Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Permission to Fail

I was going to respond to a recent comment, but realized my response was quickly becoming too long for the little comment box. So I'll post my thoughts here. Thanks, Walking Church, for identifying the burden of the pedestal:
I don't like that burden much - it seems so unfair - I am just a redeemed man who makes his share of mistakes - most of the time 'a great guy' but frequently humbled by looking at the 'jerk' in the mirror. I guess I believe I have tasted mercy and need to extend it.
Just for the record, I don't walk around assuming men are jerks. Although my motto in high school was "Not all boys are jerks; some are dead." Until a guy snapped back with "Not all girls are dumb; some can cook." In fact, I'm pretty good at giving guys the benefit of the doubt. And more often than not, I'm the one defending the boyfriend or the husband when the girl is frustrated (or homicidal).

Not all that long ago, I had to confront myself (which can be awkward) after making a rather uncomfortable assumption about someone. In a moment of painful honesty, I knew that my disappointment had absolutely nothing to do with him. I was merely comparing him to the man I thought he was. Or wanted him to be. And that wasn't fair. Because the version in my head DOES NOT EXIST. And no one wants to be weighed against fiction. It's brain porn.

It's easy to blame Jerry Maguire for what's happening to our expectations. Too often, women become the walking wounded after investing their hearts in anticipation of a "You complete me" moment that never comes. Because, quite frankly, no broken human is going to complete another broken human. Complement? Sure. But not complete. And one of the hardest things to do is accept that a certain level of dissatisfaction comes from a need for the eternal.

I love how Bebo Norman describes it:
Loneliness is really the issue here, and loneliness doesn't discriminate. It bites every soul created with that God-shaped vacuum inside. It's common ground, really. For believers and unbelievers alike. Because we all know, whether we admit it or not, that regardless of how beautiful and full the relationships in our life may be, there's something else we long for. Something even more beautiful. Something even more full.
One thing I've learned in recent years (I do learn on occasion) is that men are just as insecure as we are. That no one has any clue about anything. And as women cling to romantic notions of the perfect man, men stumble around, feeling more and more inadequate. I've had so many conversations with frustrated souls about how men can't step up because they don't feel they're good enough. He wants to have it all together first. He wants to be proud of his life before he can share it with anyone. He wants it figured out.

Secret of the day: No one has it figured out.

And that's not what I'm asking for.

I'm looking for that messy*, imperfect, vulnerable guy seeking after God's heart.

*Maybe not literally messy. Just we're-on-this-crazy-adventure-together messy.

Fail - Kendall Payne

I love this song. No pedestals. Just learning to love in spite of and because of failure. I think it's time to start giving each other permission to be imperfect. (I'm not endorsing the jerk, but I'm willing to forgive the man who acts like one.)

The end.


Walking Church said...

Great synthesis there on her toes.

Found a great book which I would highly recommend to anyone serious about understanding the opposite gender especially if they are the cusp of serious commitment or just want to keep the zing in marriage:

'Cracking the Communication Code - Love for Her; Respect for Him' by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

I think humility is some of the glue to keeping relationships going; the ability to suck up one's pride and ask for forgiveness while at other times being regal by extending mercy when none is warranted. (The latter -sounds like Jesus eh)

I love the tune you found. Never heard it before but 'wow'!

Walking Church said...

I might add also:

'In the Last Days Newsletter, Leonard Ravenhill told about a group of tourists visiting a pictureque villiage who walked by an old man sitting beside a fence. In a rather patronizing way one tourist asked, "Were any great men born in this villiage?"

The old man replied, "Nope only babies" '
From Dutch Sheets - Getting in God's FAce p9