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One of my favorite stories of our oldest, Maggie took place when she was about four. Maggie was all hairbows and bugs.  She has always just done her own thing.  And for as long as I can remember people would say to her, OH! You look just like your daddy!
And I guess … she has his coloring.
He is a handsome guy.
But, she would get quiet when anyone said this.
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Very quiet.
Maggie wanted to try ballet, like the other girls in her pre-k class.
So we let her.
When she hated it, like we knew she would, we said she had to finish what she started. So we stuck it out until the recital.
At the recital, I tried to be a good dance mom.
We painted her face and fixed her hair. She looked lovely. A friend walked past my sister and me and said, “Let me get your picture with your little ballerina!”  
After she snapped the shot the woman said, “OH Maggie, you look just like your mommy!”
Maggie gasped, and clenched her chest, and in her sweet baby voice, she dramatically shuddered, “I have waited my whole life for someone to say that to me.” 
It had been a long four-year wait.
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 One where she wondered if she truly did look just like her daddy?  Of course, he was handsome, but she was a little girl. And she didn’t understand the perception of people thinking she looked like a 27-year-old, man?
Perception of what an adult saw as a compliment, and a child saw as… less than a compliment.  I have only been doing this blog thing a year but perception has been the thing I am most struck by.  To know what is going on in my head and coming out on my computer is a journey down a forest path.
I type things and wonder where they came from and why? I go back and read again and I am shocked at my depth and slain by my shallowness. I laugh when I should be crying, and cry when others laugh or claim to have learned.
 Because I know me.
To watch others perceive that I am one way or another, often times by not even reading to the bottom of the page is a lesson in perception.
And you cannot judge a book by its cover. You can try and judge a person by a blog post. You could argue in the comment section about your depth, cares, worries, mistakes, and make apologies… but someone might perceive that as weak. And someone else might view that as a cop-out.
So instead, you let people fight among themselves.
Knowing full well what you look like from the inside, hoping people see you for who you really are, and not really caring if they don’t.  A metaphor in anarchy – the truth versus the perceived. The perceived versus the unimaginative and dull.
And the rally against the Jesus fish is simply this: Just because I am a follower of Christ doesn’t mean I am Christ. Again I say to you, take down your symbols! Throw out your “Jesus Saves” bumper stickers. Expose yourself as less than, crippled and worn. Struggling against the forces of the world and its ways…
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I am the worst.
I want Chardonnay and donuts for breakfast. LOTS OF DONUTS.
And lots of Chardonnay.
And so, I have rules for being the worst: If I must write, do so with passion.
If I must vent, do so with grace.
If I must criticize a judgment, do so without judging.
Perceive that which looks one way, but internalize, philosophize, and hypothesize what is factual and real.
And then, as a follower of Christ, have common sense, and humor.  Believe that He who is in us will use any method of His choosing to mold, shape, and expose those who are venomous and full of hate. Arrogant and selfish. Silly, and off the cuff.  A measure of which no outsider can perceive… He alone knows the truth.

What you see on the outside is only a perception of flesh and brokenness.

What goes on in the inside, is wholly perceived by God.  And no worries, I will check my heart and ask His grace and wait patiently for abundance and growth.

At least, that is what it looks like from where I am sitting….
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May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained.  Love, Jami
“But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve…” Jeremiah 17:10 
For more beautiful art by Marcia Furman click here…
And one of my favorites, Fresh HATE and Jesus Fish….
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