I wonder if God, in his craftsmanship, included “flaws” in each of his creations. I certainly don’t think he made any mistakes but I think He knew what he was doing when he made us perfectly “imperfect.”
I used to hear preachers talk about “getting uncomfortable” and to be honest I didn’t like it. Why wouldn’t God want me to be comfortable? I like being comfortable. I like predictability, I like stability, and I like warm fuzzy socks.
I am in this weird place I don’t know how to describe. I read books like, Kisses from Katie where a 19 year old girl left EVERYTHING she knew to be comfortable and lives in Uganda. She is now 22 and mother to 13 once orphaned little girls. I hear stories of friends who just last week returned from Honduras where they saw countless houses made of magazines, and scrap wood with no electricity and plumbing.
I see pictures like this:
I read radical too and that probably didn’t help.
It cost $20 a quarter to send a Ugandan child to school (including their meals). Yet that cost is 4 times the cost of their electricity or plumbing which many of them can’t afford anyway. Lack of education just continues the cycle of poverty.
We can spend more than $20 going out to eat for ONE meal!
It just makes me, well, uncomfortable ya know?
I love nice things as much as the next girl. I don’t think smart phones are sinful, and I love our home.
But I just can’t help but see things differently. It is uncomfortable. It would be much easier to ignore. I don’t see poverty around me everyday. I don’t personally know any starving children.
And I think that’s the problem.
I have heard it said it is not that we don’t care about the poor, it is that we don’t know them. Just this glimpse from books and stories from missionaries makes me WANT to know them more.
But it’s messy helping the poor. They need soo much, some need more than you can give, some are looking for handouts, and some are dirty. It isn’t always safe, some have disease and some are unkind.
But God doesn’t just ask us to help if we have nothing else to do, He commands it…of all of us.
As Katie Davis said, “I am not afraid of disease or death, I am much more afraid of being comfortable.”
I guess I am seeing through all of this that comfortable isn’t such a great thing after all. A restless hunger to do more to the least of these isn’t comfortable. From the small amount I have experienced helping, it is pretty messy and time consuming too. But it is so much better than staying comfortable.
Part of me wants to sleep on the floor and skip meals out of guilt, but I know that solves nothing.
Lord, break my heart until it moves my hands and feet. Open my eyes to see your love for ALL people. May I worry less about being comfortable and more about being used by the King of the universe to do great things.
I can’t change the world, but I can start with one. Making a difference for ONE person…can change that person’s world.
Today is a guest post from Cecila. She is a missionary in Haiti and is an amazing writer. She is sharing her post today about feeling “imperfect” and it is BEAUTIFUL! I hope you enjojoy!
It must be lovely to be a mannequin; to be perfect in every way and to never have to struggle with emotions.
Sometimes it’s typical to think that missionaries have this “all together”, “picture perfect”, “I’m-working-for-God”, “queue the angelic music” kind of life.
Contrary to popular belief, we experience;
There are times, when we feel so alone, the lizard on the wall seems to be our only companion. We look at the little creature, and in all of our loneliness, we talk to it (don’t worry, this doesn’t happen a lot). We get pissed to the point where we yell at the coconuts hanging on the tree for not falling (or falling). We get tired of having to communicate in a language other than our own. We look at the fellow to which we are trying to explain something and start to blab in English (yeah, it’s kind of awkward).
We have days when we ask ourselves why are we in a third world country – where showers are cold and bathrooms are scarce. Why are we in a country whose currency can be counted in two ways (gourdes and Haitian dollars) and the electricity is never consistent; in a place where everything takes two times longer and is usually done backwards. We ask ourselves these questions and sometimes feel a tad bit clueless and somewhat confused. These feelings and emotions aren’t something that disappear as one mounts on a plane to enter the mission field, in search for the will of God. We have no halo, we carry no wings.
