I am spending my evening pondering Proverbs 31. You may wonder why I'm on the computer if I am pondering the Bible. I ponder better aloud, and while this isn't "aloud", at least this way my thoughts are not bottled up in my brain swishing back and forth and slamming into each other creating a mass of frenetic confusion.
Does that ever happen to you? Do you ever ponder until the simplicity of something becomes complex confusion which opens the door for frustration, and instead of leaving your quiet time blessed, you leave it convinced you can never be what God wants? That happens to me sometimes. In fact, it could happen this time, except I'm choosing to stop and study the mountain instead of just walking around it again.
As I see it, the mountain is this: this apparently impossibly perfect woman sits right in the middle of the Bible serving to be the bane of existence for women everywhere, but because she is a woman of excellence, a woman who draws forth blessings from others, a woman after God's heart per se, we are to be like her. In a nutshell, the mountain is our imperfection on the road to God's desired perfection.
We see her perfection and our lack thereof, and wham! An insurmountable mountain. Except, God never asks anything of us we cannot do. The one thing we could not do--be perfect enough to save ourselves--He made provision for. He's no dummy. If we are smart enough to know we can't be that perfect, so is He, and therefore, He had to have made provision for us to become this woman of biblical note. Either that, or we really don't understand the perfection He sees in her.
Honestly, I think it is both.
I am convinced no human being could accomplish all this woman does on her (or his, for that matter) own. No one could be that diverse, that sure of herself, that organized, that upbeat, that...everything in her humanness. A few weeks ago I posted on her core identity and where she gained wisdom, insight, and strategy.
It's more than that, though. It's not just that she knows how to do her to do list. I think it has to do with her understanding God's to do list. Jesus only gave us two "to do's"--Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.
So this is what I am pondering: how does one exchange a "to do" list for a "to love" life?
I confess I am not really sure, but when I look at the mountain of perfection through the lens of a "to love life", suddenly it doesn't look like an impossible feat of my climbing a sheer face all by myself, knowing I'm going to fall and look stupid multiple times. Instead, it looks like an exciting adventure filled with laughter, fun, and amazing memories, and I can't help but think others will look at it and realize it is the exact adventure they've been seeking, too.
Lord, I come to the cross and ask you to kill all preconceived ideas I have about being a perfect woman. I ask you to crucify all misconceptions about serving you and what you find important and valuable. I take up my cross--the cross that says I'm worth dying for and so are the ones around me. I take up my identity as desired, loved, totally forgiven, totally free, and totally yours. I ask you to crucify my "to do list" mentality and transform my mind to a "to love" life. Love through me. Bring life to others by loving them through me. Bring life to me by correcting me when I do not receive your love either from you directly or via blessings of others. Father, your Word says you are love. I choose to crucify a spotless house, empty sink, immaculate nails, performance in every way to please others. I choose to crucify all forms of activities that are born of fear of rejection and not out of love. I choose to crucify the lie-Jerri that thinks there is an absolute right and absolute wrong, the lie-Jerri that thinks things have to be a specific way or they are not acceptable. I choose to take up the Jerri loved as she is, the one you delight in, the one who knows people are more important than clean floors and hearts are more important than dusted shelves. I choose to put on the Jerri that is willing to take detours and side roads of all kinds to show love to people--including the ones in my own home--that you want to love and value. Father, I don't really understand the "to love" life, but I want to. I want to live it with abandon to everything else. And, Lord, if people don't understand, I'll know I'm in good company. Explode forth the "to love" life in me that you want me to live, that you want to live in and through me. I'm ready. I love you. Amen.
Copyright Jerri Phillips 2009