I aspire to fidelity with God. I hold ideals of faithful pursuit of a life in the Way of Jesus. I even stake claim to some lofty aspirations of living a good life. Yet at the same time, I acknowledge before, during, and after all of this proclaiming that I will surely never live out my high ideals.
This may sound like a celebration of mediocrity or hypocrisy, and perhaps it is. But I’d rather keep a keen eye on an inspiring goal than to hinder myself with my own failings before I even begin (and yes, this is one of my regular false dichotomies). On the other hand, if I ignore my weaknesses, I’ll never get past them. And I’m probably making excuses for not really trying, but I am so regularly crushed by the weight of my shortcomings that I like to hedge my bet and aim for the middle.
Part of the reason I come to this circuitous and provisional conclusion is because I find it so refreshing to hear honest admissions in this regard. Jason’s thoughts help me feel less alone and more encouraged. And I’ve heard a few from my spinning iPod, too:
Lupe Fiasco spits it out straight:
“I love the Lord
but sometimes, I love me more.
…I love the peace
and I love the war…”
And Manchester Orchestra’s epic ode to baptism, “The River” rises to great heights before dropping this admission like a lead balloon:
“…I’m gonna leave you, the first chance I get…”
Facing our tendencies toward infidelity honestly is the first step to overcoming them. And facing them honestly and publicly helps us to invite others below the veneer of our lives. Or maybe it just makes people affirm us more (and vice versa), thereby allowing us all to remain the same people that we’ve always been.