Living Inside Out: Guest Post by Adelle Gabrielson

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“If thou indeed derive thy light from heaven,
then to the measure of that heaven-born light, shine…in thy place and be content.”

~William Wordsworth

Every Sunday morning, my family would go out to breakfast before church. I remember one of those Sundays in particular when my father suddenly looked up at me across the table and said:

“You’re 10 years old. It’s time you were baptized.”

I remember feeling stunned – baptism! It hadn’t come up in a while, not since I’d given up the idea that crackers and juice were an adult snack I was missing out on. I had seen other people baptized, mostly adults, and a few teenagers at camp every year. I hadn’t really considered it for myself.

But, being a girl who did as she was told, that Sunday night I was baptized by my father, before the evening worship service with as little hoopla as I could orchestrate.

I was ten years old, in fifth grade, and I always wanted to do the right thing. If my dad said this was the right thing, then it must have been the right thing. I loved God. I wanted to be saved.

I did as I was told.

I remember feeling somewhat saintly that night falling asleep, and dreamt horrible dreams of the sins I would soon commit, destroying my perfect, sinless, saintly self and woke up the next day bereft and confused.

Following Christ in the act of baptism did nothing to prevent me from sin. From missing the mark and messing up. Over and over and over again.

I thought somehow that baptism would make me more holy, sin-free and saintly. I would be less tempted, guileless and free. I come from a long line of female perfectionists, good girls who were great at keeping up appearances and worrying about what the neighbors might think.

Yet sin seemed to find me, no matter how good I was, or how well I followed the rules.

I came to realize that despite my best efforts, sin remains. As much a part of me as my gender and humanity. Parenthood and perhaps simply age have helped me realize that being perfect was never the objective. The true objective is equally simple as impossible.

Be like Jesus.

Does that mean be perfect? Spotless? Sinless? Worldly perfection is an exhausting task master. In a million ways I will never be enough…daily I am faced with my imperfection as a parent, a wife, a daughter, a friend. There is always more that could be done, greater heights to which I should aspire, and always, always, someone better with whom to compare myself.

I will never be enough.

Rather than striving (and failing) for perfection, maybe I just ought to be striving to be like Jesus.

A man who made Himself nothing.

Be like Jesus.

A servant.

Who didn’t follow all the rules.

Who questioned tradition, social mores and legalism.

He got angry when anger was justified.

He wept when grief was called for.

Most of all, he loved the broken, beat-up and bewildered.

Most of all, he loved the ones who could never be enough.

Be like Jesus.

Living in such a way that the Light, that heaven-born light, shines from the inside out.

And so I tread onward, trying to live with the inside on the outside. Allowing the cracks to be exposed. Setting aside the unattainable and simply being me – in all of my brokenness and flaws.

The cracks are how the Light gets through, and being perfect isn’t my job. It’s His.


About Adelle:

Writer, speaker, and wife to her first love, Adelle is a former marketing executive turned boy-mom of two. Adelle speaks and writes about fearless, authentic living, and blogs weekly on her website For more, follow Adelle on Facebook or Twitter: @ReadyGoGetSet

I received the blessing of meeting Adelle at the Pepperdine Lectures last week. Be sure to have a look at more of her writing at the above links. Thanks Adelle for taking the time to write this. I am sure it will impact many.

3 Responses

  1. I really appreciate your honest reflection. Some of what you wrote here really resonates with my own experience. I wasn’t told to be baptized. It really was my decision. But I think I had some of the same fears as you have expressed here. I hope many people can read what you wrote here in order to normalize some of that but then to move people to the next level of maturity in realizing their own imperfection and Christ’s ability to still use and transform them. Thank you for sharing this!

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