How to embrace imperfection

Thursday, March 29, 2018
Read time: 5min

 I also write for Hatfield Christian Church's Newsgirl blog, you can read How to embrace imperfection there.

Hmm... let's nudge it 8 pixels to the left, 1 pixel down, 7 pixels right, 2 pixels up, 1 pixel right, 1 pixel down. Perfection! And also precisely back where we started.

This is what I do for a living, I am a digital designer.I would like to think that I do more than just moving shapes around on a page until it looks good, but what I have come to realise is you might have the best, most revolutionary idea but if you don’t present it well and give attention to the detail, something as small as misaligned text can derail everyone in the meeting from your amazing idea.

People can get so caught up in the details, myself included.

Ok enough design talk, here's another example: your best friend whom you were depending on to come through for you, cancels last minute. How do you feel? How do you react? You might be left feeling rejected and unimportant, you might feel angry and want to lash out. It's only fair she understands what you feel like and some of the hurt she inflicted on you. But at any point in this situation did you stop to consider what was going on in her life that made her act that way?

It is difficult in personal and emotional situations to not get caught up in it. We struggle to remove ourselves and see it from another’s perspective. I often get hung up when people don't do things a certain way, or more specifically when they don't do it my way. I often catch myself striving for perfection. It can become such a hindrance that I won’t carry on with a new task because I haven't completed it exactly the way I envisioned it. It derails me and is a major cause of frustration.I grew up in a home where things had to be done in a certain way. Not only that but when you did something you had to do it properly and give it your all otherwise, what was the point of doing it at all?

This is a great work ethic to have. It is even biblical.

We know God likes structure and order just by looking at his creation. The way He structured the world’s creation, similar animals were created on the same day (Genesis 1). There was a plan, there was a process. And if we examine the complexity of his creation we can clearly see that God too is a perfectionist, no detail was skipped when He was creating our world. Another example is the Ten Commandments he gave the people to help provide structure to their lives in order that they could live god-pleasing lives (Exodus 20:1-17). He also gave them a king to rule over them when the Ten Commandments weren't enough for the people (1 Samuel 8).

Unlike God,  we are far from perfect. Instead of using the structure like he intended us to, to help us and provide freedom, we use rules to reign ourselves in and bring about more restriction and more rules. Take a moment and think what rules have you put in place when it comes to worshipping God? These rules could have helped create structure at first but now they are holding you back. How do you talk to God? Are you allowing God to speak to you using new avenues like nature, other people, through secular movies,  or music? How do you worship God? Do you feel like you can only worship God through christian music? How about worshiping him through your thoughts, small tasks you do during the day, hugging, or complimenting someone?

Rules shouldn’t be a hindrance, Jesus says my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:30). Rules are there to help us; what would the world be like if we didn’t have any rules about how to drive on public roads? It would be chaos. Those rules are crucial in establishing a shared understanding amongst everyone. But let's also consider those drivers who approach these rule with complete and utter perfection, no compromise. These people can be just as dangerous on our roads as the people who don't obey the rules, because those people are uncompromising. So fixed in their ways they refuse to yield and extend grace to others where needed.

Perfection not only limits our room for growth, but makes us inflexible and difficult for God to use us. Perfection also does not allow for failure, this limits us from trying new things, in case we fail. Perfection is our comfort zone. And failure is seen as shameful. We are ashamed because we aren't good enough or we didn't try hard enough.

But failure and trying new things are all part of helping us grow in character and in experience. Which, like applying for any job, is just as important in God's Kingdom because it helps us grow into mature Kingdom warriors.The good news is God knew we could never be perfect rule-abiding citizens. Since the fall of man He had our redemption in mind. His son Jesus died on the cross to redeem us and to save us from a life of shame.

Jesus shamed shame by dying on the cross for us! As Good Friday approaches, let’s embrace the imperfection in our lives. Stop trying to portray yourself and your life as perfect and let’s help one another feel less ashamed of our insecurities and failures. Instead let's embrace and rejoice in our insecurities and failures because it means we have a need for a saviour.

Take courage, be vulnerable, be real. You can only do what you can do. Leave the rest up to God. His Son is our perfection. Let His strength be made perfect through your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Here's to a new decade!
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