The Chosen One

Two confessions to introduce this post and give you some context:

  1. I avoid the Old Testament (OT) like the plague.  It’s violent, full of lists of names that I can’t pronounce and inevitably falls under the “mostly irrelevant to the whole Jesus thing” file in my brain.
  2. I might be one of those people that reads ahead in a book.  Maybe even reads the end first.  Eek!

Sunday morning was the first message in a summer series at The Meeting House called The Chosen One.  I *might* have groaned when I saw that it was going to be about Moses and the book of Exodus.  I will gladly listen to messages on the life and heart of Jesus.  Sermon on the Mount?  I am all ears. Fruit of the Spirit? Count me in.  Loving and serving your neighbour? I will show up with a pen in hand and take copious amounts of notes. All. Day. Long.  The Old Testament?  It hearkens back to Sunday School stories and felt boards.  The Bible I carry around doesn’t even have it.  Have I made my point?

Now, the church did a great job of trying to convince me that this series about Moses is going to be riveting.  I mean, a darn good job.  Hollywood-worthy previews were revealed three Sundays in a row.  Amazing graphics and suspense-filled music beckoned me to attend. Tweets were sent and hashtags were created to build up momentum.  The fact that I show up 99/100 Sundays doesn’t hurt either.

Come Sunday morning, I still didn’t bring with me a Bible that has the OT.  My inner brat decided my electronic version of the Bible would suffice because Lord knows, I won’t need to underline anything or take any notes.  I may even need extra caffeine to keep me from nodding off.

As I checked out the program notes I saw that there were references to passages in the OT AND the New Testament.  My heart sped up a little;  I saw a flicker of hope.  There just might be something redemptive here after all!

As the introduction began, my attention was kept by a very interesting comparison between Moses and Jesus.  As the speaker moved on to examining the text verse-by- verse, my mind started to wander. This is where my second confession comes in.

I moved ahead and kept reading further on in Exodus.  Can I tell you?  I don’t remember the part about Moses being cared for by his bio mom for the first three years because of some quick thinking and a little deception on the part of Moses’ sister.  They must have skipped that part in Sunday school.  I moved on to Exodus chapter 3.  This is where things start to heat up (see what I did there?).  God tells Moses he has heard the Israelites cries and is going to respond.  How?  He tells Moses in verse 10: Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”  Moses is obviously as reasonable and practical as I am because he answers with (verse 11):

“But, why me?  What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharoah and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?“   And do you know what the response was??

3:12 “I’ll be with you, God said”

And this is where I went over a cliff.

You see, I am pretty unqualified for just about everything.  (Maybe except making babies….).  I received acceptance to university but became a young mom instead.  I went to college for a year before I entered the workforce full time in order to be able to provide for my family.  That was more than fifteen years ago.  From there, life just happened.  (Just last month I finished my first university course on International Women’s Health and Human Rights with Stanford University online! #humblebrag).

Coupled with my lack of credentials is, unfortunately, passion. *Side note: More than once God has reminded to have passionate patience.  Aren’t those words antonyms?*  I love God and want nothing more than to know Him, love Him, show Him and serve Him.  My heart is heavy for the poor and marginalized and I want, no I have, to do something.  But my lack of _________________(insert professional degree or important piece of paper) holds me back.  How can I make any difference when there is Bono and Bill Gates leading the charge with their smarts and credibility?

After crashing into Exodus 3, I now asked how in the world was Moses a great choice on paper for the leader of the Israelites and conqueror of Egypt?

He wasn’t.

God still chose him.

All that was required was a response.  God told Moses to come.  When questioned, God calmly explained (albeit through an intimidating fiery  bush) that Moses qualified because God was with Him.  Can you think of anything more credible than that?

So, next time, when God calls me to come, I will move.  Not because I have confidence in my abilities or intellect but because He is with me.

My next move, you can be sure, will be to show up for the rest of the Chosen One series with a pen, Bible and the attitude of a humbled student.

On Being Enough : Part Two

Following up on part one: I still don’t have it all figured out. All I know is that striving to get to “enough” wasn’t working and it wasn’t really what I was after. Problem is, if I want to be seen, I have to put myself out there. That kind of make me feel sick. It takes a ridiculous amount of vulnerability to put my words to a page and put it out there but it’s soul soothing. It’s as much about me as it is about the reader. I have so much to learn.Butwhen I found something I felt compelled to do, I had to do it.

And do it afraid.

So with all of my inadequacies, quirks and insecurities – I write.

