Rock of Ages

There’s a piece that I wrote about four years ago, when I was in high school. Having always enjoyed playing with everyday objects in a way that tickles the humdrum of normalcy, I painted a lengthy portrait that likens our general lifestyle to climbing a ladder. It’s a long, murky piece full of remorse at the way in which our academic and social standings became primary, value-ascribing goals.

I still see that as a problem, but I want to change my approach. when I was in high school, I was caught up in a mite of hypocrisy, a little whirlwind of self-righteous heroism that had me talking in voluminous prose about how messed up, self-serving, and ultimately futile the cleft of society I occupied was. Now, I want to shed that personal justification, feel-good-about-myself journey and turn it into one of honest confrontation. Because it starts with me.

Can I say it? I am deeply afraid of being criticized by others. I want to be seen as good, as cool, as withstanding the brunt of scrutiny and criticism from all angles. I catch myself making a facade based on how people might perceive me.

I think that’s why I have trouble regularly putting things out there for people to see. Making content—blogging, writing, and making videos—and putting them in the public sphere is an act that invites the opinions and scrutiny of others. I am highly defensive, so I want everything to be bulletproof before i put it out there, into the fray. I don’t want to come out scarred. But my striving for perfection ultimately gets me nowhere, because no matter how I look at myself and the way I pour myself into the content that I make, I am dissatisfied.

This blog, which is likely to be a growing, organic sort of thing, is me stepping away from that defensive need for perfection. I’m growing and transforming, never perfect. I make mistakes. I sleep in, and eat ice cream with reckless abandon, I sometimes skip that much needed shower (sorry not sorry). I have pimples (ugh! and wage war against them!). I make judgments based on appearances, even when I know it’s wrong. I lie. I don’t have the answer to everything. I ask stupid questions. I fall as a result of my own mistakes, get hurt, pick myself back up, and learn.

And that’s okay. What I have to share is not only my story. It’s my small, ephemeral story of gritty, imperfect reality contained within His perfect story of complete love and redemption. In fact, it’s in my imperfections and need for growth that His power and grace are revealed.

It’s beautifully sweet. It fills my heart with peace, because it doesn’t just override the gritty, real things (like food, and articles of clothing, and skin care, and technology. How we should deal with our finances. And how we should treat people who are different. The list goes on). It somehow, in a way that I don’t (and maybe never will) fully understand, embraces and informs all of that. And this is often manifested imperfectly through us, but that’s where the learning takes place.

This blog is about me sharing something that doesn’t come only from me. And this blog is also about me learning about that something, and constantly being reminded that it doesn’t come only from me.

So i know that not everyone will agree with what I say and how I choose to do things. I know that I will not stand before all scrutiny and come out unscathed. It might hurt. But my experience so far has proven that I too, as Charles Spurgeon so beautifully and honestly says, can “learn to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages.”

Kiss, thrown up and clinging, forever.

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