Ahem. I am embarrassed to write about this.
it's a little bit embarrassing to say this.
Someone wrote this on my Facebook feed the other day: "You have an amazing soul."
Bahahaha. That's pretty funny.
She obviously hasn't seen me at 6.30am when I'm banging frying pans and kicking dogs and Wishing With All My Heart that (a) the teenager didn't have to be on the bus at 7.30am with breakfast in her tummy and lunch in her bag and clean clothes on her back; and (b) the little boys, when they got up earlier, had put out the dogs so that they could go to the toilet outside, not leaving them to run around the house doing whatever they wanted wherever they wanted. You know what I'm saying.
But on a more serious note. It would easy (and flattering) to leave her compliment up and just say, 'yeah thanks, whatever' but as honesty is apparently my thing, I think I've got to give credit where it's due and not just take such compliments for myself.
Fact is, I'm not that nice. Left to my own devices, I'm a pretty controlling, bossy know-it-all who'd like to be in charge of everything and who doesn't want to trust anyone else to have any power at all. I'm also insecure, I have been codependent and I have been known to be irrationally needy. I veer from being a victim to being a bully, depending on the situation.
So, not really that *amazing*.
Where did the good stuff come from? Honestly, and without trying to sound like a religious nut, I can only see that it's come from God. Not in a magical, here-let-me-fix-you-up-zap-its-a-miracle kind of way, but slowly and over time, as I've taken in the message that God loves me, that he gives me grace and that his power for change is available.
Bullying and victimhood have given way to empathy because I know that God understands what I feel. Neediness and insecurity are crowded out by the knowledge that I'm loved so much that Jesus would die for me. I'm free to love people more fully, knowing that I don't have to hoard the little love I have for myself. Patience has grown with practice and prayer, always remembering that God is patient with me. Love has grown as I remind myself constantly that 'love is patient, love is kind, it is not proud...' like the great passage says.
I'm not boasting about 'I'm great 'cos I'm a Christian and you're not'. I'm just acknowledging that whatever good stuff you see in my life (and I'm not talking about yours) has grown as a result of a life committed to God. And I'll be honest. It hasn't always been all that fun. It's come at a cost. For example, honesty is a nuisance. It would be easier to lie to myself and fib to others. It would be more fun to be part of a clique than to extend myself to welcome other people. And it's true what the Bible says: 'gossip is like delicious morsels'. I'd love to indulge. Really, I would.
People reject God for all sorts of reasons. Hey, I've got my own list of unanswered questions up my sleeve. But I'm a practical person at heart and when I really got around to deciding if this whole following Jesus business was for me, I wanted to know most of all: does it work?
Does giving your worries to God in prayer bring peace, like it says it will? Well, yes. If you do it. Does putting other people's interests before your own bring about good, loving community? Well, yes, if you do it. Does being grateful bring joy? Well, yes, if you do it.
I'm happy if you read this blog and think, "Hey, she's a person I wouldn't mind hanging out with" but I'll put my cards right on the table. The good stuff in my life blooms because I water it with God's fertiliser and allow him to put his own version of roundup on the (many) weeds.