We are humans (in a foreign country), trying to conquer the mass of arrows and darts life throws at us. We are humans who have experienced the Grace of God on our lives. This Grace, so intense, so pure, so precious that we can’t help but share it with others. And we seek to spread it. This is why we do what we do. Far from perfection and still learning to deal with our vast array of emotions we look to hold the orphan, shelter the parent-less and teach those who would otherwise never get an education.We give of the Grace that was so freely offered to us.
Oh! To be a perfect little mannequin would indeed be ideal, but then I would never have the ability to receive this wonderful Grace and participate in his perfect purpose.
If you have ever seen a plane flying over head you might notice from a distance it looks beautiful. Strong, steady, and powerful. The plane looks light as air as it floats among the clouds. However if you have ever actually been a passenger on a plane it isn’t always as smooth and steady as it appears from afar. There is turbulence, the clouds are not as soft as they look, and if you have ever gone through a storm….let me just say lots of talking to Jesus going on in that situation.
The point is from afar many people seem to be smooth, steady, and put together. Their marriage is perfect, their kids never misbehave, they have complete control of their finances, and they are extremely talented and good at everything you are not. But inside that persons life there is “turbulence.” I guarantee they have struggles no matter who they are.
WE ALL HAVE JUNK. The reason I started this blog is because everywhere I go I couldn’t help notice this is such a common thread in all of our lives. We are ALWAYS comparing ourselves! I’ll say it again WE ALL HAVE JUNK but isn’t that what makes us who we are?
The friends I love the most are the ones who are “imperfect.” They are honest about where they struggle and don’t try to hide their flaws.
A dear friend told me the other day, “if someone you know appears to be perfect….they are miserable” And she knew! For years she had tried with all her might to have a spotless house, make everything from scratch and look good while doing it. She was exhausted, and frustrated.
I secretly compared myself to her and wondered how she did it all.
When she came clean about it there was such relief in both of our ends.
“You mean you are not perfect?” You mean I can stop pretending to be perfect?”
Oh what a wonderful moment that was! Why don’t we do that sooner?
There are plenty of things we HAVE to pay for but here is a quick list of everyday items that you should NOT have to pay for. Enjoy saving some money!
Cleaning Supplies you DON’T need to pay for:
- A cleaner for every surface of your home: A solution of equal parts vinegar and water plus a splash of lemon juice is the perfect all purpose, all natural, and all frugal cleaning solution. Perfect for an empty bottle of your old cleaning solution or a purchased spray bottle. Bonus: vinegar is an awesome disinfectant!
A damp rag is all you need to dust and baking soda sprinkled in the toilet is a perfect toilet bowl cleaner!
- Laundry detergent: I make my laundry detergent using soap nuts. Complete recipe here. As if it wasn’t simple enough I found an even easier already made SUPER concentrated version of the same thing here. It is affordable, all natural, and very easy!
Health and Beauty products you DON’T need to pay for:
- Face wash, toner, AND moisturizer: Face wash is full of random yucky unidentified chemicals, yet it leaves your face with nothing good. Taking away all the oil from your face leaves it needing moisturizer and a few hours later your face has to produce more oil to make up for what has been lost. Ask any chemist and they will tell you oil cleans oil. Yes I am talking about washing your face with oil. I have done it for two years now and have no acne to speak of! Only soft skin and less expense! All the details here.
- Shampoo and conditioner:
Same rules apply to your hair as they do your face although i don’t advice washing your hair with oil. I wash my hair with a shampoo bar. Affordable, chemical free, and it give my lifeless hair volume! I dab coconut oil on my fingers and apply it to the ends after they have dried. Also worthy of note is the “poo free method” it didn’t work for me but many people swear by it and it doesn’t get any cheaper than that!
- Hair products: Now that I clean my hair with natural products it is so weightless! I no longer need mouse, gel, hairspray etc!
- Mouthwash: a solution of half peroxide half water is actually better than most commercial mouthwashes (says my dentist.)
