Thursday, March 13, 2014

This In-Between Month, Day 25: Our Own Shadows

Sometimes I can be my own worst enemy. I am certainly my hardest, most unrelenting critic. If I took the tone with you that my inner voice takes with me, well you would not be my friend. Blame personality type or order of birth but I hold myself to an impossible standard. And when I fail, as I always do, as I always will in light of unattainable perfection, I have a hard time forgiving myself. 

Don't get me wrong, there are many things I fail at that are your garden variety failures. Ones so common and ordinary as to be too pathetically boring to admit here, but even those things, maybe especially those things, raise my inner voice's ire and I take a good tongue lashing.

And what I have found, wherever I go, is that most of us, in one way or another, are the same way. And what is worse is that we put our critical voice into God's mouth. And many times in my experience, people don't even realize it.

As I lay in bed last night, sleepless, restless, melancholy to the point of morose, a little bird of thought flew headlong into the little window of my soul. "When we face the sunlight we cannot see our own shadows." And in the darkness of that room, with darker thoughts, that little flash of light fluttering, that little thud and shudder and chirp of a truth reminded me this:

I must stare into the face of Jesus whose beautiful radiance will devour my shadows. And the more I am consumed by His loveliness and His light the less I will think of me, my darkness, my ugliness. And the more I bathe in the glow of His perfection the more I realize I need not even try to be something I am not and cannot ever be. What I can be, is a vessel, or maybe a cup, or probably more likely a shot glass to carry His light and His love and His utter perfection to the world. Anything else will leave me mired in self-loathing and failure. So I give up (again) on being perfect. And though I may be found muttering "shut up" to myself, or even screaming it now and then, well, I refuse to listen to that voice of condemnation any longer, for in Christ there is no more of that nastiness. I choose to believe what scripture says about me, namely that I am unconditionally loved and that His grace is made perfect in my weakness, not in my mock perfection.

Yup. Amen.

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