How am I messed up am I ?  Let me count the ways:

I am  insecure.  I am (often) immature.  I am (usually)  impulsive. I am (monthly) moody and hormonal.

I sometimes get panicky and paranoid.  I get angry over lame things, I act like a jerk. I yell. I nag.  I do all the things I know not to do. I self medicate with chocolate and junk food and junk entertainment- instead of turning to the healer who loves me.

It’s easier for me to forgive others than it is for me to forgive myself.  Sometimes my failings replay in my mind  like a movie and  I’m strapped in the theater seat, unable to escape from reviewing. It’s a struggle for me to stop the movie and change the show.  But I can. With God’s help.

Yup.  Told ya. I’m Messed up. I know all the reasons why I’m messed up…and I actually do a pretty good job managing the crazy… but you know what?  It doesn’t change it.

I still am.

I’m coming to realize we all are.  And it does NOT define us.

A few weeks ago I made a short video.. about how I matter. And about how YOU matter.
watch it…. let’s see if you notice what I noticed…..

Once I got past the whole “I hate my head and my voice” thing.. I noticed something about the video… as I’m talking about how much “I matter”… I’m not very convincing.  My eyes are darting to the notes I have tacked up on the chair behind the camera…I look nervous.  Honestly?  I look like I’m lying.  Or maybe like I’m just saying the right thing…Maybe, I was.

And then- I start talking about how much YOU matter.

And I believe it.  You can see it.  My eye contact changes… my demeanor changes…my voice has an authority that comes with the truth…I KNOW that “mothers” matter.  I believe that YOU matter…

It’s time I start believing that I matter.

I mean really… if I’m called to share this truth with others.. it’s kind of important that I BELIEVE it.. don’t you think?  Who believes a liar?

I am not defined by my past, I am not defined by my failures… I AM defined by who God says I am… Loved.  Cherished. Forgiven. Called.  Imperfect.  Willing. Changing.  Growing. Beautiful. Just as I am. Crazy and all.

I want to start believing it… what about you?  I think prayer is the only route to move from head belief to heart belief.. join me?

“Dear Lord… my messed-up-ness is not a surprise to you.  My crazy and my failures are not bigger than your grace.  regardless of how I feel…I am held in your love and you whisper the truth about who I really I am: I am Loved.  I am Cherished. I am Forgiven. I am Called. I am perfectly- Imperfect.  I am Willing. I am Changing. I am Growing. Help me hear your whispers of truth Lord.. and help me to believe them… I love you Lord- amen. “

Lord- I believe.. help me in my unbelief….

“Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

” ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”.……..

He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

I am one of those people who needs to have an editor- I tend to ramble… too bad you can’t hire editors to speak for you– they only deal in written words!Today- Lent has lead me to “pray for a forgiving heart”  The scripture comes from Jesus’ warning to those who tend to “orate” in prayer and pray as if it were a theatrical production.. he has helped us to ‘edit” our prayers- not to limit us,, but to show us what really matters.

Matthew 6: 9-13

7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

 9“This, then, is how you should pray:
   ” ‘Our Father in heaven,
   hallowed be your name,
 10your kingdom come,
   your will be done
      on earth as it is in heaven.
 11Give us today our daily bread.
 
12Forgive us our debts,
      as we also have forgiven our debtors.

 13And lead us not into temptation,
   but deliver us from the evil one.[a]

14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

 

The debts here- are not economic debts.  They are debts of the heart. Debts incurred through sin.  Sin is simply- missing the mark. Something we are each prone to do because of our own imperfection.  There is no bailout or stimulus package that can provide relief- only forgiveness.

The last part of this scripture holds a warning- we are forgiven.. and so we MUST forgive others. God’s only expectation is that we don’t hoarde forgiveness to ourselves.. but freely share it with those who sin against us. 

This is hard- people have hurt me… I don’t WANT to forgive them.. I want to punish them.  I doubt I’m the only one who struggles with those feelings.  Is Jesus telling me not to be angry?  Is Jesus telling me not to be hurt?  Is he telling me to forget what people have done? 

It doesn’t seem so.  I up looked Forgiveness.  It isn’t a directive on feelings- it’s a directive on actions.  The connotations mean “to set down one’s right to retaliate” .  There are lots of ways to retaliate when someone sins.. passive agressive ways.. agressive ways… no matter how subtle- they must be set aside.  I have to choose not to use them.

Why should I?  People aren’t fair.  People do things that are WRONG.  Why should I have to forgive?  The answer is simple:  Because I HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN. Jesus paid the ultimate price for my sin.. and in return, I am only requested to set down my right to retaliate.  I am asked to forgive.  Isn’t that the least I can do?  It may be the least- but it’s also: hard. I’ll need His help.

Today- I’m praying for a forgiving heart.  But first- I’m thanking Him for forgiving me- so very much.  Today- Into my Lenten Journey’s  bag goes the simple prayer that Jesus offered me… the “Our Father” of generations of followers before me.. that is my prayer.