Lately, I find myself constantly on a quest for the perfect purse. I check out other people’s purses and wonder if their handbag is really better than mine. I have to restrain myself from asking if I can lug it around for a bit, try it out, see if it has the bells and whistles I think I need.
The irony in this is that I never used to carry a purse.
Before I had children, everything important fit in my pockets. Sure, I’d lug a book with me, but that didn’t require a purse if we were going on a car trip. And was it really, truly, a purse if its only purpose was to tote my latest read?
With the advent of marriage and then diaper bags came the inevitable parade of purses. Sippy cups and snack bags don’t fit in my pockets the way my ID and keys did in the days of yore.
I tried out the wallet-purse combo that fit into the diaper bag. I tried out the bigger-than-my-baby purse-diaper-bag. I tried out the little-bit-of-this-and-that contraption.
And I find myself still searching.
In the ongoing search for the perfect purse, I often find myself lacking. All of a sudden, one day, the bag I’m using seems so big, or, on other days, the new one is waaaaay too small. When the carrying capacity of my purse exceeds the toddler on my hip, isn’t it time to change things around a bit?
There’s a lesson for me in the fact that I just can’t find a perfect purse.
I often lug around things I don’t need in the imperfect purse of my soul: regrets and hurts, bitterness and anger, insecurities and fears. After a while, I don’t notice the weight. It’s not until I dump the contents of my soul and give it a good thorough cleaning (like at confession), that I notice all the extra weight I was carrying.
With my purse — and soul — emptied out, it’s easy to see how much of that stuff isn’t needed. Do I really need five pens and twelve ponytail holders? Should I really lug around that hurt from six years ago and the anger from six minutes ago? Does the zipper keep the junk in or the toddler out?
Perhaps what’s keeping me from finding the perfect purse is the same thing keeping me from the perfect peace: my own limitation in following God’s will.
Copyright 2009 Sarah Reinhard