Thursday, January 17, 2013

Everyone has always told me how good I am, but let me tell you why I’m not

 It’s not like from birth I decided I was going to be good.  Though I think this might end up being the aim, or goal of many a child, and subconsciously that of an adult, I don’t even think this was my desire.  Not that I was a naughty child, hardly, I really was quite good.  It wasn't a decision. It was a mannerism, a learned behavior, a result of what I needed to be to stay happy, stay quiet, unknown.  Obedient, mature, but free, I was so free.  Free to play, run, laugh, do with my neighborhood friends anything that we please, which wasn't much except ride our bikes and play with our dolls.  At night we’d play football or kick the can with our big brothers. That’s all. If only I could relive those days. 

Many people wish to go back to high school or college, relive things, do them differently, I would go back to ten and live it over and over and over again. 

While my friends seemed to always be getting grounded, I never was. Only a few times can I remember being in trouble at all.  What I liked was being best buds with the trouble maker, I always have.  So, I might get myself into trouble, but I wasn't the creator of the trouble. Just the tag along.  Just the side kick.  Curiosity didn't kill this cat, I kept getting away and away.  Slinking away from the mess that I didn't really make.  As if I had no part in it, when really, I did.  Well, when you do grow up (although I find it to be unlucky that we ever do), you learn about yourself.  All the bad things and selfish things and scary things about you are all there, waiting for you to discover. It’s terrifying.  It’s kind of gross, too.  Who really wants to know all the bad things about yourself? I sure don’t.  But I just do. Cause I have this thing called self-awareness, and I have a lot of it.  Maybe I had it as a kid and that’s what kid-self-awareness looks like. Anyway, I was still friends with all the bad kids, and I started to see why. I started dating the bad kids, and then I really started to see why. Actually, it took a long time. A long time of looking back and realizing, just because they are bad doesn't mean… I’m good.  I’m not good! I’m a no good-bad-friender, pretending to be good. This seems much worse than just being bad.

And so has become the biggest catch-22 of my life. 

How do I become less good, but still be, good? Like, truly good? Not a goody-two-shoes or a good person, but, you know, that having a good heart, a good soul, inside and out, good. I keep using the word good on purpose just to overuse it, by the way.  I know it’s starting to sound annoying. 

What I know is that it’s not how you look, it’s not the things you say, sometimes, it’s not the things you do.  It’s not how your Facebook looks or whether you swear or not or if you go to church or not or what you wear.  And while it’s none of these things, somehow, it is still.  Sorry, it is confusing, I know.  I’m still confused.  Confused until I hear it, until I know it, until I see it. Goodness.  More often then you’d think, I see it.  Not nearly enough, I don’t see it.  It can come from anyone, anywhere, it can look like anything. 

What I have noticed is when I stopped seeing good as only what I thought it looked like, I started seeing good in places I never did before, in people I never expected.  And these people, in their most feeble, weak ways, are good.  It is not weak, it is so strong.  It is so good.  When I see someone do good that is not known for being good, it is like a little secret whispered into my ear, and there are few things I can think of that bring me so much joy. 

Jesus in us is what is good, what is the only good.  Now I know that if anyone tells me I’m good, then I have to just hope that it’s Him and not me.  Don’t let it be my goodness, God, please.  My good is not good. To re-learn good isn’t to become bad. To re-learn good is to go to the good-giver, the good creator, the good maker.  If there is such a thing as good, He made it and knows it and will give it to us when we’re with him.  Someday I hope my insides really are so good because he has moved around and elbowed his way all over in there so that there is no more room for my junk.  Some of my junk I’ll cradle over, cling to, but he’ll get it and toss it eventually.  I suppose if we were all episodes on HGTV no one would watch us because the renovation would just take way too long.  


Anonymous said...

Dear Emma, God loves us just the way we are, the good and the not so good parts. We surrender and He takes over, using us where and when He can. If He waited until we were all would be a long wait I think. You are right, the good things you do are God centered and inspired. Praying for you and school and work. love and prayers, nana jep

Anonymous said...

Dear Emma, I thought of you this morning when I read one of my devotion books, Bread for the Journey by Henri J. M. Nouwin. Today's devotion was about Community. He writes, " is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another. Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own (see Philippians 2:4). The question, therefore, is not 'How can we make community?' but 'How can we develop and nurture giving hearts.'" Made me think of JustEmbrace and your community. love and prayers, nana jep

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