We sit at the table together in a coffee shop. Failures. Both failures. This happened a number of times just this week. Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the month of May. But mostly I realize that it’s because we live in a broken world. We live in a world that’s a mess and always will be but it preaches to us messages like,
“You can do this.”
“I can and I will.”
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
“Anything is possible.”
“You have arrived!”
“I have arrived.” (said no one ever!) For years I believed the message of “arriving”.
I would try hard, do good, fail.
Try hard, do good fail.
Try hard, do good, fail, FAKE IT.
We look around and everyone else seems to be making it successfully. That’s exactly what I want people to think about me - that I’m making it. That’s exactly what they want me to think about them. Look at Facebook and Instagram. Enough said. If only I was the person my Facebook makes me look like I am.
One of my favorite current memes is,
“She believed she could so she did.”
It makes me laugh. I’d like to re-write that one to,
“She believed she could so she did. (Oh, and then she didn’t!)”
But then she believed again. And then she didn’t.” You get the picture.
Dr. Seuss nailed it in Oh, The Places We’ll Go when he said,
“You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don't.
Because, sometimes, you won't.”
We buy into the belief that there is this place out there that is obtainable. Reach for the stars. Find them. Then live happily ever after. Really? Yep, we’ve been preached that message from the moment we could understand fairytales.
I’m tempted to believe this is possible in life - my marriage, my family, my parenting, my work, my mission, my calling, my ideas, my dreaming….it’s saturates across the board.
I heard a talk decades ago on the butterfly. The speaker used the analogy of metamorphosis to inspire the audience. Climb out of the darkness and ugliness. Stretch your wings and be the beautiful self that you are. Now fly off into the sunset, blue sky, wings flapping in slow motion. Beautiful music playing. You did it!
I believed that was possible so I worked very hard to climb out. It seemed like everyone around me was flapping around the beautiful wildflowers in freedom and joy and “arrivedness” except for me.
While we do have those butterfly moments, and for that I am grateful. Today I realize that the groundhog would be a more fitting comparison for me. He creeps very slowly out of the darkness of the ground. He sees his shadow. He says, “Nah, not yet.” He turns around and goes back in his hole. Yep, that’s how I feel many days. In fact, I think we have more groundhog days than butterfly days. What in the world makes the groundhog go back in his hole? For me, it’s fear, inadequacy, rejection, depression and much of the time just plain ole selfishness.
But you see, that’s exactly who Jesus came for … the caterpillars and the groundhogs. Because He won for me on the cross, I am free to fail. The only requirement to come to Him for renewal is neediness. Embrace who I am in His love and how worthy I am in Him.
Oh the satisfaction of embracing the truth that life is not about the final becoming but the ongoing, day to day becoming. You’ve heard it said, “Life is not about the destination. It’s about the journey.” The pressure is off.
Crash and burn, rebuild, take off, fly.
Then crash and burn, rebuild, take off and fly again.
Rinse and repeat. You get the picture.
Something about embracing this mentality of reality brings freedom.
Now believe it and rest.