The Cracks In Me

John 1:45-49 (the message)
Philip went and found Nathaniel and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth!” Nathaniel said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding.”
    But Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.”
    When Jesus saw him coming he said, “There’s a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body.”
    Nathaniel said, “Where did you get that idea? You don’t know me.”
    Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.”
    Nathaniel exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!”   

As I was blow drying Rivers’ hair this morning I thought I heard a thud.  I shut off the dryer and listened.  Nothing.  So I turned it back on and we continued getting ready for day number four of third grade.  Suddenly Leah appears and says, MOM!!  Leighton fell out of the high-chair!!  Oh, Lord, Jesus.  I took off running.

There she was, my nearly 11-month-old daughter, on the kitchen floor crying.  I scooped her up for inspection and comfort (mine and hers).  Not a bump, not a scratch, not even a red mark.  Just frightened.  I then began to whisper familiar words I have so often spoken as my mommy-heart galloped…Thank You, Jesus.  Thank You. 

I realize you may be wondering how on earth my daughter fell from her high-chair this morning.  You may even judge me when I tell you.  Sigh…I did not have her buckled in properly.  Of course the tray was in place (securely I thought) and there is no way she is coming out when the tray is in place (properly).  She was not eating.  I had already fed her and she was content so I let her sit in the chair as I helped Rivers with her cute little layered haircut.  As I stood there with Leighton in my arms, I kept looking at the tray lying on the floor.  Kept waiting for it to speak up and answer the question I kept asking…How did this happen?  No need for miracle high-chair tray responses.  Obviously, I had not secured the tray completely.

I could pretend this kind of thing never happens in my life.  I could pretend a lot of things.  But I hate pretending.  I hate the burden that comes with pretending I’m better than I really am.  Pretending I have it all together all of the time.  Pretending I have all of the answers.  Pretending I never make stupid mistakes that could have serious consequences if not for God’s grace.  Grace.  The liniment for my sometimes weary, striving heart.

I read this passage sitting on my deck Monday morning.  I was intrigued by Nathaniel’s responses and acutally had a good laugh.  I kept reading over it, something inside of me craving such honesty.  Such a discard of pretense.

When Philip tells Nathaniel about finding Jesus, his response is less than subtle.  Nazareth?  You’ve got to be kidding.  And as they approach Jesus, He comments on Nathaniel’s nature and is on the receiving end of his blunt honesty:  Where did you get that idea?  You don’t know me. 

Maybe we read this and imagine him rude.  Disrespectful.  Doesn’t Nathaniel realize how he sounds?  Where are his manners?  Does  he not realize who Jesus is?  No, I don’t think he does!  Why should he pretend otherwise?

What if Nathaniel had smiled and agreed with Philip’s excitement at finding Messiah when on the inside he was thinking, Yeah right!  What if, as they approached Jesus, Nathaniel had been on his best, most inauthentic behavior and feigned a belief he did not truly hold?  Would Jesus give him merit points for pretending to believe in spite of his questions and doubt?  Would Jesus be pleased with his mannerly pretending?  His riskless inoffense?

I’m drawn in when I read the words Jesus used to describe Nathaniel.  Not a false bone in his body.  See, I believe Jesus can do amazing things in my most authentic and imperfect self as I let “false bones” break.  Jesus wasn’t offended or intimidated by Nathaniel’s honesty.  Jesus is the truth and He knew that however brusk his manner, Nathaniel was all about the truth.

I’ve read this passage before and thought,  So what he was under the fig tree?  What is the big deal about being under a fig tree and why was that so amazing to Nathaniel?  This week, however, another thought comes.  I’m no Bible Scholar, so this is just my thought, but I believe when Jesus told Nathaniel that He had seen him under the fig tree He was referring to something meaningful.  Some experience or event, a moment even, that had impressed itself upon Nathaniel’s heart while sitting beneath this fig tree.  Something, when referenced by Jesus, that would enable Nathaniel to immediately recognize Him.  And because Nathaniel wasn’t interested in pretense or pretending, his belief was genuine.  He had not accepted or pretended to believe or be something he wasn’t for someone else’s sake.  When he finally saw the light it wasn’t a glimmer.  It was full out blinding and beautifully bright.

Really, what does my daughter’s fall this morning have to do with Nathaniel’s transparency?

Every so often, more than you probably think, I ask God if I should quit writing this blog.  It’s interesting.  A battle within…transparency and pretending.  I have no desire to live or write in pretense.  And yet, as I write to encourage I sometimes feel a pressure mounting…the enemy snicker…raging accusation…How can you keep writing when you still struggle so often with the very things you write about?

Sigh.  So, sometimes I want to quit just to relieve the pressure and shut down the judge and jury.  See, if I take a break from writing about attitudes and surrender, about trust and gratitude, maybe I can take a break from the reflection I see in the very things I write about.  After all, everything of this blog comes from my own heart, my own life.  The transparency can be heavy.

Perhaps the weight will break every last “false bone” in my life.  Leave every struggle to pretend, every need to never offend, every pretense about who I was, who I think I should be and the fear of what I’ll never be, in pieces at a kitchen table.  An old laptop baring witness to each small fracture as stroke after stroke the keys tell my real life Jesus story and the pretense breaks apart.  I’m so imperfect.  So needy for Him.  Sometimes I grow so tired of being so needy.  And yet, in sharing my improperly secured high-chair stories, the kind of things I want to hide, I find the truth of it all.  I’m no beacon of light, no example of perfection.  Jesus is perfection.  Jesus is the light.

He just wants to shine through the cracks in me.

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2 thoughts on “The Cracks In Me

  1. Don’t quit! My guess is your honesty and openness about your imperfection (that we all share) is what draws people in the most. Perhaps your insecurities about your walk, your parenting, your marriage, etc, perhaps your admission of these “shortcomings” will bring many people back to Jesus.

    Take me for example. I don’t do my daily devotions. Ever. I should and it’s something I tell myself I’m going to do all the time. See. There I admit it. But taking the time to read your blog, a lot of times bringing me to tears, introspection, and getting me thinking has given me some of the substance I’m missing by not making the committment to devote time everyday to reading God’s word. Makes me ashamed of my excuses for why I don’t.

    So, see. You can’t quit.

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  2. So true. So true. First of all, I’m glad Leighton is OK. Second of all, l I have to say that God has given you such a gift of interpretation and expression that it does shine that truth through your written words. No one expects you to be perfect. This blog is honest and without pretense. God speaks through you and your experiences. He wants to show his perfection in your imperfection. Remember that.

    Love to you, Dana 🙂

    ________________________________

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