Has anyone noticed that in contemporary Christian (particularly feminine) culture, there is a list of stuff that we’re “supposed to” work on and that list doesn’t change very quickly? It’s not a bad list. Hear me, very clearly. It.is.not.a.bad.list.* But eventually you’re done – at least for now. It’s like cleaning your house. Yeah, it’s going to get dirty again, but if you spend all your time deep-cleaning your spice cabinet, those weeds outside are never going to get dealt with. Once you get things sorted and in good order, it’s okay to leave it and go work on something else.
You know what’s also okay? Saying, “This thing here is a problem. I know I should be confessing my lack of perfection in the womanly graces, but I’m really having a problem with fear.” Confessing to a problem off the list is dangerous in some circles. That’s why I am talking about radical honesty. There are so many things that I “should be beyond” by now. And I’m not. Those words still hurt, because I still care what you think of me. I still have to forgive (will-to-forgive, including praying for their good) certain people when I think of them. “Fake it until you make it” is a world-thing. I still lie, because it’s easier than telling the truth.
If I’m faking it, faking health, I can’t get well. The *first* part of changing our lives is confession. When I tell my doctor what’s wrong with me, she can prescribe the right medicine. Although God knows more about what’s wrong with me than I do, when I suck it up and admit it, He can make the changes that need to be made.
Sometimes you have to change outside things to effect inside things. There’s nothing wrong with doing stuff ’cause it changes you. Doing stuff DOES change you. But it’s all about the heart.
The point of looking in the mirror and finding out that you have a rash is to do something about it. You can make a choice – are you going to follow the progression of your medication (once you know that it’s working) every second, or are you going to check back periodically and keep applying as needed until the rash goes away, then check back just to make sure the rash stays gone? Your choice. And it’s not an either-or thing, where you “throw your mirror away” or turn into Narcissus. The question is *why* are you staring in the mirror?
Maybe all you need to do is stay out of the poison ivy, and it’s not a mirror problem at all…
So what’s your real problem? And if it’s not one of the problems du jour, are you brave enough to speak its name?
*Hat-tip Elspeth: This is the stuff I really consider the ‘milk’ in Christian circles. Not the gospel. That’s good meat no matter how long you’ve been saved, you can get more out of the gospel. But the laundry list of stuff to fix? Milk city. Nothing wrong with it, but eventually you need something with a more teeth.