Last night I did some wrestling with God. We argued.
Okay…I argued. God listened.
Come to think of it I’m not sure that is what you call an argument.
The basics of the discussion were me going back and forth between asking God to take the gifts I have and give me more traditionally acceptable ones and then my wavering and saying that in no way would traditional women’s gifting be sufficient for me now that I’ve experienced my own reality of gifts. I didn’t really think God would honor my request but I felt it was worth throwing out there that I was tired of being constantly unacceptable.
I am unacceptable to my parents. I am unacceptable to my siblings. I am unacceptable to some of my former friends. I am unacceptable to the church of my youth and the one of my adulthood. I have been unacceptable to some men. I find lately that I’m unacceptable to a particular breed of Christian and that it isn’t even acceptable to them for me to claim to be a Christian.
Unacceptability is exhausting.
But do you know where I’ve been acceptable? For the most part in my career. So when people accuse me of being a workaholic or trying to hard to gain the acceptance of the people I work with…yeah…your damn right I do that. Because THAT my friend is where I’m acceptable. I’m better, faster, and more successful at a lot of what I do than those around me and I tend to swim in the compliments of the people I work with. (Of course this means that a mistake or disapproval hits me 4 times harder than it does my co-workers.)
As I wrestled with God over that last night it occurred to me that I have also been an acceptable sacrifice or victim to a few disgusting men in my life. I was an acceptable child to manipulate and harm. I have been an acceptable adult to treat with invisibility and without remorse by these same perpetrators..
And with that thought the wrestling took on a whole new intensity. God asking “Is this true? Do you think I really gave you the wrong gifts? Did I make a mistake for which I should repent when it came to your creation?” And me responding “Yeah…maybe so.” (Yup…I’m brave, stupid, and honest in my relationship with God.)
Fortunately God waited me out with kindness until I’d cried all the tears I needed to cry. And when my soul was finally quiet the being that created everything, including me said “I didn’t make a mistake. You are not unacceptable. You are exceedingly acceptable. Those who do not understand you, fear you. Those who do not grasp your gifting as blessed by me, are terrified of your strength. And those who see your fragility wish to take advantage. But I AM…and I AM not flawed. I did not make an error. You are gifted in the way I need you to be to do what I need you to do. I will not take that back and I will not repent.”
Suddenly finding a church (when the idea makes me cringe), making friends (while trying to shift through riffraff), ensuring my calling (when it is so blended into both my professional and creative life), and wishing for something more (meaning, romance, friendship, love, hope) can all fall away. I find myself to be worthy of acceptance. I accept myself. I take me as I am.
God–I rescind my prayer for the removal of my gifting.
I’ll keep what makes me acceptable to both You and me.
I’ll cry when I hurt and smile the rest of the time. And that will be an acceptable existence to me.