you don’t have to be perfect to be content {or #ydhtbptbc}

There are a lot of unhappy women in the world.

{According to the culture, I’m probably not allowed to have that opinion . . . what with the fact I’m a woman and all. The good news is that my family has a deeply ingrained “Phooey to you” gene that runs rampant pretty much whenever it’s conducive to us. So, like, always.}

Check out Instagram. Read a few blogs. Peruse Facebook. They’re covered with women who are frustrated with how their house looks, panicking about how their children behave, worried about what they feed their family, anxious over being too busy, and to quote the King of Siam in “The King and I” . . .

Today’s woman wants an answer to all this distress, and to quote an LCMS gal, murky theology has taught her to assume that the answer to this self-imposed chaos is “to live ‘a purposeful life,’ one that is ‘authentic’ and ‘fully integrated with her faith and family.'”

“An intentional life, huh?” said gal continues. ” I’m pretty sure a woman intentionally gets up and showers, feeds her family, cares for them, goes to church, cleans her home, supports her husband. I’d say that’s a pretty good life. What’s unintentional about that? What about that isn’t full of purpose? I’d say she has a pretty big purpose and a lot of people depending on her to care for them. If that’s what her day looks like is she somehow being fake and unauthentic? I’m so confused.”

Get it, girl.

It’s an odd in-balance. On the one hand, we women all want vacuum lines in our carpet and tidy children with perky pigtails. On the other, we know full well that the sink is full of dishes and that the dust needs to be, well, dusted.

What are we to do? Clean the dishes and discipline our kids, or panic and freak out?

And so we have two options, two routes to take when getting all verklempt with the pictures on Instagram of carefully groomed dogs laying calmly on white rugs in front of roaring fireplaces while little ones cheerfully play checkers nearby.

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I don’t have a fireplace or checkers. What I do have is house that smells like drying cow horn peppers, an odor that pretty much singes your nose hairs.

We can either:

  • Glom onto the evangelical Instagram #idhtbptbb (it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful) to try to make sense of our fears and insecurities while simultaneously slamming “your bravery wins a thousand battles you can’t see because your bravery fuels a 1000 others to win their battles too” printables up on every free space on our walls. (Who’s kidding who here? Bravery? I threw an embroidery pattern across the room the other night when I couldn’t figure out how to make a French knot. Pretty sure there is nothing remotely brave about THAT.)
  • Repent.

{I’m advocating for the second option, just in case anyone’s wondering.}

We can repent: for not being content, for worrying, for panicking, for doubting, for thinking we can have it all when we can’t, for coveting, for being lazy, for convincing ourselves that everything would be better if our Lord would just reveal His will for our lives to us {He has, btw. It’s the Ten Commandments.}.

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You want purposeful? Well, sorry. There’s no purpose to this picture.

We are already living purposeful lives. We are already authentic. We are already fully integrated with our faith and family. But not in the way that gooshy theology claims.

We have purpose only because of Christ. We have value because when God sees us, He sees a watery cross on our foreheads and on our hearts, marking us as His children.

We are already authentic because our Lord is at work through our vocations of sister, mother, wife, serving those around us: wiping drippy noses, serving slightly burned corners of lasagna to our friends, praying for our pastor.

We are already fully integrated with our faith and our family because that is simply how we live as Lutherans. We are who are because of our Baptism, because God desires to give blessings to us and to our families, because we are in the Divine Service, because our pastors delight to pronounce Christ’s forgiveness on and to us.

Our houses can be relatively clean even as our dishes can go undone for an hour to spend time with our sisters. Our children can be well behaved, even if we are freaking out that the dinner guests are arriving and we forgot to clean the bathroom. Our friends can sympathize when our husbands have to work late, and our moms can remind us that we’re not the first ones whose green pepper plants refuse to produce even one LOUSY TINY PEPPER.

Ahem. Not that I would know about that.

Let’s repent: of our belief that we can do it all and our lack of will to even try, of our grasping for purpose when God has already given it to us and our laziness in believing He means what He says.

And then let’s pray, asking for God’s grace, not to be perfect and beautiful and brave, but to be His baptized children, “content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Heb. 13:5).

Or should I say . . . #iwnlynfy

Now that’s more like it.

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My calzones are proof that #idhtbptbb but they did make my husband laugh. Does that count?

 

 

 

“it won’t be special” and other arguments against the Lord’s Supper nobody else is buying

A few years ago, Pastor Ken Wieting wrote a delightful book called “The Blessings of Weekly Communion.” 

That is to say . . . every single Sunday. 

Whooo boy. 

The good news is that this started a great conversation in the church about the Lord’s Supper and all the gifts He gives in it. The bad news is that this started a pretty steady drumbeat of reasons NOT to have the Lord’s Supper every week.

{Word on the street is that the time the game starts or when brunch is done at the country club are not acceptable reasons.}

So if you are still unconvinced, if you’re just not sure this weekly Communion thing is really all it’s cracked up to be, here are a few things to stay away from when telling people like, you know, your elders why you’re skeptical. 

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  • “If we have the Lord’s Supper every Sunday, it won’t be special anymore.” To quote, like, nine pastor friends, “If your wife tells you she loves you every day, does hearing her profess her love for you become less special?” Of course not. We heard God’s Word every week. His forgiveness is pronounced to us every week. We confess the Creed every week. Is any of that not special? And if, by chance, your answer is, “You’re right! It’s lame and I’m totally over it!” then we should talk about whether or not the problem is with the church or if your temperature has just crept over 106 degrees.
  • “It’ll take too long.” It will take more time. You’re right. But when we are talking about matters of life and death, eternity and salvation, what’s 15 minutes? We spend that amount of time sitting in the Starbucks drive-thru; we can handle it in church. 
  • “The kids have a hard enough time sitting still.” Hey now! Don’t sell your kiddos short. Thousands of children behave themselves during the Divine Service in the LCMS every week so they’re completely capable of sitting calmly for 15 more minutes. Know how I know? Because you’re their parent, and they obey the Fourth Commandment, and if you tell them that’s how you roll, they’ll roll with you. (And if they can sit through 108 minutes of Frozen within melting down, an hour and fifteen minutes of church isn’t going to phase them one bit. Give them a little credit here!)
  • “But . . . but . . .” The Church actually has a history of having the Lord’s Supper every week, so if you’re grasping for a “But the church fathers didn’t . . . ” or “Luther never said we should . . . ” just hang it up right now and let’s go for ice cream. Blue Bunny, of course. I didn’t grow up a half hour away from the ice cream capital of the world for nothin’. 
  • “We don’t have enough ladies on the altar guild.” No, no. I mean, yes, yes! You do! And they’re right in your congregation. Are there some young women among you, even ones as young as confirmation age? They can help! This is a wonderful way to get young ladies involved in the life of the church early. Not only do they get to learn alongside Christian mentors in the older women, but they also see that they can contribute to congregational life even at age 8 or 10 or 14. 
  • “But it won’t be special.” See first bullet point. 

The Lord has gifts of life and salvation and forgiveness to give, and in His Supper, He gives them to you . . . even every Sunday!

Does it take time to get used to it?

Maybe.

 

Will you check your watch every Sunday for the first month?

Probably.

 

Will the young ladies in church be in awe of just how much labor and love go into an altar guild?

Undoubtedly.

And that’s ok. But I guarantee you that, before long, it won’t feel weird haven’t Communion every Sunday.

It will, gloriously, be weird not to.