To live a more slow, mindful, beautiful life is to come to terms with imperfections, growing in self-love, self-forgiveness, and greater kindness to self. It's reaching a place of beautiful authenticity knowing we're doing all we can to create a better life. We all go through rough spots, rough patches, trials, tribulations, challenges, etc. But no matter, God can still use us. Which is why I’m just going to lay it out here.
You do NOT had to have grown up in a Christian household, gone to church every Sunday and attended every Wednesday night Bible study your entire life, nor have given your time volunteering in the nursery or Sunday School, lead Bible Studies, taught vacation Bible school, etc. to be an effective Christian disciple, leader, teacher, or writer. God can use you right where you are to minister to others, whether over a cup of coffee, lending a helping hand, visiting someone who is sick or lonely, etc. Often just how we live our lives speaks volumes.
When I read about women ministry leaders who have done all the above, and who have been married to the same spouse for 40 + years, more power to them but I can’t relate. I’ve been married more than twice. And I sure can’t relate to women who cling to a marriage where the husband is addicted to porn, and they feel they must help him through it, despite his going back to it time after time. Nope. Not this girl. And one night, well after my kids were grown, and I was a full-time professor teaching honors and giving workshops in addition to teaching, I was escorted to the clink one night. Naturally, these were the days when I wasn’t engaged in an active walk of faith. I wasn’t locked in the clink. But I had to sit down at the clink for a while to cool off. And let me tell ya. There’s nothing more delicious for a small town of people, many of whom don’t care for you to begin with, to hear that kind of news. I’m sure many still lick their lips in great satisfaction at the memory.
And to top that off, one of my three children doesn’t like me.
If I wasn’t so deeply rooted in Christ, I’m sure I’d let these things bother me, keep me from creating a beautiful platform on which to deliver the news of His love, goodness, and how His love can reach in and heal the most seemingly impossible to heal places. Wouldn’t that be a grand victory for the darkness of this world that doesn’t want to see the light of Christ shine?
Five years ago, I would never have had the nerve to be as open and honest because it was all about putting forth the best veneer. I came from a family where everyone looked swell on the outside but most of them lived lives of misery. Well, I’m all for representing upstanding character; I’m also about integrity. If I’m going to get in the ring and assume a leadership position, it must be based on authenticity and genuineness. The upswing to my mistakes or ill-behavior is how far He’s brought me. I may have gone through a handful of hardships, but I’ve done a whole lot of good to shine light on the darker places, help, and teach others.
And I can’t relate to people who are always even keel, never lose their temper, and never raise their voice. I am confident my neighbors have heard me on occasion when the windows were open. Because of my chemistry, I will always be working on something. Most days I have the patience of Job. But deeply rooted triggers have been planted in me since childhood, and I’m still working on getting them all extracted. Some things take longer than others, but He has raised me up to levels of beauty I’ve never experienced. And I know it is because I seek Him each day. If a day went by where I didn’t study His Word, tell Him how grateful I am, or meditate on His Word, love, and goodness, I would feel like my shoes were on backwards.
I hail from a loving but chaotic family. And because we are ALL affected by crappy DNA and mental health issues, as well as a whole lot of them not seeking the Lord, well, that means there’s always some kind of crap going down. Someone got their feelings hurt. Someone didn’t like being held accountable for ungrateful, negative behavior. Someone is suffering but they don’t want to have an honest conversation with the one causing their suffering. Someone is still drinking or doing drugs and can’t figure why they’re so miserable. And on and on.
I try hard to stay on the periphery, but sometimes I either get dragged in against my will, or I step in and try to right things but get gob-smacked in the process. I mean, these aren’t everyday occurrences, but they happen on occasion and more often than they should.
Therefore, several years ago, after having been walking a strong walk in faith and falling to the wayside, I knew I needed to get back on track after my first major bout with anxiety and depression. The generational curses had to stop somewhere, after all. And I didn’t want to fall into the family routine of using medication and alcohol to run from my problems and alleviate my pain. That just creates a whole new set of issues.
So, what’s the point in telling you all of this. Well, for one, leaders have issues. I’d rather be led by someone whose gone through muck and mire and come out on the other side of it than someone who’s not experienced living in the trenches while being dive-bombed by layers of other crap. Wisdom and discernment come from experience. Second, and most importantly, God the Father and Jesus consistently chose average, ordinary people as powerful disciples throughout the Bible. People thought Abraham was nuts. His wife Sarah and Hagar had a long-standing feud over sons, birthrights, and jealousy. Other Old Testament leaders lied, and fought over land and animals, to say the least. Moses had a speech impediment and temper. David made sure Bathsheba’s husband was killed in battle, so he could have her for his own. Rahab was a prostitute. And the ordinary population of Israelites was constantly screwing up, turning its back on God, then running back to Him crying because of big messes it created. Sure, some were star pupils; most weren’t. Paul hunted Christians, held people’s coats so they could better stone Christians. Peter was impetuous and pissy. You get the picture.
Why did God choose these folks to carry on His work? Still does? Because when He works through them His holy magnificence could not/cannot be disputed. So, not only does God’s magnificence shine even greater through the least of us, but it also demonstrates the unfathomable capacity of God’s love for our imperfect souls, His powerful strength, and His mercy. We can screw up over and over and over, but if our hearts are in the right place and we earnestly seek Him, He will continue to lift us higher and higher. And when we earnestly seek Him, our blunders begin to diminish.
So, if you’ve been feeling blue, down on yourself, hard on yourself for whatever reason, those thoughts need to be eliminated. A slow, mindful life is a life of peace, peace in knowing we're imperfect, peace in knowing we always strive to grow. If you’re looking at people doing great things, through Him, and feel you don’t measure up, that’s a lie. That’s not where He wants you, and that’s not where you’ll stay if you anchor into Him. Just do it and watch what begins to happen.