There’s an old Brooke Fraser song called “Crows and Locusts” that I don’t think I ever really understood, except that it’s been swirling around in my head as I study Galatians and talk to my counselor and sit still enough to think about what’s happening in my soul.
“It was the year
The crows and the locusts came
The fields drained dry the rain
The fields are bleeding
It was the age
The foxes came for the fields
We were bleeding as we bowed to kneel
And prayed for mercy, prayed for mercy”
Yes, that feels about like what’s been happening.
I have always struggled with performance—working to be sweet enough, good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, interesting enough to earn people’s approval, respect, and affection. When I was younger, it was fairly clear-cut. Make good grades, be polite, appear to be “good” (which sometimes just meant choosing secret sins), and always have a smile (no RBF here, thank you very much). Even then, it wasn’t easy striving to prove my worth and value, but at least I had a formula.
The thing is, darned if becoming a mother didn’t throw me for the biggest loop. Five years into this motherhood gig, and I’ve learned that using your kids as your report card is a terrible idea.
I’m looking at my soul and realizing that the crows and locusts of perfectionism have had their way with me. I look at the devastation, and I am angry. It’s becoming clearer to me the depth to which this perfectionism has gotten its insidious claws into every part of me, and I’m so mad. I’ve missed so many opportunities to receive grace, forgiveness, and love—to relish the freaking GOSPEL—both in my strengths and in my many weaknesses.
My counselor says that anger often comes when something of value is being threatened. And when I think of how I treat myself? The hateful, hopeless soundtrack I so often listen to when I come face-to-face with my humanness? I realize that it’s ME—MY SOUL—I am the thing being threatened. My soul, feeling its worth and belovedness. My soul experiencing the joy and freedom and peace that the gospel brings. Life abundant.
Mad. That’s how I feel when I look around at the ruins and damage of so many years of striving and trying to be beloved in my own power.
Underneath the bubbling up of anger and grief, come the words from the end of the song:
“She limps on up to the top of a mount
Looks at the faltered harvest
Feels her sweat in the ground and the burn in her nose
And the knowing in her guts
Something's still gonna grow
She ain't leaving 'till it does.”
It’s true that my soul has been ravaged by crows and locusts of perfectionism and performance. But when I see the desolation that’s there, buried under so many crumbling layers of practiced makeup and performance, what I see now is an open field. Ready to be cleared, planted, watered, and, eventually, overgrown with the grace and peace of the Good News.
Guest writer Laura Way has been a reader of The Drafting Desk since the beginning. She is working on smiling only when absolutely necessary, but she finds that it is often necessary. Laura grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia, but now lives in the Far East with her husband and two lively daughters (5 and 2). She's passionate about becoming more fully human in Jesus and helping others to do the same. She loves living cross-culturally, good food, coffee, and the company of a few good friends. Music, words of affirmation, and GIFs are her love languages. You can find her on Instagram where she shares ordinary and unusual pieces of her family’s life overseas.