Duct Taped Edges
“Will I always be rough around the edges?” I was listening to a podcast by Matt Chandler and he was talking about Biblical community and how he loves that in a church small group you can have the woman who’s grown up in the church who feels guilty for the stealing the pen from the bank earlier in the day sitting next to the woman who recently quit working at a strip club and is puffing away on a cigarette not thinking anything of it. He was talking about those who are new in the faith and are rough around the edges and their importance for the church community as a whole. That prompted me to ask God about my edges. Despite having faithfully, with lots of stumbles along the way, followed God for the last 18 years, my edges are still really rough. God has cleaned up my language for the most part, but when I’m in a rough season of life, I have to fight the sailor that still resides in me, the remnant of my sin (Romans 7), that is tucked away in the deepest recesses that I don't even know exist till they pop their heads out. And despite having spent almost two decades allowing God to purify my heart and being so amazed at how far he has taken me, there is still a thirteen year old boy that pops out from time to time with juvenile, inappropriate jokes, and I still think they’re hysterical. And although I do not have the short fuse that I had before and am literally in awe of how God has tamed and healed my tempter, from time to time it still rises up and usually at the people I care most about… and I hate it. I do well living below my means and love my simple life. But sometimes when I’m down, instead of running to God, I hit the mall for some retail therapy to numb what’s going on inside of me. And although God has brought me to this amazing place full of self respect and true self confidence, sometimes the fifteen year old who used to leave the house in one outfit but have something way skimpier in her backpack to change into the moment I knew my dad couldn’t see me, wants to come out and wear something I know is drawing the wrong kind of attention and tempting some of the men who cross my path. Again, praise God that in most of these areas when I’m tempted that’s what they are, temptations. They’re not even my real desires anymore and God has given me the strength and habits so often to not give in, but still my edges are rough. And while I want to continue to allow God to change my desires, actions, habits, and thoughts, there’s a part of me that likes some of my rough edges. I mean I don’t want to cuss and I don’t want to dress like a hooch and I really do want all of my words and actions to glorify God, but at the same time, I don’t want all that to come at the cost of my realness. I want authentic holiness. You see there was a time in my life where I probably looked like a “better” follower of Christ than I do now. Through behavior modifications I had strategically wrapped duct tape around all my rough edges in a way that fooled most of the people most of the time into thinking that God has brought me to a way holier place than I actually was.
And even though years of hiding my edges had become my norm, you can only fake it so long and because God loves me so much, He wasn’t content to leave me that way. So He brought me to a situation where I was surrounded by a bunch of other duct taped edges and I saw my hypocrisy for what it was. Also at same time I was finding I needed more and more tape because my edges were busting through at every turn, it was getting harder to fake the facade I had so delicately created. So one day I started to take the tape off and man was I surprised by how jagged my edges really were. As I spent years climbing into the depths of my heart, allowing God to show me the deep wounds and heal them one by one, I realized that exposing my rough edges is a key to freedom. And not only allowing myself to see them and sitting with them with God, but allowing others to see the real me was key to being able to breathe freely. Somewhere along the way I came to own that I am in fact a hot mess. I am a bundle of wasted potential at times who can come in like a hurricane and leave a trail of stuff falling out of my oversized bag, that despite being cleaned out every week still looks as if it’s been collecting things for years. And when I am in a season where my heart is struggling with God, it is pretty obvious because I drop more of those four letter little words that make me sound more ignorant that I really am. And there are still times I need to ask for forgiveness for getting too loud when I’m angry at someone or lashing out when I feel vulnerable. And there are many things that I still forget to do, and were it not for autopay, I’m sure I’d have a credit score of -592 because of bills I’d simply forgotten to pay while the money set aside for it sits in my account. Yes, no one who knows me even slightly well would ever confuse me for someone who has it all together because I strive to live duct tape free, well around the edges of my heart at least. And of all the beautiful things God created when He made me, I think that is my favorite. I used to think that beauty was found in perfection and that is what I would strive for. It’s so amazing to me how when we stop and allow God to renew our minds and heal our hearts, we see the beauty in the imperfection. I mean that’s where He gets the glory from anyway, right (2 Corinthians 12:9)?