Shortfall

person-falling-down-stairs

I led worship yesterday, and somehow found myself on the receiving end of several compliments. I appreciate them, but I try not to let it go to my head. People’s opinions can prove fickle. For instance, in the past, I’ve been called:

  • Androgynous
  • Chubby
  • Fat
  • Invisible
  • Boring
  • Timid
  • Stubborn
  • Rigid
  • Religious
  • Teacher’s pet
  • Plain/ugly
  • Regimented
  • Terrible mom
  • Disloyal
  • Driven
  • Entitled
  • Fake
  • Caustic
  • Bitter
  • Oh, and a few more: manipulative, dismissive, and controlling.

In other words, my most bodacious personality left a shortfall in their expectation  between who I was and who they thought I should be.

short·fall
ˈSHôrtˌfôl/
noun
noun: shortfall; plural noun: shortfalls
  1. a deficit of something required or expected.
    “they are facing an expected $10 billion shortfall in revenue”

On the positive side, I’ve been called:

  • Cute
  • Stylish
  • Fit
  • Faithful
  • Smart
  • Pretty
  • Organized
  • Persistent
  • Conscientious
  • Bold
  • Competent
  • Talented
  • Great mom
  • Empathetic
  • Strong
  • Authentic
  • Administrative
  • Kind
  • Focused
  • Funny
  • Inspirational
  • Person of integrity
  • Wise (Uh…I’m afraid the jury’s still out on that one).

Well, and short most of all. That could fall in either category, I suppose, depending on the day. Kind of a neutral truth, I think. More like reality, as I search my closet for heels to wear with longer trousers on a regular basis and I drive my car with the seat pulled all the way forward.

Some of these personal descriptors have been said to my face. Some behind my back. Some simply whispered in my ear by the devil himself. I like compliments; not gonna lie. But I know they can be exhilarating stuff, like adhering to a strict diet of cotton candy. No real substance there. I understand the need for balance. But really, looking at the two lists, do they even describe the same person? How can I be both faithful and disloyal? Pretty and plain? Fit and fat? Timid and bold? Because different people, in unique circumstances, sometimes decades apart, said these things. Beauty – or not – is in the eye of the beholder. I bear no ill will to my naysayers. Often at the time they spoke truth, and it helped to spur change and course correction. I find myself grateful for their words now, their once-powerful sting long gone. However, I’m also not the person I was even a few years ago.

What I’ve found is that all of these  – even the good traits – fall short of who God says I am. I’m in the beloved. I’m fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), I’m a new creation in Christ and getting remade all the time. I’m the head and not the tail. I’m more than a conqueror. I’m part of the Bride of Christ. I’m forgiven. I’ve been set free. God continues to shape and mold me into the image he planned from the foundation of the world. Yet, I will continue to fall short of His will in my life as long as I’m walking this earth. It’s a fact. I’m not perfect. But I’m changing from glory to glory. I can continue to work on excellence and being the best Susan I can be. Jesus will make up the difference and guide me into all truth.

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