In the Raw: Perfect

My mom has said it often: Ironing is a great way to get warm in the winter and a time to think.

Though I like being warm and thinking, I still choose to iron as little as possible. I find as many ways/shortcuts to avoid ironing as I can. But, there are those moments (The Engineer’s work pants got left in the dryer) when ironing is a necessity.

One of those moments is today. I’m standing at this squeaky ironing board with steam hissing from my old iron. (Even though, the Engineer’s bachelor iron is probably better than mine, I prefer my old trusty one – something about the feel of it.) I see impossible-looking wrinkles and know that with a bit of heat and some applied steam, they will disappear into perfectly smooth.

These things tumble into other thoughts…
church.
friendships.
loneliness.
fake happy.
people.
hurt.
pain.
church.

All of a sudden, I’m desperately wishing that each wrinkle was connected to something on that list and my heat and steam could flatten it and make it perfect. ​

Perfect. No church is. No relationship is. No person is.

There’s the problem. I keep wanting to arrive at Perfect. I want to find that person who is going to go the distance with a friendship. Maybe that person will magically appear at a Bible Study or the grocery store or at church. Someone who sees the value of friendship together not as an afterthought. Someone who is okay with my quirky.

Reality is… you have to go through a lot of frogs to find one worth keeping. I’d prefer to skip the frogs.

Same is true for church.

Just like healthy food or good choices, you do them not because you particularly like it at that moment but because you know you need it.

Church is like that sometimes.

I know I need to be reminded that I am not the center of the universe. I am not the one who I worship. I must be reminded of my rightful place in the universe: face down at His feet. 

That part of church I love. I am right-minded. I am whole. I am full. I could spend way more time in that place remembering how I fit in His world.

The hard part is that church is made up of people: messed-up sinners just like me. When we all get together, we are a gigantic bunch of messed-up sinners who pretend we aren’t really that bad.

I don’t want to be a happy plastic church person but yet I do. 

Perfect looks so nice. It feels safe. Especially if you put it all out there before and had to collect the fall-out. It would be easier if the pieces weren’t in the form of relationships. Gallon containers would be preferable.

However…

“but this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end:
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in him.’ ” (Lam. 3:20-24 ESV)

So. I’m still standing at that ironing board. The iron is making smooth where the wrinkles seemed impossible. And I call this to mind. I tell my soul. My heart remembers truth.

I remember that the church I get so irritated with was the same church Christ calls His bride.
I remember that the church is only messed-up people with baggage that would make Everest look like an anthill.
I remember that Christ loves me and those messed-up people. And our love for each other proves Whom we follow.
I remember God never leaves us as we are. He doesn’t give up on us. He is exactly what I need in each situation I face.

…and therefore I have hope.

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