“You’re a fraud.”

“If everyone only knew_____ about you, they wouldn’t love you.”

“What kind of twisted person even THINKS that?”

 Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile the person that those around me seem to think I am with who I often think I am. After all, I know the depths of the depravity, the dark and winding crookedness of my own heart.

That part of my mind that loves to put me in my place has been my old friend these many years, constantly reminding me that I am not perfect.

That I am not all I say that I am.

That I am faulty and deceptive, hiding the gnarled, ugly roots of my heart deep underground so that no one can see them.

It tells me that all of the love I give is just a mask, trying to cover up the truth. After all, if I can think that bad thing, I must be that bad thing, no matter if I make the right choices.

Some days, though, it dawns on me that we are all flawed and broken; and often in pretty serious ways.

But my family, my friends, those closest to me? They want to see the best in me, the best FROM me. Once in a while, they will mirror back the song of grace that plays continually in my heart: the one that says we all have something to offer, no matter our weaknesses. I’ve given this song to them, but have not sung it to myself. Oh, but they know the tune perfectly.

They’re not fooled. They know I’m not without fault. They know a little of the ugly stuff, though much of the worst, I keep to myself. But it doesn’t matter. They are kind to me, as I have been kind to them. They would never speak to me the way I speak to myself…and so I open my ears and begin to listen.

At first the melody sounds dissonant, incorrect, like it belongs to a different song. Then, miraculously, it begins to sound familiar. Grace and love and mercy…kindness and gentleness and generosity…it’s floats over me and covers me. I begin to let it water those roots, sink in, and quiet the voice of perfectionism in my head.

The song says: “You may very well feel all of those things. You may think things that would ‘make Jesus want to drink gin straight from the cat dish’ (thank you Anne Lamott!), but those are not the things that define you. What defines you are the choices you make. And if you fail today, there’s tomorrow, and a tomorrow after that. Pick your head up, quiet that voice of doubt, and LIVE.”