I was thinking about the concept of giving ourselves and other people around us ‘permission to become’. We are all on the road to being potential masterpieces - some are just further down that road than others. I remember seeing a T shirt on a young man that read “Unfinished”. How true! Yesterday, I was putting together a flat pack wardrobe in my daughter’s room. In the middle of building, I looked around and marvelled at the mess I had made - cardboard packaging everywhere, desk and chair shoved out of the way and the bed full of clothes and books, hammers, screws and screw drivers as well as instructions to put the wardrobe together. Despite the fact that I had planned out the new layout for the room, had prepared the space, gone out and purchased the cupboard and hauled it upstairs, in the middle of building, the room was a mess. Sometimes we make a mess before we make a masterpiece. We just have to keep the finished picture in our mind’s eye. And don’t lose sight of the instruction manual! I love the poem by Jenny Joseph with the title and opening line: When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple With a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me I think that one of the things I appreciate about being in my 50s is the diminishing hold of the crippling self-consciousness of my youth that made me think the world revolved around me, everyone was looking at me and everyone was judging me - on the things I said, how I looked, what I did. It must be said that this anxiety is not reserved for me or the young alone and, truthfully, is not without justification. Much has been made elsewhere of social media and its impact on how we see ourselves, our obsession with celebrity and all of us wanting our 15 minutes of insta fame with our content and lives on display for all to dissect and critique, as well as our culture’s current desire for all to speak the same hashtag, whatever it might be. For me - I have given myself permission to become, to carry on the journey of becoming a masterpiece in the Master’s hands. On this journey, the priorities are loving God and loving my neighbour as I learn to love myself - even with the purple clothes and red hats that do not go. It is great freedom to have the permission to become who you were meant to be. We are never too old or too young to have this. This permission means that in the making of you, while you are still ‘Unfinished’, you may have seasons when there is such a mess in and around you as you process and build and transform by renewing your mind to Truth. Permission to become allows us to offer the same grace to those around us as they ‘become’ and they learn to love also. Love is often perfected when tested, by choosing to love those that seem the most ‘unfinished’ - even wearers of red hats... Permission to become gives us hope that one day, the building will be finished, everything tidied away and vacuumed clean and the room will look amazing again. This helps us live in and appreciate the mess - however long it takes.
Jenny Joseph’s poem concludes: But maybe I ought to practise a little now? So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple. If you have not given yourself permission to become, HERE: I am offering you some of mine - as an older woman who sometimes wears purple and red hats that don’t go. At least practice a little now. #redhats #permissiontobecome #transformed