Take this post as an example. As I write, these are the thoughts that have been running through my head:

– someone else could say this much more eloquently than you
– someone may really connect with this message
– you aren’t really thinking that writing is something you are good at, are you?
– these are some powerful words flowing out of me onto this screen
– what the heck are you even trying to say?
– I can’t share this with the world
– I can’t not share this with world
– I need chocolate

It’s terrifying yet relieving to hit publish these posts. It’s nearly impossible to refrain from editing old posts. Somehow the perfectionist in me is learning to accept that destination:perfection will never be reached and everything will still be okay, If I want to be comfortable in the space in between all things neatly figured out it means I should be able to allow and expect myself to fall short, screw up and make an ass of myself and still feel like I am winning at life.

I love failure.  By that, what I really mean is that I hate it. But every single failure is an opportunity to assess and retry. There is no end destination of finally-getting-it-all-together. Just day after day of opportunities to learn and grow.

A recipe for messiness exists in all of us. We have habits and scars and tendencies that land us in bad places, scary relationships and lonely lives. We strive to be enough but our humanness inevitably causes us to miss the mark. It’s the picking yourself up after the failure that is the hardest. Instead of throwing in the towel, make the messes count. Mess up. All the time. But make it count. Let it grow you and stretch you into a better version of yourself. You won’t ever be enough but you can just be you, messy but learning.  And that’s enough.

On Being Enough

A quick confession: I read a lot. Books? I always have two or three on the go. Blogs? I lose myself for hours reading through them. I even fall victim to those too-long-to-be-a-Status-update-posts on Facebook (you know who you are). Because I am a life-long learner, I am always scanning for that small encouragement, new idea that furthers a discussion or story that puts something in a whole new light.

Every now and then I come across a message reminding me to ignore that message of not being enough. I’ve been through those years. The ones where I shopped, dressed up and painted my face but was never pretty enough. The ones where I starved and puked but was never thin enough. The ones where I cut but was never relieved enough. I was never, ever going to be enough.

Yet, on the other end of that, was feeling as though I was too much. I would share my opinion among a group of peers and feel as though I was too headstrong. I would laugh and regret being too loud. I would share a story and think I had occupied too much of everyone else’s time. For goodness sake, I thought I took up TOO MUCH AIR.

I suppose because I have hindsight, it should mean I have progressed (or because….meds.). But given that this blog is called a Recipe for Messiness, it would seem to indicate that I don’t have it all figured out. And I think that may be the trick. Knowing you don’t have it all figured out and being comfortable in the space in between.

This.

This I know.

You will never reach the other side of striving to be something you are not.

Because when you think you are about to arrive, the destination changes. Picture a cat chasing the glow of a moving flashlight – aha! Gotcha! Wait? Where did the fun, shiny thing go? Over there! Get it! Huh?

Why could I never be thin/smart/pretty enough? Why could I never be at peace? Because it wasn’t the heart of what I was after. What I was after (and what I think a lot of people are after) is just to be seen. I needed to know the reason for my existence on this planet. I needed to know there was a part for me to play and that I had something to offer.

And apparently I want to offer the world my words.

Part 2 coming soon!

Beginning

I am writing these days because I can no longer not write (good way to start right? using a double negative?). And I am tired. Tired of feeling like I am just not good enough and always missing the mark.

I am mess. We all have things in our make up that lead us into messy situations and inevitably to live messy lives. Real life is not how you perceive the lives you see on Facebook, Pinterest or in magazines. From my friends in Africa to my neighbours down the road, we are all the same. And we are all a mess.

We will never have perfect lives. In fact, we may miss the beauty amidst our messy lives if we are always striving for a better _______ here, a cleaner ______ there or a skinnier ________ everywhere.

This is my living room last Saturday:  
unnamed

Pinterest tells me the sign on my mantel is uncentered.  Parenting blogs warn me of the dangers of kids with scissors.  The general public wonders why there is a tupperware dish full of rocks on the floor.    Now, I don’t want to be a slackactivist – I really don’t.  But perspective is everything.  Those rocks – diamonds according to the boys –  were collected to sell to neighbours ($1 per rock – what a steal!).  My son is building himself a cardboard car box, using his imagination!

I am moving from the path of let-me-just get-this-all-perfect-in-here-and-then-I-can-put-myself-out-there to the path of a-burden-shared-is-more-easily-carried. I no longer want to strive for perfection but instead want to strive to form relationships and community where we can walk side-by-side, stumbling forward all the while knowing we will never, ever get where we are going and therefore can take our time, listen to each other stories and appreciate the views along the way.

I don’t know where this will all go….but I am taking a risk. I imagine A Recipe for Messiness being a place to share stories, support one another and I don’t know…maybe just do life together?