General Items you DON’t need to pay for:
- Books Remember the library? Good news…it still exists! You can place a hold for your books online and it will be there waiting for you at the front desk. If you have a kindle make sure you check the amazon kindle site and check it often. There are always free books.
- Basic Computer Software when you are buying a computer they want lots of extra cash for basic software (word-processing etc.) Open Office is a free site where you can download all of that stuff for FREE
- Bottled water I think most people know by now that bottled water is nothing fancier than tap water. It is between 240 and 10,000 times more expensive than tap water and horribly bad for the environment (yes even if you recycle them). If you are still stuck on bottled water read this
- Your credit report. www.annualcreditreport.com, the only truly free place to see all three of your credit reports for free once a year.
- Shipping: This doesn’t work every time but before you complete your online purchase check www.freeshipping.org.
- DVD Rentals You can rent DVDs from RedBox locations for $1 a night and better yet, if you use one of the coupon codes from www.insideredbox.com you can get it FREE. Most libraries now have free DVD rental as well.
- Cell Phone – Most major carriers will give you a free phone, even a free smart phone, with a 2 year contract.
- Basic Tax Preparation – If your taxes are not overly complicated, then you should probably be preparing your own tax return using one of the many free online services. It’s now common for e-filing to be free as well with many services. You won’t even need a stamp!
- Tupperware: Why not reuse that old spagetti jar?
Have other suggestions? I would love to hear your comments!
The Barna Group, a respected Christian survey organization, recently asked young people to identify which perceptions they most strongly associate with Christianity. The three most commonly agreed-upon were: anti-homosexual, judgmental, and hypocritical.
Westboro Baptist church has made headlines with their “God hates fags” philosophy where they protest soldiers funerals. Also making headlines are abortion clinics being bombed & protests for nearly everything under the sun.
At almost every event with a large crowd you can find “the megaphone man” yelling about hell and eternal damnation.
All in the name of Jesus??
If this is the Christianity the world sees than no wonder many people are not interested.
My dear friend Katelyn posted this awesome quote:
I have decided to stop letting political and religious organizations represent me on the issues. I have decided to represent myself, and in so doing I hope to accurately represent Christ.
-Mike Foster “Unchristain”
Dear friends, Forgive us. Forgive us for the embarrassing things we have done in the name of Jesus.
We are imperfect people for sure. Our attempts to model Jesus are clumsy at best. He calls us, imperfect and broken, to transform us so we are no longer the same. We just don’t always leave the old us behind.
Please don’t reject Christ because of Christians. We are still trying to wrap our head around the God of the universe wanting to make disciples out of us.
Despite our misrepresentation, Jesus was a pretty amazing guy.
He was the preacher of all preachers yet you could find him dining with some of the worst “sinners” of his day. Mark 2:15
He was the King of all the universe yet he was born to regular people in a palace no wait, a manger. Luke 2:7
He deserved servants and crowns, yet he washed his disciples feet. John 13 1-17
He is the only one that was or ever will be worthy of all the fame and fortune of the world, yet he was a servant. Mark 9:35
He spoke love into the people no one loved. John 4
He would touch those no one else would touch. Mark 1:40-45
He did nothing wrong, but he never tried to defend himself. John 18:28-38
He could have had a thousand Angels come to take his place on the cross, but he took mine instead. John 19:28-30
I want to invite you to consider that maybe the televangelists and street preachers are wrong — and that God really is love. Maybe the fruits of the Spirit really are beautiful things like peace, patience, kindness, joy, love, goodness, and not the ugly things that have come to characterize religion.
The Jesus I know is turning the world upside down with his love. The less I get in the way the better he can “advertise” through me.
Have you ever witnessed a not so great “advertisment” for Jesus?
Faced with the overwhelming responsibility of mothering the next generation; mothers often feel like we are not doing enough, or not doing it just right.
I am certainly guilty of this myself, and I have never met another mom who didn’t feel the same.
