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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Daddy, See?

Sometimes I don't do things because I know I can't do them perfectly. Ever felt like that? You are excited about starting a new project at work, but then you start to think about all the ways it could go wrong and suddenly you aren't so sure about it after all. Or maybe you want to lose those last fifteen pounds, and you get going on a new diet regime, but then you mess up and overeat a couple of times and suddenly you decide you can't reach your goal. Perhaps you've been trying to get up the courage to go for further studies, but after researching all the available schools out there, you have no idea which one would be the perfect place to study at, and so you give up.

There are many ways we struggle with perfection. For me, I often think that if I can't accomplish something perfectly, I might as well not even try. I am afraid to embrace opportunity because it may not be perfect, I may mess it up, and then I would have to start all over again. If I don't find the perfect (fill in the blanks), I must not have searched hard enough, so I have to keep on looking.

It's like a small child who is playing in the mud and, with their chubby hands, they form a little bowl out of the thick red clay. They run over to their father who is sitting nearby, reading a newspaper, and eagerly hold up their creation for their father's approval. "Daddy, Daddy, see what I made?" The child presents their misshapen lopsided lump of dirt for their father to examine. He puts down his book, takes an impatient look, and says, "Why couldn't you make it perfect?" He then proceeds to explain exactly what is wrong with the bowl and how it should be made so that there are no defects in the finished product. The child, head hung, with a dejected look and crushed spirit, walks away.

Someone very close to me once said, when I proudly presented them with my grades for high school, "Why couldn't you get all A's?" This person said it in a joking manner, but over 13 years later, I still remember the stinging words. The approval and acceptance I was searching for was not available. Instead I set out for a lifetime of proving to them, and to myself, that I was worthwhile, even though I wasn't perfect.

God sees us differently, though. He knows us, after all, He created us and He understands that we are but dust, incapable of producing perfection in our own strength. When we run to Him with the misshapen lopsidedness of our lives, proudly presenting what we think is perfection and yet He knows is far from it, He does not look down in censure, disapproving of our humble gifts. Instead, I like to think that God reaches down and gently takes our broken down lives, recognizing our effort to please Him by doing the very best that we know how, and then He smiles. With gentle hands, He quietly wraps His love around us, tenderly molding our lives into the perfection He so freely gives.

I'm slowly learning that I cannot live my life afraid that it may not be perfect. I'm learning that God longs to give me good things and to restore my brokenness into beauty unimaginable. I'm learning that God is filled with joy when I come to Him because then He can truly work in my life. And I'm learning that God accepts me, imperfections and blemishes included, and that. . .is the most amazing miracle of all.

1 comment:

  1. You're so right...and I can totally identify. How many times growing up do we get told, "If you can't do it right, don't do it at all!"After a while perfection just seems a lost cause though. Thanks for the reminder that only God is perfect and has the strength to perfect us as well!


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