Yesterday I wrote a post about Lionel, the Velveteen lion who leaks beads everywhere. I wrote it because I am trying to embrace my ongoing weakness instead of engaging it in a shame inducing war of self initiated self improvement. I wrote it because perfectionism is deadly, and most of us are addicted to it. I wrote it because I think the really good stuff will come out of each of us when we decide that grace really is enough.
I wrote it because we need more people in the world who leak, and who trust that grace will always find a way to fill us back up, in mysterious ways and through unlikely conduits.
Overnight, I discovered I have a bit more to say about it.
It’s not about TRYING REALLY HARD to be weak. Oh, please don’t add this to your list of really important religious things that you should be doing.
It’s not about recklessly spilling your beads on everybody else and expecting them to clean it all up. Please don’t stop taking responsibility for the messes in your life. Sometimes we leak beads and it’s healing, and sometimes we leak beads and we need to say we’re sorry.
It’s not about using weakness as another strategy to be strong.
It is about laughing at yourself.
It is about failing gloriously, and then declaring a strike on obsessing about it. It’s about saying to yourself, “Of course I didn’t do it perfectly, or even all that great, but I am still worthy of love and belonging” (Brene Brown is the gift that keeps on giving).
It is about realizing that everybody else is NOT EVEN THINKING ABOUT YOU, they’re thinking about themselves, just like you are! When you realize this, you can celebrate with a donut or three, because we are beautiful, and grace would want you to have a donut instead of worry about what anyone else is thinking about you.
It is about Laughing. At. Yourself. Can you do that?
In my little prayer book, there are some beautiful quotes from writers who get it. Here’s one by H.A. Williams, from a book called Tensions:
“God, we believe, accepts us, accepts all men, unconditionally, warts and all. Laughter is the purest form of our response to God’s acceptance of us. For when I laugh at myself I accept myself and when I laugh other people in genuine mirth I accept them. Self acceptance in laughter is the very opposite of self-satisfaction or pride. For in laughter I accept myself not because I’m some sort of super person, but precisely because I’m not. There is nothing funny about a super person. There is everything funny about a man who thinks he is. In laughing at my own claims to importance or regard I receive myself in a sort of loving forgiveness which is an echo of God’s forgiveness of me. In much conventional contrition there is a selfishness and pride which are scarcely hidden. In our desperate self concern we blame others for not being the super persons we think we really are. But in laughter we sit light to ourselves. That is why laughter is the purest form of our response to God.”
Today’s assignment: Laugh at yourself. Then tell me how that went. So glad to be in it together, friends. (And let me know if you have that donut. I love people who eat donuts).