I am in the middle of a seventeen day vacation with my kids. Seventeen days straight of being able to be with my kids! Many of you may not comprehend the joy I feel in saying that because you may not have tasted the loneliness divorce brings to the non-custodial parent. In the last four years of divorce, the longest I recall being able to be with my kids in successive days was about seven. In case you haven’t caught on, seventeen is more than seven…that’s right, it’s seven plus a TEEN! Holy Puberty Batman! That’s stinking awesome! Seriously, I am more than happy to deal with my sixteen year old, love struck, son who spends twenty-two hours a day texting his girlfriend and the other two hours talking about how he misses her. (on a side note; We had lunch and went to a movie with said girlfriend and her mother yesterday who couldn’t stop talking about what a gentleman my son is! Well, he gets it honest!)
Anyhoo, as I type this I am about to get that wonderful young man as well as my beautiful ten year old daughter up for phase two of our vacation. Did I mention that it’s a SEVENTEEN day vaca?!!!!! As I’m thinking about the wonderful time we had in the mountains of Tennessee last week, I am reminded of the first day and a post I wanted to write earlier but was too busy riding roller coasters and breathing mountain air! Yay me!
I woke up that morning and was about to begin packing the car. As I grabbed my duffle bag filled with my clothes (wait, does anyone say duffle bag anymore? Did I just lose cool points for that? **face-palm**) I picked the bag up and suddenly fear came over me. Sweat began to break out and my hands began to shake. Have you ever seen the cinematic trick where the background suddenly stretches further back and the focal point of the shot gets closer? Oh yeah, that totally happened. It was both awesome and absolutely terrifying all at once! My knees got weak and my heart began pounding. Okay, that really didn’t happen BUT it would have had I filmed that scene because I was freaking out.
Why was I freaking out? I remembered that I did not pack a single pair of long pants, only shorts! (cue the screeching string section)
I know what you are thinking, what’s the big deal? A simple case of Much Ado About Nothing you say? You have to understand, I rarely ever wear shorts. I am a jeans guy through and through. I wear jeans to church with a dress shirt and jacket. I wear jeans when I go to Walmart. I wear jeans when I go swimming! Okay, I went a little off course there. I don’t wear jeans swimming, although, back in the day I totally rocked Jorts in the pond! Whoop! Whoop! (Mullet not included)
I have never really been a shorts guy. With that said, I have been trying to break out of my jeans only mentality the last couple of years and that is why I purposely chose to only pack shorts the night before. Yet, there I was, shuddering at the thought of four days with no jeans. I don’t really know why that is. I don’t have chicken legs. My leg muscles are fairly well defined, they are very white but hey, it is still spring. I mean, come on, give a jeans guy a break! I wear shorts occasionally at work when we are outside because I live in Georgia and it’s like two degrees from hell down here in the summer. Wait, who am I kidding, that’s year round except for about ten days in the winter. I’ve often wondered if it comes from my years in a very legalistic denomination that taught “modesty” and by modesty I mean shorts are off limits. Let’s not get started talking about going without a shirt in front of a woman. **gasp**
That may be part of it, but truth be told, I think it is because I feel exposed. I feel like, when I wear shorts, I am more aware of the possibility of being “found out” to not be as “smokin’ hot” as my narcissistic mind thinks I am! I say that tongue in cheek but it is somewhat true. I mean, I am jeans guy for a reason, I look good as a jeans guy. I tend to dress in what many would call the hipster style and my body build suits that look well. But I wonder, when I wear shorts, if I am pulling off my “good looking” act very well. I worry that people might not see me in the same way with shorts. I fear they may see me as…well, me. Long legged, skinny mini, plain old Lee.
So, what purpose does the above have in the grand scheme of this blog? It just so happens that same morning I was in a discussion with someone about my tendency to poke fun at my not so “hero” ways. As I’m sure you have read, I like to take my inconsistencies, tear them apart, and find a spiritual sign pointing to God in them. Many, as this follower pointed out, would call this self-deprecating and I can see that. However, I don’t think that is totally a bad thing. Not that I am saying we should spend our days putting ourselves down (and that is something I battle with. I am very critical of myself). However, I believe everything happens in our life points us to God if we’ll take the time to see it and our imperfections are no different. As I told this follower, what many see as self-deprecating I see as taking the less than polished parts of my life and finding God. If I simply came in here and laughed at myself then it would be worthless. It would be narcissism at it’s best, disguised as a twisted humility. However I work hard to always end my posts by pulling a spiritual truth out of the muck and mire of my life.
The main reason I am choosing to use this particular technique is because I think it is high time we in the church learn it is okay to be transparent. It is okay to not be okay. We spend so much energy trying portray ourselves as perfect and “beyond reproach” when the truth is we aren’t…and the world knows that all too clearly. One of the things that sets the Bible apart from other “holy” books is its transparency. It doesn’t portray it’s heroes as perfect but instead highlights their imperfections and then shows how God uses those imperfections to show the world His glory. That is what I want to do with this blog. Should I get the desires of my heart and become the “hero of the faith” I desperately long to be, I want the world to be able to say, “that dude was just as messed up as me, BUT GOD…”
Maybe one of the ways my “hero status” will come about is by helping the church to lighten up and laugh at their mistakes. My goodness, we have become so serious that we have lost sight of the fact that it GOOD news! Yes, we have to be serious about our sin. Yes, we have to tell the world the danger that lies ahead. I am certainly not saying we should not do that, but even Jesus took time out of His day to play with the children.
It is high time for someone, with sound doctrine, to say, “it is okay to admit we are not perfect. It is okay to show our not so perfect side and yes, it is even okay to laugh at ourselves because at the end of the day it is all GRACE! Even our less that hero’esque moments! In the real world, even heroes do dumb things, it is how we choose to let those moments affect our direction that refines our hero status. Maybe, just maybe, if Christians spent more time getting real with our lack of perfection and admitted we don’t always “get it right”, the world might actually begin see humility in the church and you know what happens when God people humble themselves…
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land – 2 Chronicles 7:14
So, let’s go out there in our best pair of shorts and bare our soul to the world, letting them see His glory in our imperfections! Oh, and as for my pants free vacation…I threw a pair of pants in at the last minute…you know, baby steps. Don’t judge me, that’s just how I roll.
Peace, Love, and Awakening!
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