It’s almost-but-not-quite the day Allen comes to mow our lawn. So it’s a bit of a jungle out there with clovers and other weeds vying for their place in our front yard along with the grass.
But, upon looking out the front windows, I was treated to a sight I may have missed had our lawn been perfectly manicured….
I looked out to see a whole menagerie of urban wildlife, from a mother and baby bunny to a whole variety of birds, happily playing our front yard.
It reminded me of that scene from Disney’s old Snow White film where all the furry forest creatures are keeping Snow White company as she happily sings in the woods.
I realized…. all of the weeds and tall grass were actually attracting the amazing wildlife I was enjoying. I couldn’t help but wondering if in all of our striving for perfection, we miss – or even destroy – the beauty around us.
That is one reason I’ve titled this blog (and future book), Ragamuffin Oasis. Perhaps the true places of oasis (rest, refreshing, and thriving) are not the well manicured facades that consumerism and even religion tell us we need.
Perhaps only in admitting we are human and embracing are scruffier, imperfect, ragamuffin selves can we every be truly free.
So, as I was trying to decided between more gym time and God time or more mirror and makeup time this morning, Maker whispered this “Would you rather” question to my spirit:
“Would you rather hide your flaws and pretend to be perfect or reveal your flaws and be perfected?”
In our insta-filtered culture it’s so easy to trade quickly clicked airbrushed appearances for the hard work of authentic change. But we have a choice – difficult but achievable by our Maker’s strong Spirit in us – to rise above cultural norms and admit our weaknesses, pains, and flaws instead of covering them. And, in return, Maker blesses us with HIS strength, healing, and perfection.
Maker God, may I choose this moment and the next to live in Your light – even when it exposes my flaws – rather than running for the cover of the filtered pretense that the world offers…. In Jesus Name!
“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” – Ephesians 5:8 NLT
The most beautiful flower doesn’t worry about competing with the flower next to it. It doesn’t fret over who will take care of it or who may or may not appreciate its beauty. It just blooms! How much more peaceful beauty would the gardens of our lives overflow with if we simply did the same?
So, I’ve always been quite obsessed (in a good way) with our Maker’s masterpieces.
From mountains, to birds, to wildflowers, to other people – I could see the amazingness of all of God’s creations.
Well…. with one exception: that one I see reflected in the mirror each day.
But after nearly 5 decades on earth I’m finally learning that it’s OK to find and see beauty in myself, too. Not only is it OK… it is absolutely essential if I want to live out everything my Maker has intended for me.
You see, Jesus taught us to “love others as we love ourselves”. However, the enemy of our soul works hard to twist our thinking until we cling to the “fake news” that we need the acceptance of others to complete ourselves.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
We are already complete by our Maker’s design and completely loved by HIM. And that frees us to love and to live… completely.
It’s time to accept ourselves and not wait for anyone else to do it. Today is the day to step into authentic living and love well.
“… Until we let the Christ who consorted with hookers and crooks to be our truth, the false, fraudulent self motivated by cowardice and fear will continue to distance us from abiding restful union.” – from Brennan Manning’s writing, The Furious Longing of God. (Read it and weep…. Seriously! Reading or listening to this book will likely bring tears to your eyes as your heart grasps grace).
Have you ever tried to earn God’s favor? I know i have! So I’m lovingly saying this to both of us: STOP IT!!! (And, yes. That was intentionally bold, in italics, and all caps!). Let’s just rest. It’s time you and I stop working so hard for the unfailing love we’ve always had from our Maker God. Grace works so we don’t have to.
It’s time to refocus and give God first place rather than exhausting ourselves trying to get there. Peace flows much more easily when we give God His job back.
“I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?” -Jesus, John 5:41-44 MSG (The Message – Bible Paraphrase)