That may seem like such a stupid thing to say.....
But let me explain.
As far back as I can remember I have had an expectation of perfection over my life.
Whether it be by the those around me who put that expectation on me... or myself, wanting to be perfect and thinking that I have to be.
It started so long ago......
When I was three and a half I can remember being told that I was to take care of my brother.
He was a baby then.
I don't believe that when it was spoken to me that it was meant in a literal sense, but in the way of "look out for" your brother.
My mom and dad were in the middle of an ugly divorce and we were being carted back and forth.
From family to strangers.
I can recall so clearly the first time that I felt the feeling that I had failed to be perfect.
It was a day like most back then.
Chaotic and confusing to my childlike mind.
My mom was going out on a date.
I was unsure as how to deal with all the emotion that this brought on me.
Where was my daddy? And why were we being left with this lady that I didn't know and somehow knew could not be trusted?
My mom was hurting and I'm sure feeling the weight of all that she herself was going through at that moment.
I can't fault her for wanting to get away for awhile.
As an adult I have felt that very feeling often when faced with overwhelming circumstances.
Unfortunately for me, it had a heartbreaking outcome.
I just remember my brother crying. And my mom was gone.
He was so little and I felt very protective toward him.
I wanted to help. I wanted to comfort him..... hold him and assure him that all was okay.
Even though I knew that it wasn't.
My thoughts for one so young were not the norm. They never have been.
But our lady babysitter didn't want me to help.
She didn't want me around at all. I knew this. I had begged my mom not to go. I knew this woman didn't love me. I knew that she would hurt me if given the chance.
I was a deeply emotional and hurting child.
Tantrums were a common response for me at that time followed by holding my breath and passing out when I felt everything spinning out of control.
So.... when I carried on I was often ignored. Not because they didn't love me, but because they felt as helpless and I did.
I began to get angry. At my mom.... and at this woman who was not my mom.
He was my brother.
How dare this stranger think that she could keep him from me.
I screamed..... and I fought....... it was the natural reaction that I can still feel so
strongly even today.......
The same emotion that rises up in me when I find myself in the midst of an unjust situation.
She locked me in the closet.
I am amazed at times that I can still remember so many things from my childhood with such clarity and depth of feeling..... but I can.
Like it was yesterday.
Being pushed in while kicking and screaming.
The fear of what she was going to do to me.
It was dark.
I was afraid of the dark.
I screamed and yelled.
I beat my little fists against the door until they stung.
I fought like that until my throat hurt and my body was racked with the sobs.
I was alone.
She left me there until she heard my moms cry pull into the driveway.
She threatened that if I told that she would kill my mom.
And although so many other thoughts should have taken precedence at that moment.....
the one that rose above all the others was this;
"You failed. It was your job to protect your brother..... and you failed."
I was three.
But the enemy of my soul didn't care how old I was.
He knew I understood what that meant.
My little three year old heart understood what it meant to be let down.
I was being let down every day.
I didn't want to be like all the grown ups around me.
I wanted the world to be right.... and not so out of control.
I wanted it to be different.
I wanted it to be perfect.
I thought that if I was perfect everything else would follow.
But I wasn't.......
And the world didn't.....
But that day began a journey for me that continued all the way through my youth, adolescence, and adult life.
It wasn't just about the control.
Although that is what it grew up to be.
Trying to control everything around me and spiraling into despair when I couldn't do it.
Trying to keep everything perfect...... controlled....... and right.
I have fought against wrong almost my entire life.
And then add to that the others who picked up my perfectionist tendencies.
It became the standard.
And when I failed to produce perfection I received great disappointment.
From myself, and those around me.
I was reprimanded and told to do better.
I loved school back then. It was one of the few things I looked forward to.
I got to escape.
I often played alone.
Other kids thought I was odd.
I lived in a make believe world created by myself, far better than my own.
I was often shunned and made fun of.
I continued to be an outcast..... and unacceptable.
I tried not to care..... I tried to just sit at recess and make up my make believe stories.
I created my own friends.
Ones that loved me.... accepted me. And believed in me.
But I was still very much alone.
It is then that I began to read.
A whole world opened up to me.
It became my escape......
From life, from hurt, and from fear.
It was perfect.
I struggled in my studies.
I was not the smartest kid in class.
And I realized early on that this was an area that no one really paid much attention to.
It wasn't as important as paying bills, getting jobs, and putting food on the table......
So I decided to fail.
I decided that it would be okay not to be perfect in this one area.
It felt good.
To let go and not have to be perfect at this one thing.
But I deceived myself into thinking that I was okay with it.
I began to feel inferior. Stupid. And like the dumbest kid in class.
I began to listen to the lies that I wasn't good enough, and couldn't do it.
Add to that a demeaning teacher or two, being the outcast among my pears, living in a very broken family, and you have a recipe for academic and personal disaster.......
I am going to stop there for now......
I am not done.
There is so much more to tell.
But the words can get tedious and the long-windedness mundane.
So I am going to stop for now.
For whatever reason I feel that God is calling me to share parts of my story......
I'm not sure how much he is going to ask of me.
But I know that for whatever that reason is.... He is calling me to begin it now.
So I begin.....
At the beginning of a life that has been transformed and redeemed so often that I often have feared that He will tire of rescuing me out of it.
But I know that He never will.
He has proven that over and over.
Again and again.
My hope is that His love and His mercy will shine brighter than all else in my life.
For His glory..... and hopefully resulting in healing and restoration.
But whole and complete.
.....until another tomorrow.
"Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (New Living Translation)