I recently moved into a new apartment. In the first month of living there, I have not been feeling so great. I have been to the health clinic twice. I have tried antibiotics to no avail. I have popped every over-the-counter decongestant and have downed my weight in cough syrup. I have now placed my hope in antihistamines. We shall see in a few days if my symptoms have been caused all this time by an allergic reaction. If that is so, the question remains, “A reaction to what?” Given that the seasons are changing and that I have had fall allergies in the past, the idea that it could all simply be allergies is not far-fetched. The severity of my symptoms in the last few weeks, however, has been worse than ever before.
In the quest to find the cause, my fiancé started to question whether an evil, allergy-monster was lurking behind my walls. Mold? No, it can’t be. I just moved in, got unpacked, and am starting to feel settled. Mold means I may have to pack a suitcase and move out for a few weeks at best, or pack up everything and go through the moving process again in a new apartment, at worst. Mold? No, it can’t be . . . can it?
In our lives, do we have mold growing behind the walls we have built for ourselves? I started thinking about how often I ask this question about my own life and then, without much critical or prayerful thought, allow myself to be appeased with the answer, “No, it can’t be.” We all have sins and struggles that we tried to hide behind our “good” façade. As ministers, we are often held to an unattainable standard of living. And we sometimes feel (at least I know I sometimes feel) that if we do not live up to the standards that other people have placed on us then we have not only failed them, but we have failed to live up to our calling. So we say, “Sin? No, it can’t be.” But, maybe it is. And, maybe it’s okay.
The process of tearing down walls and cleaning out the unwanted invasion can be painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. But, it is the only way to get rid of it. The good news is this . . . we are not failures! It is ok to admit that our lives are not perfect. God already knows, and God is full of grace ready to be received!
So, could it be mold? Maybe. But, if it is, it’s okay. I won’t have to get rid of it alone.
Aimee Day is executive assistant, Baptist Women in Ministry, and a second year student at McAfee School of Theology.