Thursday, July 9, 2015

Robot or Rag Doll?

I think I'd make a great robot.  I like systems, disciplines, routines, predictability, codes....tell me the formula for a perfect life and I'll apply it.  Print out my dreams, accomplishments and prove why these formulas work.

Then someone cuts a wire.....blows my fuse....erases the formulas, hacks into my brain and I end up more like a rag doll. No control, no backbone.  I wilt beneath life's heavy hand.

I saw an illustration of this first-hand on Sunday. Being a singer/songwriter takes me to interesting places and this past weekend I sang at this lovely church in Harrisburg, PA.          

They called the children up to the front to sit on the royally red colored carpet to listen to a story. I often smile when I see this, because usually, the adults get as much out of these little talks as the children.  But I got a totally different message out of it.

The children came to the front and seated themselves on the steps.  The little girls were prim and proper.  They raised their hands out of respect and waited to be acknowledged before they spoke, almost like robots that do all the right things at the right times. They acted like me.

Just as everyone settled into their spots and the story was underway, a little boy came running down the aisle and plopped himself face down, sprawled out, across the steps. I giggled to myself at the difference between this little boy and the other children. 

Then I stopped giggling.  I felt like him.

In reality, I was jealous of this little boy.  I tend to approach God like the little girls who were doing their best to be everything they were supposed to be.  Remember their manners, sit up straight, spew out the right answers in robotic fashion.

But the little boy was more like a rag doll who just couldn't sit up straight no matter how hard he tried.  He was himself, through and through. No pretensions, no hiding behind propriety. He came just as he was and didn't seem to care what anyone thought of him.

There is a song recorded by Next-2-Nothing, one of my favorite bands, that stopped me in my robotic tracks a few years ago.  I felt hopeless because I just couldn't get my wires connected enough to function perfectly.  I still get caught in the trap of thinking I have to be perfect when I approach my heavenly Father.  I am learning that I can come just as I am and find grace and mercy.

One of the lines in the song gave me a reboot that I desperately needed.
"If you tarry till you're better, you will never come at all." 
- J. Hart
Yes sirree - that's me.  I will wait until I'm perfect before I come.  But that means I'll never come.

I went home that day and flopped down in God's presence and cried. No formulas, 12 steps to healing, fasting, disciplines....just tears and brokenness.  In that place, I began to find strength and healing.

Now don't get me wrong, when it comes to most things, I prefer the robot. Take my motorcycle for instance. It better function like a robot. Turn on key, engage the throttle and va I go. Please don't sit there like a rag doll and cry because "I just can't function today". I need it to work. But when I go to the mechanic to maintain my motorcycle, I want him to have the attitude of the rag doll.  Soft, pliable, easy to talk to, even sit on the floor and cry with me when it's not working right. But in the end, I want him to get up, fix the issue and let me keep on riding.

So for me, I guess it's all in the attitude. There are times for backbone and routines, but when it comes to my heart, I want it to be soft and pliable.

Feeling like you could use some encouragement? Sit back and let this beautiful song speak peace and grace.