I would like to own one of those factory machines that fold brand-new fitted sheets. I mean, does anyone really know how to fold a fitted sheet perfectly? The stupid elastic stuff makes it so hard to fold them "nicely" so they stack up prettily in your linen closet. Instead you end up just haphazardly rolling the sheet over and over your arm until it sort of "looks" folded enough and you stuff it into the back of the shelf where nobody sees.
Flat sheets, on the other hand, are every woman's dream. Every side folds corner to corner. It all lines up til you have a perfect little rectangle. If I have a choice? Sure, I'm going to pick the flat sheet every time.
As I, ahem, "folded" one such fitted sheet this morning, I was thinking about how lately my life feels like a fitted sheet. Not such an easy task, folding my life into a perfect rectangle. Doing everything "just so" and, when I'm done, putting it away on the shelf in admiration.
I'm tired of the hard stuff. Tired of trying to make my own expectations line up end to end and feeling like I'm never going to get there. Sometimes I just want to give up & roll it over and over until it resembles something barely close to the original design. And sometimes I just sit & whine, "Why couldn't I have been a flat sheet?" You know, those people you look at and think, "Their life looks so great. Everything seems so pleasant and perfect."
But, the Lord reminds me of a few things. The world needs fitted sheets. Laugh at me. Go ahead. But when you're done laughing, think about what life would be like with your bottom sheet moving all over the place. Husbands and wives would have one more thing to argue about...
I pondered the elastic for awhile. After all, it's the magic elastic that keeps your sheet in place. Elastic is stretchy, flexible, adaptable. It conforms to whatever it is wrapping around. You know that it's there, doing its job; yet you can't see it, hidden under the edge of the fabric. And when the bed is all made up and beautiful, the elastic is at the very bottom. The lowest of the lowest (well, except the bedskirt. but that's for another day...).
So when I think about the end result of my life, my goals, what I really want to look like when it's all said & done, I realize I want to be a fitted sheet after all. I want myself to be conformed to what (Who) I'm wrapped around--Jesus Christ. I want the "me" part of myself to be hidden underneath it all so that He can be showcased.
I think that's one of the reasons why I try to be transparent. I think that most people naturally want to showcase their good side. The happy occasions, the beautiful pictures, and perfect family moments. I totally get that. And normally, that's the side I err on: wanting to make sure I am not being so transparent that all I am doing is sharing the "yuck" with you. After I post things going on in my life like feeling like a crazy person or struggling with postpartum depression, I go into this panic mode where I want to retract every word I have just typed. My intention with this blog is not for it to be my yucky journal, but to share my life with you. The good, the bad, the ugly.
Having said that, I could be missing it here, but I feel like my greatest opportunities for ministry to others have come when I have laid down my "perfect-ness" and become vulnerable. I hear from so many women who tell me, "Yes, I have been there," and encourage me that I am not alone, or that they have received encouragement knowing they are not alone either.
I've also heard from other women who say that it was my testimony that spurred them on to be even more vulnerable themselves. Let's face it--in a small group setting, no one wants to be the one to say "I struggle with -------." Fill in the blank: Anger, Unforgiveness, Pornography, Slander (gossip), Lust, Pride, Envy. But I believe that the enemy (Satan) has so much power over us when we hide that stuff from each other. It is the boldness of one person saying "This is not who I am, it is a sin I struggle with, and Jesus has forgiven me" that can release others from the grip of that same sin.
People---the devil wants us to hide our yuck. He wants us to push it down and think that no one else deals with "my little problem." He wants us to think "it's not a big deal" or "God isn't really bothered when I gossip. It's just a little thing." But, if we are brave enough, vulnerable enough, we will be saved from even the little things. "By the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ) and the word of our testimony."
So I have decided I'm going to continue being vulnerable, sharing my struggles as well as my victories, in the hopes that it might minister to someone. And in the hopes that every bit of the struggle will "create in me a new heart" that is growing to be like Christ.
James 5:16 "Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."