Brand New Colony

I'll be the fire escape that's bolted to the ancient brick where you will sit and contemplate your day.

This is a line from the song "Brand New Colony" by the Postal Service. It's what I'm listening to, right now, and it makes me think a little deeper about what I was already thinking about. Which is God, and the seemingly impossible attempt to fathom His love for us. Paul cried out for us, though, in his prayer for the believers in Ephesus, to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that [we] may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Wow. Paul was not afraid to ask for the biggest things; to comprehend, to be filled. The reason this song was making me think of this is because I am still trying to comprehend in the small things, the things that really reach me, daily, that God loves me.

I have been failing again, lately. To understand me, you have to know that I am a perfectionist. You might not think it to look at me, with my ratty dreadlocks and a free-ish lifestyle, but inside, I am worse than a slave driver. I see myself through the lens of my own high standards, and what I see is not good, unfortunately. And the horror that follows me is the fear of failing, or even worse, of disappointing. I can't even handle it. It makes me want to run and run and run. So, my small mistakes turn into large mountains. I lost the post office box key? I must be a flippin' loser. I spoke sharply to the kids? I'm abusive and I'm going to mess them up. They'll end up in therapy. In therapy in prison. I can't do everything and have to ask for help? There must be something wrong with me. I'd better get it together. If only I would try a little harder. Go to bed earlier. I'm having problems on my first attempt at writing a novel? I'm a terrible writer and I'll never amount to anything. It's because I didn't go to school, it's because I have no real talent.

You can see how evil this thinking is. It's like living in a pit of wolves, trying not to be noticed. It's like living life on the edge of a cliff in the desert. It's not free. And, I could be wrong, but I don't think that I'm the only one who struggles with these kinds of patterns of thinking. I may be extreme, but it seems like these things are addressed in the Bible as trying to live by the Law. Which, as the Scriptures teach us, will lead us nowhere. Obviously I need to learn to ease up on myself.

I like how Anne Lamott says, in her book "Plan B": "...not only do I get along with me most of the time now, I am militantly and maternally on my own side." To get this, though, it seems that I will have to learn that God is militantly and maternally on my side. And this brings me back to the ways that He loves me (us). The song by the Postal Service is a list of all the things that the boy wants to be for the girl. "I'll be the platform shoes that undo what heredity has done to you, so you won't have to stretch to look into my eyes..." What else will God be for me? The husband who brings me tea in the morning; the gentle light that wakes me; the Rock that won't slide out from underneath me when I stand on it; the warm water that cleans me; the beams that hold up my house; the brother that tells me not to obsess over the things I've done wrong; the right thoughts that I need to wash my mind...

Sometimes I think that I will never be able to change my thinking, that it will always be dark, it will always be my secret enemy, taunting me even while I'm trying to be okay for everyone. This, I know, is a lie. Because even if, my whole life, I have to try to tell these thoughts to go away day after day, I know that I have a place waiting for me in the courts of God. And where He rules, there is grace, and gentleness, and love, and nothing else can stand. A brand new colony.