I was taught in college, while studying to be a teacher, that red ink is harmful to a student's psyche and that when correcting papers, you should use green or maybe even blue, which do not generate immediate feelings of wrongness and shame.
I suppose there is a lot of good psychology and study put into that point, and using multi-faceted ways to correct is just fine - not my point at all.
My point is that tonight I get to read a copy of God is Real, fully edited and marked to the nines with beautiful red ink (well actually, beautiful red font, but ink just sounds so much more poetic). I have prayed for help editing this book because every single time, I open the document to look for mistakes like spelling errors and run-ons, I end up doing an entire rewrite. And, while that is a good part of the process, at some point you have to stop, and get someone else's objective eyes on the copy.
Then a friend introduced me to Tina Schieferstein; the woman with the glorious last name and years of editing experience. Tonight, Tina sent me a copy of God is Real finished and ready for me to read through, and it is full of beautiful red ink - and the power of reading the study through someone else's objective eyes.
I do not want to sound over spiritual, but can I make a link to real life here - (**Life Application Alert**) We do not need to be afraid of red ink. We do not need to be ashamed.
I have lived so many years of my life afraid of someone else catching my mistake before I had a chance to fix it. It was subtle, but it was also consuming.
I didn't just contain this mindset to my work, it started to spill over into my marriage, my parenting, my friendships, and most quietly, my relationship with God. I was so afraid to fail.
I kept praying to God to confess about my weakness and my fear and my wrong attitude - and to thank Him for His love and His grace. And then I would ask Him to help me get better and I would promise Him that I would work harder.
"Please, don't check my paper yet; I just need one more day to make it right"...."Please let me know when you are coming home from work; I just need one more hour to get the house in order"..... "Please don't need something else from me; I just have one more thing to finish first." "Please"...."Please"..."Please don't look yet - I'm not good enough."
I mistook red ink for disapproval and disappointment, a sure sign that next I would hear the thing I thought to be true all along, "You were almost someone worthwhile Jodi....I was almost able to use you....If you only could have been more...."
Here is the irony, the red ink was to show me that I needed Him. In all of my effort to be better, to do more, I had started to believe that needing Him was the failure.
That is not the life that Jesus came to give.
And today, a few years older, I thank my gracious Lord that I can know, Tina's red ink is not shame; rather, it is hope. And engaging in the "less than perfect" will lead me to the One who is perfect - the only One that can make me perfect - In His love - By His blood - and for His glory. Amen!
Mail Date is soon folks - T-Minus 23 days - Let's do this thing!