brain farts, Life in youth ministry, Uncategorized

Incomplete

incomplete

Does the word ‘incomplete‘ stress anybody else out? Leaving tasks or jobs or assignments only half-done, or slightly attempted? This is something that really irks me – really pushes my limits. Even if it’s just the laundry – bringing in the dry stuff, but not going the next step and actually folding and putting it away. Bringing it in is only half the job. It’s incomplete. Blegh.

The last few weeks have been filled with assignments, readings, power-points and even some oral presentations as I squelch my way through an intensive Certificate IV. I worked my rear end off in the first 2 weeks to stay up to speed with everyone in my class who was able to attend face-to-face sessions whilst I was not. I submitted stuff, I worked into the wee hours and I bailed on things like vacuuming and doing the dishes.

This meant my house felt incomplete. It meant my weeks felt unfinished because I hadn’t done what I usually do.

Then I got – by the grace of God – to the final sections of this course (which has been a struggle at the best of times) and realised there’s a possibility I may not complete it due to some of the final requirements. So my house is back to being completed on a weekly basis, but now my assignments and my course may go incomplete.

Anyone else feeling that tension? Urgh. The very thought that I worked so hard for something that might now actually not eventuate brings on the tears and the panic and the guilt. The ‘incompletness’ of it makes me feel like I was never going to be good enough to finish it in the fist place, so why did I try? Why did I try something new?

During my latest episode of stress induced guilt and tears (or was it guilt induced tears and stress…?) over it all, this memory flashed into my mind:

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A lovely friend had this made up for my birthday. It’s one-of-a-kind. Hand-made. Unique to me and created for who she knows I am. And you know what? I got a little perspective. I am not this course – complete or incomplete. I am not the vacuuming – done or not done. I am not the washing or the folding or the dishes or the gardening…I’m actually none of the things that I put such incredible pressure on myself to have complete.

I’m the sort of person who gets lost, pretty quick, in the concept that my feelings or my actions or even my thoughts or what someone says about me is what I am.

God’s Word says the opposite though – there’s so much more to who I am in Christ than what I can complete. I am actually enough already, regardless of whether the washing gets done today or not.

And I am enough already regardless of whether I get a full course completion or not. Who am I performing in the course for anyway…? God? Me? The facilitator? My boss? At the end of the day, the skills and knowledge that I learned along the way aren’t forgotten because I may or may not get a piece of paper at the end. The people I met and the conversations I had during that time aren’t nothing. Every experience I have is worth it because I learnt something and it was were I was meant to be at that time…so complete or not, I guess what I’m learning now is that the outcome doesn’t define my worth or competence.

Completing the course doesn’t define my abilities and role as a student or an employee and completing the dishes or the laundry doesn’t define my abilities and role as a mother and wife either…I. Am. Enough.

brain farts

Shallow Hal

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Have you seen this movie? I watched it again recently and I remembered how much I loved it the second I hit ‘play’! There is so many great lessons, observations and truths in this movie that I just wanted to share.

If you’ve seen this movie, you’ll know that Jack Black’s character is basically a superficial jerk when it comes to women – he sees only what is on the outside and judges the women based on what he thinks is beautiful. Then he gets ‘hypnotised’ and sees more of what’s on the inside of women he meets – their inner beauty outshines anything on the outside that he would have previously turned his nose up at.

He meets Gwyneth Paltrow’s character – he sees her as a trim, leggy, stunning young woman and soon falls in love with her…but his image of her comes crashing down when his ‘hypnotism’ wears off and he sees her as the world sees her.

This movie is such a great portrayal of all the issues of ‘image’ and ‘identity’ that we face in the world. We are oftentimes unconsciously trained to judge a book by its cover – what is she wearing, what is she eating, how often does she exercise, where did she get that haircut? It’s always outward focused, that we forget the outside is merely the beginning. The story of who a person really is goes so much deeper than what we see at face value.

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I love when Jack Black learns this lesson. He loves Gwyneth Paltrow regardless of what society says is ‘beautiful’ – in his eyes now, she is the definition of beautiful because he knows her, he doesn’t just see her.

This movie was a great reminder for me to make sure that I am knowing those around me, not just seeing them. That I make the effort to connect on a heart & mind level – to know what makes people tick rather than writing them off and being judgemental on what I see on the outside.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1 Sam. 16:7

Have you ever disregarded someone based on what you see of them, rather than getting to know them?