Show me a person who is sure, certain and comfortable with everything they ever think or do and you’ll show me someone I am not particularly interested in spending very much time with.
Honesty and inconsistency are actually not strange bedfellows.
I can read two posts here on any given day and find thoughts or ideas which seem to conflict with each other. I used to be slightly alarmed by this, particularly when there was a hit to a link that seemed to clash with an idea I just posted; almost as if someone was looking for it.
Once I took the time to think about it, however, the concern dissipated. It dissipated because anyone who is honestly striving, working, and occasionally stumbling on the journey of life will sometimes fall short of their ideals. The spirit is always warring against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit. Toss in the natural *stuff* that goes on in my very feminine psyche, and if I didn’t know me, left to judge based only on posts on my own blog, I might think I was a little bonkers.
Or I would, if I hadn’t figured out that best behavior Elspeth and not-so-best behavior Elspeth are both still Elspeth. The me who is full of myself one day is the same me who is humbled the next by the love of God or my husband, or the difficulty of trying to properly educate two children with very different personalities.
I once heard this from a mostly forgettable preacher, except he said one thing was pretty unforgettable. He talked about what he called “The Four You’s”, even though he followed it by rattling off five categories. They are:
- The you that you think you are
- The you that others think you are
- The you that you want to be
- The you that others want you to be
- The you that you really are (and whom only God really knows)
Every one of us, whether we realize or acknowledge it, are navigating our lives through the prisms of these versions of ourselves. As we grow and mature, their intersections should be frequent and the tensions should gradually fade into one another. To those in our inner circles, these are almost seamless. The farther you pan out, however, the more the distinctions emerge; sometimes out of a necessity that is good and healthy, and sometimes without us even noticing.
The things we do, the way we speak to others, the decisions we make about what we will and will not do? These behaviors should be externally consistent, and for most ethical, moral, honest people, they are. None of that however, diminishes the internal tension, the struggles, the questions, the *stuff* that we all wrestle with on the inside.
When I look back over the things I’ve written, I am at ease, for example, with the contradictions between my internal feelings of mundaneness and the oft-stated expression of others that I might be in some way extraordinary. The “me that others think I am” or the “me that others want me to be” don’t cancel out the “me that I think I am”, or the “me I want to be”.
All of those Elspeths are reflected here. These words are an outpouring of the ambiguity that is the struggle between being, doing, and finding the balance. Maturity, I am learning, requires a fairly high tolerance for ambiguity.
Despite my many imperfections, there are some things about me that others have found commendable. These are simply two parallel truths. One of the great regrets of my tenure writing this way in this forum is my naivete regarding the ability of people (including me at times), to appreciate nuances and unspoken realities that I assumed went without saying. I now know, and shall never forget, that nothing does.
There is only One Good, Perfect Being who has all His spit together, and I’m fine admitting that it ain’t me.
“…if you haven’t stood before God and been confused, you’re probably not standing before the real God”~ Steve Brown
 My favorite theologcal quote concerning the realty of truth in parallel lines can be found here.