There are many things I like about myself and who God has made me to be. I am an honest person. I have good hair.
However, somewhere along the way in my thirty-one years I have picked up some unfortunate habits/thought patterns that have woven themselves tightly into who I am. I call them my uglies. Occassionally they surface like a nasty pimple. I usually pop them and then get on with my day. Fortunately for me, and for those around me, God is calling me up and out of my uglies and towards him. This blog is partially to document that and partially to make sure that I am not that crazy. That others share in some of my struggles.
One of the many uglies that rears it's head every now and then in my life is a little something I like to call idealotry. Besides, this is my blog and I can make up words if I want to! Idealotry is the worship of the ideal life. It's the running standard in my head of what life should look like pitted against what real life looks like. The two are usually so far apart that it's not even funny.
And it's not. It's not funny. Because what usually happens is that I do not allow myself to be happy unless my ideal life matches my real life. And seriously, when does that happen? I want to look like a super model. I want my children to be scrubbed and brushed and clipped and have halos over their heads. I want my meals to look like the cover of a Racheal Ray cookbook. I want my home to look like a Restoration Hardware magazine. I want my bank account to look like...well, look like somethings in it.
And where it really hits a nerve is with the holy life. I have this ideal of what a life lived for Jesus looks like. It's radical. Like, sell my house, move to a third world country, and start an orphanage with my family. I have an ideal of what the Church should look like. This glossy picture of open homes, open checkbooks, open hearts, provision and forgiveness. I have an ideal of just leaving reality behind and just wearing burlap or whatever the saints of old did and just proclaiming Jesus Christ to whoever doesn't run away from me when they see my fleas. It sounds pretty, minus the fleas.
And I'm not even sure that my ideals are mistaken. My mistake is the amount of control I relinquish to them on a daily basis.
So, often times I spend my reality; this present life; unhappy. My reality is not even close to my idealotry. I am no supermodel. That's so far from the truth that I laughed out loud as I typed it. Madeline has been in a time out three times today. We eat frozen pizzas a lot. As I survey my present life and the ideal life it breeds discontentment. A dangerous thing. Because I get so stuck on the picture in my head that I begin to think that I will only be fully happy if the two match up. And it sucks the joy right out of my reality. Thievery.
And I know that I'm not alone in this. Daily I listen to loved ones who struggle to find happiness with where they live, what they look like, the amount of money they have and the circumstances that they are living in. If only we could win the lottery. If only I could lose these last 20 pounds. If only I could move back to be closer to my family. If only...then. I am in no way diminishing the hardships of anyones life...but where it becomes dangerous is when we refuse to live fully in our present lives because we are so wrapped up in what "should be." Idealotry is debilitating.
I also realize that there are times where God is calling us up and out of the way we do life into a higher standard of living. But I don't believe that God is honored by our daydreaming of the ideal life. I believe He is honored by us pulling up our bootstraps, with His help, and tackling our days with passion and fervor, even if they are not what we want them to be. I believe that God is glorified when we hand over our ideals, and instead of living to the impossible standards in our head, we allow Him to guide us and move us into a life more fulfilling, rewarding, and exciting than we could even imagine!
My God is a God who calls out to the deep. Who is willing to get dirty with me and sift through the mess that is me...keeping the good, adding more goodness, and throwing my uglies as far as the east is from the west.