Sometimes, I get caught ... caught in the world's idea of "ideal." I'm striving hard to lose those last 10 pounds and striving hard to pay off debt so that I can go back into debt to renovate my house. Vanity. Isn't it? What is it that I hope to achieve with these goals? Who is it that I'll be when they're achieved? I'll be more accepted by a world that rejects my Savior ... and that really hurts to type.
A couple of weeks ago, during Spring Break at my school, I walked early in the morning at a local park (you know to achieve the 10 pound goal), and as I walked, I began to pray. With a husband, three kids, and a full time job teaching, plus the all time consuming, albeit entertaining, Little League, life is so busy. Not busy with sinful things, but busy with things that distract from the one GOOD thing (need I remind you of Mary and Martha?). Prayer sometimes ends up at the bottom of a pile of good intentions --first thing in the morning --or after the kids are in the bed --having fallen through the cracks of tiredness and selfishness. This morning, however, it was just me and my Savior --and the few men on the clean-up crew working on the debris from a day or two of heavy rain. As I walked, pouring out my brokenness and confusion, my failings and my fears, I began to cry, sob actually. Sobbing soon lead to praising, as the result of true repentance always does. I can only imagine the thoughts of the clean-up crew, probably thinking I was so out of shape that I was wiping sweat from my face and raising my arms to increase my oxygen level. Not the most flattering image I admit.
God is so good. As I continued to walk, I started laughing at the realization of something quite profound: this Spirit Walk --this broken, sobbing, hand lifted mess --was all that I had to be to meet His approval. At that moment I had achieved something: I was "ideal." Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't perfect, I was just YIELDED. And I want to be every day.
Why do we have yield signs? So that we don't plow into oncoming traffic, believing that we have the right of way. When we yield to the Holy Spirit, we avoid as much destruction in our lives as we do when we yield to the tractor trailer barreling down the interstate. I want to learn to give Him the right of way, to slow down to that still, soft voice --to really hear Him and to really obey.
I want my definition of ideal beauty to match His:
1. I want to put Him first. I want Him to have the first fruits of my time and my energy, my worship and my obedience.
2. I want to honor my husband. I want to honor him with my words and my actions, with the way that I dress and speak, with the way that I prioritize my time.
3. I want to efface myself --to get out of the way so that others see Jesus before they see me. This means that I cannot wear things that draw attention to myself, to my body in a way that isn't glorifying to my God. It doesn't mean that I can't be feminine or attractive, but it does mean that I have to be subtle and modest. I do not want to be a stumbling block to another woman's husband --and ladies please don't be a stumbling block to mine! I want my words to be glorying and not full or gossip or slander or anything that isn't for the edification of another (Eph 4:29).
4. I want to mother my children. I want to shower them with love and affection and REAL attention and TIME. I want to teach them every day, in every way, about their Heavenly Father, about unconditional love, and about respect and obedience, and laughter and beauty.
5. Oh the list could go on and on ... I want to please Him ... to hear Him say, "Well done." I want to be a useful vessel, a clay pot worthy of the sacrifice with which I have been bought. And when I fail, I want to HANG on to GRACE, to weep at the unjustness of the One who died for such a one as I.