If you know me at all, you probably know that one of my biggest weaknesses is over-thinking things. I have so many thoughts running through my head all the time and I can sometimes let them overwhelm and consume me in a destructive sort of way. Analysis paralysis, perfectionism, excessive rationalization, meloncholia – whatever you want to call it, that’s my fatal flaw.
Through grace, however, our weaknesses can be our strengths if we allow Christ to work through us. So, on the other side of this flaw, there is a gift. An active mind, a stimulated brain, an intellectual capacity, thoughtfulness – whatever you want to call it, that’s my divinely-bestowed gift.
But how do you take something that is your fatal flaw by nature and allow it to become your saving grace?
Well, the ultimate answer is, of course, the ultimate answer to every question, desire, longing, inquiry or problem – Jesus Christ. “All things are possible through Him who strengthens me,” “He must increase. I must decrease,” “He makes all things new,” etc.
We know the answer because we are baptized into the blood and water of Him who saves us from ourselves, who perfects nature with grace, who lives in us and makes us children of God so that we may inherit His glory.
Okay. Enough of that. What’s the point, already?
You see, I’ve been so afraid of the fatal flaw, so afraid of the stern master, so afraid of failure, that I’ve buried my one talent underground. By looking through the distorted lens of fallen nature, I’ve allowed what could be my saving grace to be my fatal flaw.
But that’s enough!
“Away grief’s gasping | joyless days, dejection.
Across my foundering deck shone
A beacon, an eternal beam. | Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fall to the residuary worm; | world’s wildfire, leave but ash:
In a flash, at a trumpet crash,
I am all at once what Christ is, | since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, | patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond.”“That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection” By Gerard Manley Hopkins
We are entering Lent soon, which is a preparation for the celebration of the greatest event in all of history – Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!
I’ve been advised by representatives of Christ on earth that the best way to deal with excessive thoughts is to get them out, to write them down. Of course! I know from experience that this does help! I need to get the thoughts out of my mind and let them exist in the world that is outside of me!
In short, I have not written because I have been afraid, selfish even. I have let pride keep me from letting my thoughts out because, by nature, “All is vanity” and “There is nothing new under the sun.” I begin to “write” things in my head all the time, but because they can never be perfect, because I will be exposed to criticism if I let them out, I have chosen to hide them away and they have become dark and overwhelming as a result.
So, enough of that. I have decided to write again. I want to get these thoughts out of my head. I want to allow you, dear readers, to criticize or enjoy, challenge or accept, reject or deepen these ideas that I will attempt to share with you through words written in this forum.
One of my heroes, Flannery O’Connor, used to commit herself to writing every day for three hours, no more, no less. I have decided, for Lent at least, to post one article each week, even if I haven’t had time to edit it to my satisfaction. Because, you see, this life is all about editing, all the time; we are constantly editing ourselves, for better or worse, as we are wayfarers in this life.
I recently reread O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away. One thing that really stuck out to me was the theme of being in your head vs being able to act on your thoughts. Rayber is stuck in his head, always planning what he will do but never doing it. But Tarwater is not like him. He’s always telling Rayber that he’s nothing like him because he can act. He can do something about it.
Well, like Tarwater, I’ve got to act. An infinite amount of ideas able to be communicated in potency is less real than a finite actually communicated thought. I’m going to do something now. I’m going to write. And I hope to have many discussions with you over this forum that our dear friend Peter put together.
That’s it for now. No profound insights. I’m just getting the thoughts out of my head.
May the Lord transform my fatal flaw into my saving grace!
Ad maiorem Dei gloriam!