Although it’s a positive sign that we’re trying to do our best, we need to learn to let it go so that we can be our best. A guilty conscience is doing no one any good, if anything it is just causing frustration. Either a change needs to be made or an acceptance needs to take place.
In this type of guilt there really is something that could be better. What is nagging over your head that you know needs to be changed? You have put it off for whatever reason. Let’s not wait any longer. Our children are growing up everyday, let’s take steps today to make our tomorrow the best it can be.
Guilt from Unrealistic expectations:
I feel like my picture should be beside these words with a stamp on my forehead saying “guilty”. Actually, I do need a picture for this post….
We compare ourselves to our neighbor who has a beautiful yard, our best friend whose children can recite the entire bible (minor exaggeration), the one whose home is always immaculate, and the one who is always doing craft projects with her kids.
My favorite saying around here is, “We compare ourselves to what others are on the outside to what we know to be true of ourselves on the inside”
Yes Sally (names changed to protect the innocent) may be crafty, but I bet she doesn’t have the talent you do! Be thankful for Sally’s talent and note that she probably doesn’t have yours!
We all have at least one talent, but not one of us have all the talent.
Most importantly comparing ourselves to others is a lose, lose battle. The only perfect one worthy of comparing ourselves to is Jesus. He was not a mom, but He was an amazing and effective teacher. He corrected and showed grace at all the right times. He was selfless and He loved….like REALLY LOVED, even when we didn’t deserve it. What a model!!
When you feel the unwelcome feeling of guilt creeping in again:
- Determine if it is true or unrealistic guilt
- If it is true: Do something. Make the changes right then, or take steps to make the situation better.
- If it is untrue. Thank God for making you the mother that you are. Focus on what you do well. And enjoy doing what you do best with your kids.
As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
What do you think? Do you carry mom guilt? I love your comments!
I told my husband the other day I could stay up all night long and still have way too much on my to do list, to which he responded, “shorten your to-do list”
Profound! Simple, maybe even obvious but I thought it was brilliant…he’s a smart guy. I think all of us have expectations we place on ourselves that don’t REALLY have to be done.
Andy Stanley wrote a book called “choosing to cheat” The premise states that we cannot possibly do everything so we must cheat in one or more areas of our life. There are simply not enough hours in a day or days in a year to do and be everything we want. We are then faced with the choice to decide what is most important.
Although we don’t see it this way it is even a little egotistical to think we are soooo important that we must get so much done. If the world will keep spinning and no one will be physically harmed if we don’t complete the task then is it really THAT important?
Housework: Everyone has different “must does’” for a clean home. I think it is essential to take a moment to define what a clean home is to you. What is most important and what areas can you cheat? It will just get dirty again anyway!
The Internet: Rescue time is a free internet service designed to keep you accountable for how much time you spend on the net. On average it rescues people from almost 4 hours of time a week!
Television: Along with the internet these are the two biggest time suckers for most families. Be intentional with your television. Ask is this show WORTH my time? Give yourself a number you are comfortable with for hours spent per week in front of the tube.
Extra activities: If your kids are in soccer, dance, karate, football, and piano all at the same time you might want to take a step back and ask what is most important and what is not. Or maybe you are the president of the PTA, the bible study leader, the volunteer and the helper for EVERYTHING in your city. Just incase you need permission…It’s okay to say no.
(ouch I am so guilty of this)
Work more effectively: No matter where you work: in an office or at home there are ways to work more efficiently. 4 hour work week is a book dedicated to helping your work more effectively.
Barter anyone?: You can’t do it all but together we can. Babysitting is a great way to trade services. You watch my kids and I’ll watch yours. I have a friend that does all my monogramming and I make her little girls hair bows. PERFECT!!
What is a skill or service you can offer? Trading is much more fun that spending money and is a helpful way to get what you need by “cheating”
Share your thoughts: In what ways do you “cheat?”