His wisdom and perseverance before placing back on the shelf relabeled as redeemed, dearly loved, forgiven, accepted, righteous and holy in the truths of His mercy and grace.