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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Grace and Scarlett

If I'm honest with you (and I always am), my life has been comprised, so far, of many-a-series of unfortunate events. This is not to say my life has been completely unfortunate; quite the opposite, actually. I have really enjoyed navigating my way through my 31+ years. I just happen to trip and fall from one phase of life into another, usually without finesse, and usually in front of lots of people.

I always get where God wants me to go, but I'm not exactly elegant or discreet about it.

Some people seem to float through life so skillfully, don't they? Quiet and demure, always saying and doing the right thing. Always socially acceptable and well-mannered. Life's a breeze for those people, or so it seems to those of us who belong to a clumsy band of misfits who stumble through life somewhat awkwardly.

For the sake of visual aids, let's refer to those floaters as "Grace." As in, Grace Kelly.

I mean, stunning, right? Ladylike...polished...charming? She wasn't named Grace for nothing.

Then there's me, and maybe you, too. We're the misfits. The foot-in-the-mouth, loud-talking, accident-prone, somewhat-awkward misfits. The ones I affectionately refer to as "Scarlett."

Why Scarlett, you ask? It's very simple: you have Grace (above), and then you have Scarlett:

You remember this. I know you do. If you don't, then you're probably named Grace and you probably only watch cable news channels and spend your time on intelligent things.

We misfits remember this as when poor Scarlett Johansson tripped and fell in NYC in front of the paparazzi. When she fell in literally the most strange way possible. And they captured it on film. And now it's a national treasure.

Grace, if you had been watching Entertainment Tonight religiously when it happened, you'd have seen it too.

Scarlett got more publicity for her "have a nice trip, see ya next fall" than she has for any movie role in recent memory. She was all over the internet, and soon there were more photoshopped pictures of her than the Grumpy Cat. Here are a few of my favorites:

We're laughing with you, Scarlett.

These pictures remind me of the times when this Scarlett (that's me) crashed and burned. You know, like the time when I was walking on stage in front of, say, a couple thousand people and I tripped over an empty guitar case and fell on my stomach right before I had to sing? Or that time when the tread peeled off of my super-fly platform heels on Easter Sunday and I didn't know it and I walked down the main aisle of my 5000-member church only to slip and fall, again on my stomach, this time in an Easter dress? Or maybe like the time I was seven months pregnant and I fell down the basement stairs and had to be hospitalized for my clumsiness? Or like...well, you get the idea.

Oh, Scarlett.

What about the time when I was fighting a deep depression and I couldn't claw my way out and I was stumbling around the darkness, falling again and again and again? And I stumbled in my walk of faith, and I didn't know if I believed. And I entertained doubts about the One person who has always proven consistent and true in my life.

God refined me through that season, and I walked into a more mature relationship with Him after the battle, but I'm not without scars. I stumbled my way from childlike faith into a deeper walk, but it was messy. It took a pursuant God and Prozac. I wasn't Grace.

What about the time when I was so insecure about my physical self that I indulged an eating disorder and a mind disorder to "fix" myself? When I stumbled into an exercise addiction that had a grip on me like nothing ever has, when I chose superficial beauty and unattainable perfection over an internal, eternal radiance. I wanted to be Grace, but instead I was going down like Scarlett.

God reached down and pulled me out of what could have been incredibly damaging to me, emotionally and physically, but I am not without my fair share of wounds. I tried to make myself acceptable instead of allowing Him to love me as I was.

What about the moments, even now, when my selfishness overtakes my servanthood and I sin against my children and my husband because I care more about me than them? I stew in anger and relive the injustices of being used and disrespected over and over again, all the while building my case for why I "deserve" a break, deserve better. Then I see myself for the horribly selfish sinner that I am and I repent and vow to give myself away just as Christ did for His church. And then one of my children disrespects me and I begin to simmer again.

Grace would make homemade cookies every day and never respond in anger and always respond with a sing-song voice to her little rascals. But I am not Grace; I'm Scarlett. I fall and I fail time and again.

But here's the thing I keep coming back around to: if I were Grace, I don't know that I'd need my God like I do when I'm Scarlett. Grace doesn't need to be picked up and dusted off to try again; she simply doesn't fail in the first place.

I am Scarlett. I stumble and fall. I grow weary. I'm sad. I'm selfish.

I'm a sinner.

And I'm in need of a Savior.

With Him, I can walk freely as Scarlett, knowing that even when I crash and burn my God will be right beside me, gently picking me up, dusting me off, and setting my feet back on the road toward Heaven. I will not be Grace this side of Heaven, but if I need God and I know God I am saved.
"The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in His way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand." -- Psalm 37:23-24
I'd rather be Scarlett, stumbles and all. At least we Scarletts know how much we need a perfect Father. And I rest in knowing that I will be Grace, the epitome of beauty and perfection,  the moment I set foot in eternity.

Finally, my disclaimer: just so you know, Scarlett Johansson was not harmed in the writing of this blog post. Seriously, she doesn't even know who I am. And she's mega-rich and she probably sopped up her tears with her wads of cash when she fell. And so I don't feel bad about posting this last picture...this goes out to all my Scarletts out there:

Feel free to laugh!