I had what I thought was a superpower, perfectionism. If I worked hard enough, did enough calculations and ….. I wanted to write about overcoming the devil who turns us against ourselves and our Creator and wanted to start with an ode to Brene Brown, but I can’t, literally can’t.
[Editor’s Note: Leticia was writing as current events were happening]
I can’t silence the news this morning as it strips away humanity from millions of people. Friends I am feeling powerless today. As a former teacher to many undocumented students I repeated a lie that I thought was true: That if they worked hard enough, got educated enough, followed the rules and norms enough they could find a legal place here in our country.
I really believed in the superpower of enough-ness, and worshiped at the temple of self sufficiency and perfectionism daily. The problem with enough, is that there is never enough of enough. No matter how hard I worked or those lovely students, they will never reach the secure destination they are hoping for through enough-ness. I simply did not understand that in the world of enough, we often feel forced to accept choices that are not what God had intended. One of my lovely 15-year-old students had to decide if it was it “better” to be married off to a man twice her age for papers or have her entire family live in the shadows undocumented maybe deported? Impossible choices from our broken world. I pray that God has brought redemption, joy and peace into her life and that she has escaped the fallacy that somehow her lack of goodness or enough-ness put her in that situation in the first place.
Enough-ness is a villain that feeds on my rebellious heart and creates distance between me and God.
My heart is breaking for perpetuating the myth that somehow working hard, grit, long hours would pay off. The problem with enough is that the world always wants more. We are programmed to want more. I got confused what I really needed. more of. God.
God did help deliver me from my perfectionism. I battled the world for control of my sleep, my sanity, my career, my family, where I lived and I lost almost every battle. Our God was willing to go to war over my sense of self assuredness if it meant bringing me to wholeness. So now sometimes I just feel broken and powerless. Without my weapon of enough-ness, I sometimes feel like I am standing without a sword.
I look at the flooding in Texas, the hurricane about to hit family in Florida, or the coming immigration sweeps of my dear undocumented students in college and I see that I indeed have little power as the world defines it. I see the days for what they are, long and evil. I pray for strength to resist the idea that it’s okay if others don’t have enough as long as my family and I get ours. I pray for strength to hold the heartache of my fellow humanity and reflect back the dignity Jesus died for.
My savior has given me a new superpower it is called Longsuffering.
Suffering along the powerless and hopeless, to see Jesus in the midst of what sometimes feels like the walls of Jericho falling atop of me. Permission to stand in the margins and say, “I see you and will feel with you.” The boldness to jump into the trenches and declare God will somehow make beauty in these scars even though I have no clue how he will do it. To be present in the moment and step into the landmines anyways, knowing that sacrifice hurts.
“Leticia, this is not so uplifting” I hear you. Suffering as a superpower sounds awful, it is. There is nothing fun about it. BUT, suffering and enduring with others creates an opportunity to sow seeds of hope. We may not ever see the harvest, but we are called to be sowers. Friend, we can encourage each other and bring the message of the Holy Spirit, this is an amazing power that the enemy tries to steal. When the battle is long and we are tired, our only job is to choose to let Our Yeshua hold up our eyes to Him. In some storms that is all we can do.
Romans 5:3-5 (MSG)
3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Leticia Perez is an outspoken introvert that readily walks in the seemingly endless contradictory nature God has woven her from. At Grace Church 2.5 years ago, Leticia felt God was calling her family to move to Wilsonville and attend Grace Chapel. They moved here 6 months later. Her Husband Will Huff and their two kids Kalia Huff (8) and Liam Huff (4.5) continue to teach her that God knows more than she does, she just needs to listen.