The Dark Side of Idealism

Photo by David Woo via Creative Commons

Photo by David Woo via Creative Commons

I came undone there on the floor of the downstairs bathroom, all sobs and chest heaving for air.

“Did someone die?” my husband asks through the crack in the door.

No death except the quiet passing away of my idealism. Those cruel visions of my better self melted right there on the tile floor.

It was the kind of weeping that had been building up for months, maybe even years, and it erupted like Mt. St. Helen.

“You’re scaring the kids,” he says about 15 minutes later.

“Just keep them upstairs,” I muster. “I’ll be up to put them to bed in a minute.”

One minute turned into another 15 as I realized I couldn’t hold back the tears, nor should I.

I wept for my inability to be a better mother, a more accomplished writer, a better equipped tutor or more caring friend.

I wept for my lack.

Like Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse I surrendered my idealism. I waved my white flag to God right there beside the toilet.

Some days our biggest enemy doesn’t prowl around like a roaring lion, it stares at us in the mirror.

It’s in the giving up of our goals and plans and our self-imposed deadlines that we can embrace God’s plans for us.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

When we receive His grace each day, we take in His power, His perplexing strength to overcome our weaknesses.

I know these God paradoxes well.

It’s in the bending down to serve when we are lifted high.

It’s the open, empty hands God fills.

When we are weak, we’re really strong because His strength is made perfect in OUR weakness.

But these upside-down kingdom principles are only beautiful to a mind that’s been renewed. To all else, God’s ways are nonsensical, utter foolishness.

Despite knowing God’s grace is sufficient for me, I often try to perfect myself.

I want to be strong and flawless. I tire of being that earthen vessel the glory of God shines through. How about you? Do you long for God remove your weaknesses?

Asking for help is not my strong suit, but I’m learning to ask for help from people—and God.

But I’m relearning how to surrender each hour, each moment to God. And it’s in this place where our lives intersect with the abundant life Christ died to give us.

Giving up is the first step to abiding with Christ. Walking in the Spirit happens when we trade our comfortable pace to keep step with His Spirit.

Matthew Henry’s words I read earlier this week keep coming back, reminding me to keep seeking the Living Water.

“Sometimes He keeps the cistern empty; that He may bring us to Himself, the Fountain.”

f

9 thoughts on “The Dark Side of Idealism

  1. I want to be strong and flawless. I tire of being that earthen vessel the glory of God shines through. How about you? Do you long for God remove your weaknesses?

    Perfectionism is a thing of the past for me. It began to fade when I realized that in order to really love people I would have to come down off my perfectionistic high horse and walk with the people. People cannot relate to us when we appear strong and flawless. People don’t see Jesus’s light shining through our cracks when we have no cracks. Jesus gave up the strength and flawless perfection of His throne to walk among us – in our weakness and earthly limitations.

    Good for you for waving the white flag because another paradox is that when we finally surrender our desires, He accomplishes in us a better version of them.

  2. The beginning of the post made me want to cry for (with) you.

    “Some days our biggest enemy doesn’t prowl around like a roaring lion, it stares at us in the mirror.

    It’s in the giving up of our goals and plans and our self-imposed deadlines that we can embrace God’s plans for us.” I also loved how you talked about weeping for your lack. Something about it.sigh.

    <3

  3. Thank you Trish this is a lesson I am struggling with and your words really touched my heart. I am trying so hard to be perfect right now however there are so many physical problems it is so hard.

  4. Im so proud of you my daughter! I know I wasn’t always the best when you were growing up , but I made a covenant with God when you were little. I promised to take you to church and try to introduce you to Jesus if the Lord would take it when you became teenagers, because things weren’t so good when I was a teenager. I wanted things better for my children. The Lord is amazing in coming thru for me! You know him and that’s what it takes in this life! Awesome blog you have! Love you,, Mom

Leave a Reply