Friday, September 19, 2014


I want to be competent. I want to be sufficient. I want to be understood.

I want to be able to do the tasks which have fallen to me, and to do them well. Teaching, cooking, writing, studying, ministering, gardening... I don't want to do a sloppy, didn't-think-it-through, that'll-just-have-to-do kind of job.

I want to be able to see a job through to completion. I don't want to fall short, or to pass my responsibility on to someone else, or to have to admit that I am simply not equal to the task at hand. I want my "Yes" to be Yes and my "No" to be No - I want to finish what I begin, every single time.

I want others to understand that excellence and integrity are important to me. That I'll do what I said, get the job done...or die trying. And if, for some reason, I fail - I want others to understand how heavily that weighs on me. I don't want them to think I skip out on my commitments lightly, or that I don't value them enough to give them my best.

I know people - we all do - who are way too comfortable with "good enough," people whose hallmark is consistently shoddy workmanship. And we all know people who assure us of their commitment to a particular thing, but who bail on their commitments as soon as another, more desirable opportunity comes along. They are the people who, when they tell us "Yes," we write their names in our planners with a pencil instead of a pen. I do not want to be one of those "good enough"/my-yes-really-means-maybe kind of people.


The truth is, I am not always competent. I work hard, give something my very best effort...and still fall so far short of the mark. Sometimes, I don't get close to adequacy, much less excellence.

And sometimes, I don't even make it to the finish line. I end up having to limp off the track half-way through an event, or maybe even have to be carried off the field on a stretcher. Blegh.

And people don't understand. They misunderstand my motives or my behavior, and they are often completely oblivious to the internal struggle that lies behind my actions.


I so very earnestly long to be competent, to be sufficient, to be understood.

I am currently reading in Galatians. I am amazed anew as I read in Galatians, chapter 4, that the "slave woman/Hagar" corresponds to "Jerusalem." When I think of slavery and bondage, I think of bondage to sin, to wickedness, to all the bad, yucky stuff I am prone to do. When I think of slavery and bondage, I do not usually think in terms of keeping the law, religious fervor, doing/getting it "right" - I mean, those are good things, aren't they?

Except that Sarah - the free woman - was not competent (oh, what a mess she made of things!). She was not sufficient (she was barren). And she was very misunderstood.

It is good to be reminded today that I am not a child of the slave but of the free woman. The incompetent, insufficient, misunderstood, free woman. It is good to be reminded today that it is for freedom that Christ - my brother and Sarah's greatest Son - has set me free.

Because unlike Sarah, and unlike her daughter Camille, Christ is competent. Christ is sufficient. And He understands.

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