"Our incredulity in the face of God’s immense love, and also self-hate or an unyielding sense of guilt, can be formidable obstacles to God’s love and are often subtle and unrecognized forms of pride, in putting our ‘bad’ above his mercy."
I’ve been processing (I know – surprise, surprise). I had so much to think about from my conversation with Preston the other night. We are alike in so many ways and understand each other to a degree that is down right scary. And Preston has the ability to call me on things in such a compassionate way that brings me clarity. It is in our nature – both of us – to be overly self critical. In a constant state of self-analysis and self-desconstruction. Do we enjoy this? No. Does it annoy people around us? Guaranteed. Do we wish we could stop? Most definitely. But it is an internal battle that is constantly engaged. I have standards that I hold myself to and these standards are on saint proportions. The only major problem is that I am not a saint. I am human. Yes, I, Melissa, am human. Now, each of you know this. You have no difficulties understanding and believing this, I am quite sure. You see my imperfections and flaws and yet, most of you, still choose to love me – or at the very least tolerate me. And you really give it no more thought than you give to your weekend plans. I, however, wallow in this mud-pit of self-critique chastising myself for not forgiving more quickly; for not loving more; for not living and thinking more selflessly.
Resulting consequences of this mindset:
1. When people genuinely like me and care for me I am truly amazed and humbled by their choice.
2. It has helped me to have a viable schema with which to pathetically grasp the incredulousness of grace.
3. I can tend to be a very self-absorbed person.
4. I rob myself of the freedom found in Christ.
5. There is a tendency to keep people at a safe distance so they don’t see your weaknesses or true nature. The more people get to know you, the more likely they are to … well, know you. And that can’t be good, can it? Not if I assume they are expecting to find perfection just like I’m expecting perfection there to be.
But most aren’t expecting to find perfection. They would be worried if they did. It is only me that is expecting such a ridiculous and impossible thing.
So how do I learn to not expect so much? How do I learn to give myself a break? How do I learn extend grace to myself as well as to others? These are rhetorical questions to myself tonight. I don’t have the energy tonight to answer them. I think that it is simply enough tonight to ask the questions. It is a small step in the right direction.