The invitation was give your life to Christ and you will become perfect and all your troubles will disappear. I did but found that my life didn’t become trouble free neither was I perfect. Even though I remained steadfast in prayer and the Word, I discovered some things just wont let me be. They were determined to follow me into this new life that I had found and to my consternation, they found a place for themselves also. I tried to ignore them and used my will power to curtail some and though I succeeded in some areas, I was floored every time with regards to others.
I know I am not the only one who has discovered stuff in my life that makes me uncomfortable wondering how they became part of me. Which one of us has not struggled with the emotions of anger, envy, jealousy, an unhealthy desire for things, a sexual attraction to people other than our spouses. For some of us, it’s the inability to refrain from things that are injurious to our health even when we are aware of their dangers like smoking, gambling, drinking and an addiction to porn, sex and drugs.
The truth is that we are all flawed in one way or the other, we are a mixture of both good and bad. No one is perfect and I remain amazed at some of the thoughts that I think, the imaginations that come to my mind or habits that I practice. In the past, I deluded myself in the fallacy that they didn’t really emanate from me and that I was better than those who publicly struggle with their flaws. It’s been a long time coming but I am gradually acknowledging that in so many ways I am not different from the people l used to look down on , we just happen to sin differently.
It took several months of battling with shame and a refusal to acknowledge my vices, of thinking that surely all I needed was more prayers, positive thoughts and affirmation to rid myself of my habits. At that time especially in the circles I belonged to, it was anathema to talk about negative emotions and vices and even if one ventured to talk about them, they were regarded as not being spiritual enough. So I bottled these feelings thinking I was a misnomer to feel and act the way I did.
It took me looking into my mirror and not flinching at the image that glared back at me. My spirituality notwithstanding, I acknowledged who I was, the totality of my being and owned up to the unsavory thoughts that habitually flitted in my mind and the habits that I found distasteful but couldn’t seem to let go off and thus I started my journey to freedom. My first step was to cancel the myth of perfection. The truth is that we can never attain perfection this side of heaven. No matter how long I live, I will be bombarded with wrong desires, thoughts and actions. I will slip and fall many times but the important thing was not to fold my hands and give up on myself but to get up every time not letting go of my desire to be the best person I could possibly be. The immediate outcome from this was that I became free from shame and self recrimination and I became more accepting of people as I began to understand that we were all flawed.
Secondly, I accepted the fact that I was a mixture of good and bad not either and became comfortable with my weakness as well as my strengths . It so happened that because I was aware of my tendencies to do bad I could better caution myself, prepare for eventualities by eliminating my triggers as much as possible and self correct my compass when I noticed I was veering off course.
Thirdly, I began to talk more openly about my weakness, I don’t know about others but I have discovered that the more I talk about what is going on within me, the more clarity I get about my feelings and emotions, the more I know what I need to do , what choices to make and most importantly the whys of my choices.
Fourthly, I sought others who had walked my path to learn from them and associate myself with them. The truth be told prayers and affirmations are good but we need people too, some of us might need to see therapists for the ills that trouble us . I am reminded about a story told of a little girl who, when frightened at night by noises in the dark , called out to her mother to come and keep her company. The mother wanting to teach her about the presence of God everywhere told her not to worry , God was there with her. After a moment of reflection the little girl called back frantically “ Mummy I need someone with their skin on” . We need people that we can be vulnerable and safe with and they are there if we search well enough, some closer than we think.
We all have things that plague us, things not obvious to outsiders but apparent to us and those that live with us. The truth is that some of our flaws will not respond to a quick fix. It will take a process and time lots of it to overcome them but confront our flaws we must in order to live a wholesome life.