Just because something is real doesn’t mean we like it. Somehow when words like “transparent” and “authentic” come into the conversation there is an underlying assumption that because it’s real and authentic we’ll like it. But there are quite a few things that are real which I prefer covered up. Vegetables come to mind. I do like my broccoli quite covered in cheese. Smells are another. Some personal qualities also come to mind. I don’t like the way I back down from things sometimes. Or the way I try to make myself look better by hiding my flaws. Those things are real. They are true of me, and I don’t really like it. In fact, there are times when I find myself quite disappointed in my true state. I thought by now I might be further along than I am in so many areas.
Owning disappointment is not for the fainthearted. Maybe this is true because once admitted, there are choices to be made. I remember a night when I stayed up crying out to God over the disappointment I felt with my life. Not one area escaped dismay. I felt let down in myself, my ministry, my husband, my kids…nothing I saw looked like what I had hoped or envisioned. Where did that leave me? Tears flowed long and hard. When they passed, a clean, cleared-out sense emerged like the air after a good rain. Peace came. In admitting the depth of my disappointment, my choices became clear: keep hiding it, keep trying to fix it, or accept it. Accept the real. Accept the things I don’t like. Accept that this is me.
Acceptance doesn’t come easy. Probably because we associate acceptance with complacence. But the two words couldn’t be more different. Just because I accept something doesn’t mean I’m indifferent to the need or desire for change. In accepting what is true, part of acceptance is owning that I can’t change certain things. But when I come to acceptance, it allows the possibility of embracing that which feels so hard…of loving it as God does. And how does God love? Completely, not complacently. Unconditionally. With His purposes in mind. Personally. Globally. With full knowledge. With absolute strength. With no end. So that when He loves a thing, He does something with it we can’t. He makes the whole beautiful.
All He needs from us is surrender. To say “Yes” to living with the gap between what we have and what we want. To let Him take the ache of disappointment and redeem it…however He will…in His own way…in His own time.
Acceptance is not just owning what is true. But it is coming to understand that the hard thing exists in the world of God’s love. And though I don’t understand why it’s there, I choose to accept it within the context of His love.
Action: What comes to mind as you sit with these thoughts? You may want to make a list of things you dislike most about yourself or your life. How do you imagine Jesus being with you in those things? How would you describe His eyes, His posture, and His mood? Journal your prayer.